Undergraduate Neurobiology Major

The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior offers a Major in Neurobiology. This major has been approved by the faculty of UC Irvine 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 to the Neurobiology Major, visit: http://sites.bio.uci.edu/majorsminors/ 

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.

Applying to the Neurobiology Major

To apply for the Neurobiology Major, use Change of Major form. 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 the end of Summer Session I. Good luck, and we hope to see you in the major!

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, 949-824-5318) or talk to one of the following members of the Neurobiology Major Advisory Board:

Dr. Lew (Chair of the Advisory Board – 1221 McGaugh Hall, lewac@uci.edu)

Dr. Striedter (305 Qureshey Research Lab, georg.striedter@uci.edu)

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

Requirements and features of the Neurobiology Major

  • Bio 99 is a prerequisite for entry into the 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 Bio GPA.
  • Most students will 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 Chair of the Advisory Board (Lewac@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 Charlie Dunlop 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.

Learning Objectives for the Neurobiology Major

The Neurobiology Major at UC Irvine 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 for 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Discuss a wide assortment of techniques that are used to study the nervous system and identify the techniques’ strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Pose testable questions and hypotheses to address gaps and discrepancies in our current understanding of the nervous system.
  4. Devise and evaluate experiments designed to test hypotheses.
  5. Communicate neurobiology ideas, data and findings with others clearly and accurately.