Neurobiology Major
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Neurobiology Major

Undergraduate Neurobiology Major

The department of Neurobiology and Behavior offers a Major in Neurobiology. This major has been approved by the faculty of UCI and began in the Fall of 2000 with a class of 30 students.

The neurobiology major brings together an elite group of students who are interested in the nervous system and who have already mastered many of the basic concepts in biology. It will give them a chance to learn how neurobiologists use cellular, molecular, systems and behavioral analyses to improve our understanding of how the nervous system works. It will also help the students to develop their analytical and reasoning skills by exposing them, in depth, to the complex but fundamental research issues of experimental design and data interpretation. In the process, it is hoped that the students will form a community of scholars and that the major will facilitate their intellectual interactions with the neuroscience faculty.

For requirements to apply into the Neurobiology Major, visit: http://changeofmajor.uci.edu/CoM_BioSci.html#neurobio

 

Learning Objectives for the Neurobiology Major

The neurobiology major at UCI is designed for students who are interested in understanding how our brains work – how our memories, thoughts, emotions, and consciousness are brought into being, as well as learning about how neuroscientists study and manipulate the brain. Through its exclusive core courses the neurobiology major combines knowledge, discussion, and critical thinking of how the brain works, and trains students to read, understand, and critique primary neuroscience research articles. The neurobiology major offers a solid foundation to those wishing to progress to related graduate courses, such as Ph.D. research programs and Medical School.

Its overall goal is to provide a thorough overview of how the brain works, from how discrete brain regions work together to control our mind and body, through to the various cells that make up the nervous system and how they work in unison to form the most complex and mysterious structure in the known universe – our brains.

Upon graduating as a neurobiology major, students should:

Knowledge:
~ be able to describe and explain, at least in broad strokes, the structural and functional organization of the mammalian brain, integrating all levels of analysis, from molecules and cells to systems and behavior.
~ be able to explain how the various scientific approaches that are used to study the nervous system – including developmental, anatomical, functional, and evolutionary approaches — relate to one another.
~ Be able to discuss a wide assortment of techniques that are used to study the nervous system, being able to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Skills:
~ be able to identify gaps and discrepancies in our current understanding of the nervous system.
~ be able to generate novel hypothesis about the nervous system and devise experiments that could be used to test them.
~ be able to read, present, and evaluate primary research articles in the field of neuroscience.
~ be able to critique reports about neuroscience in the news and popular media, placing them into the larger context of neuroscience research
~ be able to empathize with and advise relatives or other individuals who are struggling with some kind of nervous system disorder
~ be able to communicate effectively about neuroscience in written and oral form.

 

Requirements and features of the Neurobiology Major

  • N110 (Neurobiology & Behavior) is a prerequisite for entry into the major. You’ll need at least a B in this course to be eligible for admission to the Neurobiology Major.
  • The number of students in the Neurobiology Major is no longer limited to 30 students per year. If the number of applicants exceeds the enrollment cap, candidates will be selected based on their grade in N110 and (as a tiebreaker) their Bio GPA.
  • The time to apply is between May 15 and August 5, using a web interface that will be available here (http://www.reg.uci.edu/access/student/welcome/). Most students will probably apply in the summer between their second and third years of undergraduate study, leaving them two years as Neurobiology Majors. However, it is theoretically possible to complete the major in just one year. Please ask your Bio Sci counselors for advice.
  • After being admitted to the Neurobiology Major, students will take a two-quarter course limited to Neurobiology Majors. This course is called Advanced Neurobiology (N115A-B) and is designed to give you extensive, in-depth training in modern neuroscience. N115A will emphasize molecular, cellular, and developmental aspects of neuroscience, whereas N115B will emphasize behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Detailed syllabi are available from the instructor (gstriedt@uci.edu)
  • Neurobiology Majors must at some point take the Neurobiology Laboratory course (N113L) and two additional biology laboratory courses (completion of Excellence in Research may substitute for one of the latter laboratory courses).
  • Neurobiology Majors must also take 3 neurobiology electives (N116-N190 or H195), as well as one of the following courses: D103, D104, or E109. They must also take one additional upper division course offered in the School of Biological Sciences.
  • A select group of Neurobiology Majors will be able to graduate with Honors in Neurobiology. These students must complete the honors neurobiology course (H195), complete Excellence in Research in the field of neurobiology, and maintain a Bio and Cumulative GPA >3.5.
  • Please note that the information about the Neurobiology Major in the course catalog and on this departmental web site is being updated and may not yet fully reflect the changes described above.

 

Applying to the Neurobiology Major

To apply for the Neurobiology Major, please log into your StudentAccess account
(http://www.reg.uci.edu/access/student/welcome/), select “Applications,” and then choose “Change of Major”.  You should request to drop the Bio Major as you ask to add the Neurobio major (don’t worry, you won’t be dropped from the general biology major unless you get accepted into the neurobiology major).  That’s all there’s to it. Decisions will be made after then end of Summer Session I. Good luck, and we hope to see you in the major!

 

Additional Information and Contact details

Neurobiology majors will receive preference for enrolling in neuroscience satellites and will receive announcements of all neuroscience-related seminars and colloquia on campus. They will also be given the opportunity to develop a forum for hosting speakers of their choice, for getting to know each other, for finding out about neuroscience research opportunities, for exchanging information about graduate or professional schools, for practicing presentations, etc.

If you want to find out more about the Neurobiology Major at UCI, please talk to the Bio Sci Counselors (in the Bio Sci Student Affairs Office, 1011 Biological Sciences III, 824-5318) or talk to one of the following members of the Neurobiology Major Adivsory Board:

Dr. Green (Chair of the Advisory Board – 3208 Biologicial Sciences III, kngreen@uci.edu)

Dr. Parker (1217 McGaugh Hall, iparker@uci.edu)

Dr. Sumikawa (1244 McGaugh Hall, ksumikaw@uci.edu)

Mrs. Dabiri (2205 McGaugh Hall, sfdaibiri@uci.edu)

For more information about neuroscience research, visit the sites below: