Neuroscience

Neuroscience, the study of the nervous system, is a field that investigates the biological mechanisms of behavior and how brains processes information. To develop a comprehensive understanding, we study the nervous system at every level from the macroscopic (behavior and cognition) to the microscopic (cells and molecules). Thus, the study of neuroscience provides both a broad scientific training and a deep understanding of the biology of the nervous system.

The Neuroscience secondary curriculum begins with a fundamental course requirement that reflects the diversity of approaches in neuroscience: biological, cognitive, and quantitative. Students also take an introductory neurobiology course (Neuro 80), which lays out the body of knowledge in the field. Next students choose a foundational course in a sub-field of neuroscience ranging from molecules to animal behavior. Finally, in advanced elective courses, students explore specific areas of neuroscience more deeply based on their interests. We now list over 40 advanced courses on a range of topics: cells and circuits, physiology, learning and memory, cognitive science, development, genetics, and disease and therapeutics.

REQUIREMENTS: 5 courses (20 credits)

  1. One of the following courses:
    1. Life Sciences 1a or Life and Physical Sciences A
    2. Computer Science 50
    3. Math at the level of Math 1a or above
    4. an additional advanced course in neuroscience (as described in # 4 below).
  2. Neuro 80
  3. One foundational course chosen from the following:
    1. Neuro 57 (Animal Behavior)
    2. Neuro 105 (Systems Neuroscience)
    3. Neuro 115 (Cellular Basis of Neuronal Function)
    4. Neuro 120 (Computational Neuroscience)
    5. Neuro 125 (Molecular Basis of Behavior)
  4. Two advanced courses in neuroscience. These courses must be chosen from a list of approved courses maintained on the concentration website. Courses listed as MBB electives do not count toward the secondary field in Neuroscience.

OTHER INFORMATION

Students must take either Neuro 80 (formerly MCB 80) before enrolling in the advanced neuroscience courses. Neuro tutorials designated as Neuro 101-level are considered advanced neuroscience courses. Ordinarily, only one tutorial course may be counted toward the secondary field. Students enrolling in Life Sciences 100 must complete the neuroscience project and may only take the course once for secondary field credit.

All courses in the secondary field must be taken for a letter grade, and students must earn a grade of C- or better in each course. Freshman Seminars may not be included for credit. Ordinarily, Harvard Summer School courses may not count towards secondary field credit. Courses taken through study abroad programs may be counted for credit in the secondary field by petition. Courses taken at other Harvard faculties (e.g., Harvard Medical School) may count for the secondary field by petition or if the course is one of the approved advanced neuroscience courses.

ADVISING RESOURCES AND EXPECTATIONS

Prior to completing the required courses, students are welcome to meet with the concentration advisors as needed, and students are encouraged to meet with them upon completing the introductory courses in order to select appropriate advanced courses. After completing the requirements for the secondary field, students are required to meet with one of the Concentration Advisers, in order to confirm that the courses they have taken count for credit towards the Neuroscience secondary field.

Questions about the secondary field in Neuroscience should be addressed to Dr. Ryan Draft, the Neuroscience Concentration Adviser (BioLabs Room 1082A, 16 Divinity Ave., 617-496-9908, draft@fas.harvard.edu). Either Dr. Draft or Dr. Magnotti may sign the final form for secondary field credit.