Undergraduate Program of Study

The Neuroscience Certificate Program is designed for undergraduates with strong interests in Neuroscience who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary study of the brain in their Senior independent work. The program encourages the serious study of molecular, cellular, developmental and systems neuroscience as it interfaces with cognitive and behavioral research. Current Neuroscience research examples at Princeton include: plasticity and timing-dependent learning rules at synapses, coincidence detection and computation in dendrites, adaptation and pattern detection in neural circuits, cellular and circuit mechanisms of short-term memory, sensory-motor transformations in the cerebral cortex, neural stem cells in the adult brain, viral infections of the nervous system, brain imaging studies of cognitive functions such as attention and memory in human subjects, and mathematical and computational analysis of neural network function. The program offers a combination of courses and interdisciplinary research that meet the requirements of the Molecular Biology and Psychology departments. Students majoring in other disciplines are also encouraged to enroll in the program – a course of study tailored to the requirements of their home department will be designed with the help of the program directors. In the past, students from a wide range of majors, including Engineering, Economics, Chemistry, Art History, English and Music, have successfully completed the Neuroscience Certificate program. Students in the Neuroscience Certificate program will be prepared to meet the entry requirements of graduate schools in Neuroscience, as well as Molecular Biology or Psychology. A certificate in neuroscience is awarded to students who successfully complete the program.

The Program in Quantitative and Computational Neuroscience

The Program in Quantitative and Computational Neuroscience (QCN) is a special track with the Certificate in Neuroscience. It is designed for undergraduates who wish to pursue a quantitative approach to the study of brain function. Students must maintain a B+ average in the required courses and the senior thesis. As is the case with the Program in Neuroscience certificate, graduates of the QCN track will be prepared to meet the entry requirements of graduate schools in neuroscience, as well as molecular biology or psychology; in addition, QCN students will have acquired quantitative data analysis, modeling, and programming skills.

Requirements for Admission

Students are admitted to the program once they have chosen their major and consulted with the Program Directors, who will assist them in selecting an adviser. The adviser will typically supervise the student's junior independent work; the student will identify an adviser for the senior thesis late in the junior year.

Brody and LeeStudent with Professor Carlos Brody.

Program of Study

Students in the Program in Neuroscience develop, in consultation with their adviser, a course of study built upon their departmental concentration that consists of the curriculum listed below, plus junior and senior independent work in neuroscience. Program courses may not be taken Pass/D/Fail.

Curriculum Prerequisites

  • One year of calculus: MAT 102 and 104 orMAT 103 and MAT 104
  • One semester of statistics can be substituted for a semester of calculus: ORF 245 or MOL/EEB 355 (but not PSY 251)
  • Higher math can also be substituted for calculus: MAT 201, 202, 203, or 204
  • Advanced placement credit for math is assessed according to the standards of the Math Department

Neuroscience Requirements

  • NEU 258 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
  • NEU 259 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

In addition to these core courses, all students are expected to take three Neuroscience electives fromat least two of the areas below.

Recognizing that Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary program whose excitement lies in new and changing areas at the interface of biology, psychology and other related disciplines, alternative programs of study may be arranged at the discretion of the Program directors and the Neuroscience Curriculum Committee.

 Neuroscience Electives for the Certificate Program

Note: Electives are not offered every year - please check the course offerings on the Registrar's website and the certificate program handbook.
Molecular Mechanisms and Disease
PSY 407 Sleep: From Molecules to Mattress (Jacobs)
PSY/NEU 410 Depression: from Neuron to Clinic (Jacobs)
MOL/NEU 447 Neuroimmunology in Normal Brain Function and Neuropathology (Boulanger)
MOL/NEU 451 Genes, Brain, and the Human Mind (Rosenberg, Wang)
cross-list NEU/MOL 403 Neurogenetics of Behavior (Murthy, Murphy)
cross-list PSY/NEU 415 Advanced Topics in Learning & Memory (Gould)
Circuits and Systems
NEU/MOL 408/PSY 404 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience (Berry, Witten)
NEU/MOL 437/ 537 / PSY517 Computational Neuroscience (Brody)
NEU 501 A/B Neuroscience: From Molecules to Systems to Behavior (Tank, Cohen)
NEU 508 Computation and Coding in Microcircuits (Berry, da Silveira)
PSY/EEB/NEU 336 The Diversity of Brains (Ghazanfar)
PSY/NEU 339 Brain and Movement (Graziano)
PSY/NEU 412 Motor control and learning (Taylor)
PSY/NEU 422 Dynamics in Cognition (Buschman)
MOL 410 Introduction to Biological Dynamics (Brody, Wingreen)
cross-list NEU/MOL 403 Neurogenetics of Behavior (Murthy, Murphy)
cross-list PSY/NEU 415 Advanced Topics in Learning & Memory (Gould)
Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
NEU/PSY 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging Between Brain and Mind (Norman)
NEU/PSY 425 Neuroeconomics (Niv)
NEU 502 A/B Neuroscience: From Molecules to Systems to Behavior (Cohen, Tank)
PSY/NEU 306 Memory & Cognition (Norman)
PSY/NEU 337 Neuroscience of Social Cognition and Emotion (Hasson)
PSY/NEU 338 Animal learning and decision making: psychological, computational and neural perspectives (Niv)
PSY/NEU 402 Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology: Case Studies in Cognitive Neuroscience (Kastner)
PSY 411 - Psychology of Face Perception (Todorov)
PSY/NEU 417 The Neural Basis of Goal-Directed Behavior (Botvinick)
PSY/NEU 421 Cognitive Neuroscience of Selective Attention (Kastner)
PSY/NEU 516 Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience Research (Hasson)
cross-list PSY 260 The Life Cycle of Behaviors (Ghazanfar)
COS 402 - Artificial Intelligence (Schapire)
EEB 323 - Integrative Dynamics of Animal Behavior (Couzin)
ELE/PSY/NEU 480 fMRI Decoding: Reading Minds (Norman, Ramadge)
QCN Track

Must take 3 courses from a restricted list instead of taking 3 electives.

Required:
NEU/MOL 408/PSY 404 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience (Berry, Witten)
Choose One Laboratory Course:
  • NEU 501B Neuroscience: From Molecules to Systems to Behavior (Cohen, Tank)
  • NEU 502B Neuroscience: From Molecules to Systems to Behavior (Cohen, Tank)
Choose One Computational Neuroscience Course:
  • NEU/MOL 437 Computational Neuroscience (Brody)
  • NEU/PSY 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging between Brain and Mind (Norman)
  • PSY/NEU 338 Animal learning and decision making – psychological, computational and neural perspectives (Niv)
  • PSY/NEU 422 Dynamics in Cognition (Buschman)

Junior and Senior Independent Research

Requirements for junior independent work are determined by each student’s home department. A senior thesis in Neuroscience is an important component of the Neuroscience Certificate Program and is supervised by faculty. For students concentrating in departments that make it impossible to do senior work that fulfills both departmental and certificate program expectations, an additional research report will be required. This report must be co-advised by faculty in the Neuroscience program. For all students, independent research topics can be laboratory or theoretical research projects, and are approved in advance by the Program Directors, in consultation with faculty advisers.