Neuroscience (NEUR) is the study of the nervous system (i.e., the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves), the mechanisms of behavior, and the nature of mind and consciousness.  The Neuroscience major is a rigorous, interdisciplinary major offered by the Departments of Biology and Psychology in conjunction with the Neuroscience Program at the Miller School of Medicine.  This major is intended for students preparing for medical school or for graduate study in such fields as neuroscience, biology, neuroscience, psychology, or behavioral medicine.


The Neuroscience major seeks to provide undergraduate students with exposure to and a fundamental understanding of the neural and biobehavioral sciences.  It seeks to deliver an integrative educational experience by promoting interactions among faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in basic scientific inquiry, advising, and mentoring.


Neuroscience is offered as a major only for the Bachelor of Science degree within the College of Arts and Sciences.


The total number of credit hours for the Neuroscience major is 49, distributed between the Departments of Psychology, Biology, and Neuroscience (as indicated below). The requirements for the Neuroscience major meet most of the general requirements for many medical schools. 

A grade of C- or better is required in all courses to count toward the major core requirements, electives, or auxiliary courses and/or to serve as prerequisites for other courses.  Students moving on to a course without the prerequisites will be dropped from the course.

The total number of credits for the degree with a Neuroscience major is 130.

There is one formal track available in the Neuroscience major.  However, students can choose their electives to reflect their primary interests in either psychobiology (which emphasizes cognitive functions and behavior) or neurobiology (which emphasizes cellular and molecular approaches to understanding nervous system functions).

Core Courses

All Neuroscience majors must complete a set of core courses from Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience.  These are BIL 150/151, (or BIL 152), BIL 160/161, (or BIL 162), BIL 268, BIL 250, BIL 255, PSY 110, PSY 204*, and PSY 316, and PSY 402; and NEU 342 and NEU 403.
*UM alternates to PSY 204 include, BIL 311; SOC 211 and 212; and MTH 224.  These courses are acceptable as prerequisites for PSY 316, but do not count toward the major.  Thus, students opting to do these alternate courses must take another course in Psychology to total the number of credits expected for the major. 


Electives in for the Neuroscience major are limited to specific courses pertinent to the major. Requirements and options are outlined below.

Choose 3 elective credits in Neuroscience from NEU 465 or an alternate course approved ahead of time by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology.

Choose 3 electives in Psychology and 3 elective credits in Biology from the list below OR choose 6 credits in Biology from the list below.  Note:  students interested in psychobiology should take the first option, those interested in neurobiology should choose the latter.

Choices in Psychology are limited to PSY 305, PSY 332, PSY 352, PSY 420, PSY 440, and PSY 444.

Choices in Biology are limited to BIL 210, BIL 215, BIL 241, BIL 261, BIL 330, BIL 345, BIL 355, BIL 360, BIL 365, BIL 369, BIL 511, BIL 520, and BIL 540. Biochemistry (specifically, BMB 401 or BMB 506) OR MIC 301, may also be substituted and count as a Biology elective.

Auxiliary courses

In addition to the above courses in Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience all Neuroscience students must complete 16 credits in Chemistry including CHM 111/113 and CHM 112/114, and CHM 201/205 and CHM 202/206; 8 credits in Math including MTH 141/162 OR 161/162 or MTH 171/172; 10 credits in Physics including PHY 101/106 and PHY 102/108. (A 200-level, calculus-based physics sequence [PHY 205/206/207/208/209] can be substituted for the 100 level physics sequence and is highly recommended for any student considering pursuing Neuroscience at the Ph.D. level.) PRISM students may count the PHY 201/106 and PHY 202/108 sequence.

Grades and Scores Required to Declare and Continue

A student must have an SAT score of 1300 or above or an ACT of 30 or above to declare Neuroscience as an incoming freshman.

Thereafter, students need a 3.5 GPA after 24 credits at UM to declare the major.  At least 7 of these 24 credits must have been in a BIL, CHM, or MTH course designed for majors. 

Students transferring from another college or university must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or above; at least 7 of these credits must have been taken in a BIL or CHM course designed for majors.

Students are strongly advised not to continue as a Neuroscience major if, after having completed 15 credits in the major, the GPA is less than 2.8. This shall include all courses in the major and in the auxiliary courses, whether listed under the major on the ACE or not.  Students may repeat no more than two courses (in different disciplines) for the major or the auxiliary courses in which they have received a D or an F. 

Grades Required to Graduate

A grade of C- or better is required in all courses applied to the Neuroscience major, and the GPA in these courses must be at least 2.6.  Included in this GPA are courses in Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics.


