In addition to meeting the School of Arts and Sciences general requirements for the BS degree, students majoring in neuroscience must complete all of the courses listed here. Exceptions can be made as soon as students declare their major, they will be assigned a faculty adviser with whom they will discuss their program completion.
Students must receive a grade of C- or better in all required courses.
Cellular and molecular neuroscience focuses on the mechanisms by which information flows within and among cells in the nervous system and the mechanisms through which the cellular structure of the nervous system develops and is maintained. Topics include the molecular basis of membrane permeability, action potentials, sensory transduction, synaptic transmission, neuronal modulation, mechanisms of drug action, and the molecular basis of genetic disorders of the nervous system.
Cognitive neuroscience focuses on how cognitive functions, such as vision or language, are implemented by the brain. Drawing upon a variety of techniques for probing the working brain at cognitive and neural levels—including functional neuroimaging, analysis of cognitive impairments in brain-damaged patients, and electrophysiological techniques—research in cognitive neuroscience seeks to relate mental representations and computations to brain mechanisms and processes.
Systems neuroscience seeks to relate brain structure and functioning to behaviors and related physiological processes. Research in this area explores the description and analysis of neural circuits. This includes identifying the brain nuclei and interconnections making up a circuit, identifying and investigating the implicated neurotransmitters, and characterizing the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that modulate the development and adult functioning of the circuit. Topics as diverse as learning and memory, communication, sensory systems, and motivated behaviors (reproduction, feeding, aggression, etc.) are explored from this perspective. Another large section of systems neuroscience involves the visual, auditory, and somatosensory sensory systems as well as learning and adaptation of the motor system.
Neuroscience Sequence/Core Set of Coursework (12 credits, required)
These courses are normally taken during the semester listed and in the following order:
080.203 Cognitive Neuroscience – any time, Spring, prerequisite: none, but highly recommended are either one of the following: 200.141, or 050.105 or 080.105
080.305 The Nervous System I – Sophomore/Junior Fall, prerequisite 200.141 or 080.105 or 080.203
080.306 The Nervous System II – Sophomore/Junior Spring, prerequisite 080.305
080.250 Neuroscience Lab – fall or spring, any time after 080.305 & 306 have been completed.
Mathematics and Science Courses (49 credits, required)
110.106 Calculus I for Biological Sciences (or 110.108)
110.107 Calculus II for Biological Sciences (or 110.109)
550.211 Probability & Statistics for the Life Sciences (effective with the class of 2014)
030.101 Introductory Chemistry I
030.105 Introductory Chemistry Laboratory I
030.204 Introductory Chemistry II
030.106 Introductory Chemistry Laboratory II
030.205 Introductory Organic Chemistry I
171.101 General Physics I (or 171.103)
171.111 General Physics Laboratory I
171.102 General Physics II (or 171.104)
171.112 General Physics Laboratory II
Cellular and Molecular Focus (required)
020.315 Biochemistry Lab
020.306 Cell Biology
020.315 Cell Biology Lab
Cognitive and Systems Focus (required)
Students following a Cognitive or Systems Concentration track must complete either the above Biochemistry/Cell Biology sequence or the following:
020.151 General Biology I
020.153 General Biology Laboratory I
020.152 General Biology II
020.154 General Biology Laboratory II
Advanced Courses (12 credits, required)
Twelve (12) credits of advanced neuroscience coursework (300 level or above) are required for the major. Nine (9) of the credits must be in the student’s chosen area of concentration. Only approved courses will be accepted.
Research (6 credits, required)
Six (6) credits of research, obtained through work in one of the neuroscience laboratories participating in the program, are required for completion of the major. Students register for 080.5xx, Research in Neuroscience, where the last two digits of the course number correspond to the student’s year and semester. Students may take no more than 3 credits per term and no more than 6 credits per academic year.
Distribution Requirements (30 credits)
The distribution credits have recently changed. For students graduating in 2016 and 2017 they are:
- 18 H and/or S credits (humanities or social science)
- 12 additional H, S, Q and/or E (quantitative or engineering) – covered by our major requirements
For new sophomores, the distribution requirements are:
- 9 credits of Humanities (H)
- 9 credits of Social Science (S)
- 9 credits of Natural Science, Quantitive or Engineering (N, Q, E)
Some, but not all of these credits may be covered by courses in the major.
As students fulfill the course requirements, they need to ensure that the following requirements are also met in order to be eligible for graduation:
- 120 total credits
- 60 credits at Johns Hopkins
- 4 full-time semesters at Johns Hopkins
- 4 writing-intensive (W) courses (12 credits)
- No more than 18 credits of D or D+ work
- C average or better in the major
- No more than 12 transfer credits