All Neuroscience majors must choose a minor from among Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geological Sciences, Mathematics, Microbiology and Immunology, or Physics.  Neuroscience students automatically earn a Chemistry minor if they complete the year of Organic Chemistry (CHM 201 and CHM 202) with labs (CHM 205 and CHM 206) here at UM.

Neuroscience majors may have additional minors in either science or non-science disciplines.  Neuroscience majors may not earn minors in Biology or Psychology. 

There is no minor in Neuroscience.


The Neuroscience major is administered by the Department of Psychology’s Undergraduate Academic Services for Psychology (UASP).  The Director of Undergraduate Studies for Psychology is the primary advisor for all Neuroscience majors.  For curricular advice and for course and transfer approval, etc., students may also consult an advisor UASP, Flipse, Room 508.

Dr. Phillip McCabe is Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Neuroscience program.

Dr. Victoria Noriega is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology and Advisor for Neuroscience majors.


All freshman-declared Neuroscience majors receive their advising as a part of a year-long advising, orientation, and mentoring program known as FACT FORUM.  All incoming majors will be placed in a special University Experience section known as FACT (Freshman Advising Contact Term).  This is a one credit general elective course designed to integrate freshmen into the major by familiarizing them with the guidelines, opportunities, and responsibilities of a Neuroscience major.  During the second semester, freshmen enroll in a FORUM section (Faculty Overview of Research and Undergraduate Mentoring).  This one credit general elective course helps to put the curriculum in context and stresses the importance of and opportunities for research.  Advising for the Spring and Fall semesters is also done in these courses.  These courses are mandatory for all incoming Neuroscience majors.

Students wishing to declare a Neuroscience major after matriculation may be required to take part in an advising seminar prior to declaring the major.

Research Participation in PSY 110

As an introduction to behavioral science, students enrolled in PSY 110 may be required to participate as subjects in research studies being conducted by faculty and/or graduate students, or by reading and writing about selected research reports. For details, consult the course syllabus and/or contact the Psychology Department’s Undergraduate Academic Services for Psychology. 

Residency Requirement

Neuroscience majors must complete all upper division Biology and Psychology courses at U.M.  With prior Departmental approval, 6 of these 15 credits may be completed through the U.M. Study Abroad Program. UM’s UGalilee program offers opportunities for Neuroscience majors to complete BIL 250 and BIL 255 as part of their study abroad curriculum.

Research Experience for Course Credit

Research is considered integral to the Neuroscience major. Students may earn course credit (NEU 367, NEU 368, NEU 498, or NEU 499) to be applied toward the degree (but not toward the major), by working in a research laboratory of an approved UM faculty member.

Students wishing to do research with a neuroscientist on the medical campus should speak with the Director of the Neuroscience program. Before registration, written permission from the faculty mentor and the Director of Undergraduate studies in Psychology is required.  Students may also volunteer in a research laboratory:  Necessary forms must be completed before working in the lab.

Course Prerequisites

Students who have not taken a prerequisite course (or who have taken it and obtained a grade below C-) may not enroll in the course for which it is a prerequisite.  Students enrolled without prerequisites may be dropped from the class roll.

Transfer courses

Transfer students wanting courses taken elsewhere to count as Neuroscience courses at U.M. must obtain written approval during their first semester at UM. This is a separate process from the Admissions Evaluation of Transfer Credit. 

Regularly enrolled UM students wishing to take a Biology, Psychology, or Neuroscience course elsewhere (e.g., during the summer) must obtain prior written approval from the appropriate department if they wish it to be counted in place of a UM course.
In some cases, transfer courses not approved as part of the major may still count in another discipline or as an elective.

Senior Assessment

Seniors may be required to take part in a senior assessment lasting up to four hours.  Department self-assessment is mandated by SACS (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and is a necessary part of accreditation.  These scores will not affect the student’s graduation status.


Honors in Neuroscience entails excellence in both regular classes and completion of the Senior Honors Thesis, (usually NEU 498 and NEU 499), an individual research project done under the direction of a UM faculty member.  Eligibility requirements for Honors in Neuroscience include a 3.3 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 Neuroscience GPA and usually one year of previous research with the faculty mentor. 

Prior to enrolling in NEU 498 and NEU 499, students must have completed PSY 316 and must obtain written approval from both the faculty mentor who will supervise the thesis and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology.  These faculty members will also asses the adequacy of the thesis upon completion.

Students are expected to complete the Thesis course sequence; a grade of “IP” (i.e., incomplete in progress) is given for NEU 498 until NEU 499 is completed and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology.