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Image of retinal ganglion cells

Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the study of nervous systems, touching diverse fields such as biology, psychology, biochemistry, philosophy and computer science. Students of neuroscience are also diverse. For example, some students are primarily interested in questions of how consciousness arises from the human brain, while others become fascinated with the inner workings of individual nerve cells, and still others with the development of these complex neural systems. Neuroscience students at Smith receive excellent preparation for a wide range of careers, including research, medicine, biotechnology, pharmacology and more. The breadth of neuroscience encourages learning about many areas of science.

Photo above: Retinal ganglion cells in the eye, stained with a dye crystal placed on the optic nerve. The dye dissolves in the nerve cell membranes and migrates back to the cell bodies and dendrites in the retina. The image was made by the late Stefan Bodnarenko, a professor of neuroscience at Smith.

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the study of nervous systems, touching diverse fields such as biology, psychology, biochemistry, philosophy and computer science. Students of neuroscience are also diverse. For example, some students are primarily interested in questions of how consciousness arises from the human brain, while others become fascinated with the inner workings of individual nerve cells, and still others with the development of these complex neural systems. Neuroscience students at Smith receive excellent preparation for a wide range of careers including research, medicine, biotechnology, pharmacology and a variety of other careers. The breadth of neuroscience encourages learning about many areas of science.

Students who major in neuroscience graduate with deep knowledge of neuroscience and several well-developed skills. They learn fundamental principles about the nervous system at multiple levels of analysis, from molecular and cellular aspects through systems, behavioral and cognitive levels. They receive extensive training in scientific writing, data analysis and public speaking, including presentations in classes and often also at regional and national scientific meetings. All of our students engage in research-based laboratory work, either through research projects in our upper-level laboratory courses, or in many cases through one-on-one mentoring in a faculty research laboratory. Finally, students begin to read primary research papers in our sophomore methods course and then continue to develop their skills in analyzing and critiquing current articles in our upper-level courses and seminars. They graduate from Smith with the skills and understanding that prepares them for the next steps in their careers.

Neuroscience Major 

Requirements

Fifty-one to fifty-six credits

  1. Core
    1. BIO 132/BIO 133 
    2. CHM 111  or CHM 118 
    3. CHM 222
    4. NSC 210
    5. NSC 230
    6. SDS 201 or SDS 220
  2. Two biology courses: BIO 200BIO 202 or BIO 230. ESS 260 or ESS 261 may replace BIO 200 with the major adviser's permission.
  3. Three advanced lecture or research laboratory courses, at least one of which must be a lab course and one a lecture course, from these options: 
    • Lecture courses: NSC 310NSC 314NSC 318BIO 300BIO 302 or BIO 310
    • Lab courses: NSC 324, NSC 325NSC 328, NSC 334sb, NSC 335
      BIO 303BIO 330BIO 363 or ESS 310 (with lab)
  4. One seminarNSC 312ad, NSC 312stNSC 316, NSC 327
    BIO 323soPSY 314cf, PSY 315PSY 326pr or ESS 300md
  5. One elective: PSY 130/ NSC 130, PSY 218PSY 227 or PSY 230

The S/U option may not be used for courses in the major with exceptions granted in 2020-2021.

A student who places out of required courses with AP or IB credits is expected to replace those courses with others offered in the major. 

Neuroscience Minor

Six courses 

  1. BIO 132
  2. NSC 210
  3. NSC 230
  4. Three electives, chosen in consultation with the minor advisor from courses that count towards the NSC major. At least two courses must be at the 300 level. 
  • PSY 202 can substitute for NSC 230, but only if one of the 300-level elective courses is also a lab course.
  • Students with AP or IB credit in Biology can opt to omit BIO 132 and take an additional elective. 

Courses

NSC 130/ PSY 130 Clinical Neuroscience (4 Credits)

Offered as NSC 130 and PSY 130. Introduction to brain-behavior relations in humans and other species. An overview of anatomical, neural, hormonal and neurochemical bases of behavior in both normal and clinical cases. Discussions include the biological basis of sexual behavior, sleep, emotions, depression, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD and neurological disorders. The course focuses on clinical cases in human neuroscience. Open to entering students. {N}{S}

Fall, Spring

NSC 210 Fundamentals of Neuroscience (4 Credits)

The course provides an introduction to the organization and function of the mammalian nervous system along with an exploration of the brain using multiple levels of analysis ranging from molecular to cognitive and behavioral approaches. The course develops an appreciation of how brain cells interact to orchestrate responses and experiences. Emphasis is placed on the cellular and molecular physiology of the nervous system with a focus on retinal phototransduction and mechanisms governing memory. The material is presented at a level accessible for life science majors. Prerequisites: BIO 132 (may be concurrent) or AP BIO. {N}

Spring

NSC 230 Experimental Methods in Neuroscience (4 Credits)

A laboratory course exploring anatomical research methods, neurochemical techniques, behavioral testing, design of experiments and data analysis. Prerequisites: CHM 111 or CHM 118, and PSY 130 or NSC 125 or NSC 210 (may be concurrent), or equivalent. Not open to seniors. Enrollment limited to 16. {N}

Fall, Spring

NSC 310 Human Neuroscience (4 Credits)

This course covers contemporary methods and questions in human neuroscience across the lifespan. This course deeply examines several areas of human neuroscience rather than a broad overview of the field. Students focus on the following domains of study: memory, neural plasticity, decision-making and social cognition. The course examines human neuroscience methods and research to understand domain in 1) healthy young adults 2) across development and 3) in aging, disease, and/or brain damage. The course is designed around class discussion and critical analysis of research findings. Prerequisite: NSC 210 and one statistics course from any department. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

NSC 312ad Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience: Adversity (4 Credits)

This course covers the current understanding of the impact of early life adversity on the brain and how this can lead to differences in cognitive and mental health outcomes. The course deeply examines different dimensions of early life adversity. Students focus mainly on studies in humans, but look to the animal literature for grounding in mechanisms. Students examine current theoretical models of how adversity impacts the brain, the latest literature testing these models, how these differences in brain development may impact children in the long term and factors that may provide resilience for those experiencing adversity. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 312nd Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience-Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases (4 Credits)

The course examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases and describes the basic anatomy and physiology of the brain and nerves. Students dive into the roles that cell quality control plays in neuronal health by exploring the function of the proteasome, lysosome and autophagy in neurodegeneration. Additionally, the course looks at how inflammation can perpetuate and maintain the chronic state seen in neurodegeneration by examining the roles that microglia and astrocytes play in brain health. Students gain experience in the areas of literature search, scientific format and preparation of an oral presentation. Students are limited to a total of two topics of NSC 312. Prerequisite: NSC 210. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 312pp Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience-Pleasure and Pain: Pathways to the Brain (4 Credits)

The skin is the largest organ in the body and touch can evoke a wide range of physiological and emotional reactions. Processing of touch information requires circuits of neurons that differ in gene expression patterns, physiological response properties and downstream target areas in the brain. This course explores 1) how various types of skin stimulation activates different sensory circuits, 2) which brain areas process these stimuli and initiate behavioral responses, and 3) behavioral assays to quantify responses to painful and pleasurable stimuli in animal models. Course objectives are met through readings of research articles, in-class presentations, quizzes and an independent literature review. Prerequisite: NSC 210. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 312st Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience-Stroke (4 Credits)

This course explores the pathological mechanisms and social determinants of stroke. Prerequisites: NSC 210 and NSC 230. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 314 Neuroendocrinology (4 Credits)

This course investigates how the brain regulates the production and release of hormones, as well as how hormones act on the brain to affect behaviors such as aggression, affiliation, parenting, sexual behavior, feeding and learning. Concurrent enrollment in NSC 324 is recommended when both courses are offered. Prerequisites: NSC 210 and one of BIO 200, 202 or 230, or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Spring

NSC 316 Seminar: Neuroscience in the Public Eye-The Patient Perspective (4 Credits)

As people privileged to gain a higher education in STEM, we have an important responsibility to help others to understand complex scientific and clinical information. Consider how overwhelming it is to receive a clinical diagnosis. As potential healthcare providers, you will spend the semester diving deep into a clinical neuroscience topic to try to gain an understanding of the complexities for a patient navigating all aspects of this clinical journey. You will prepare an accessible website on your topic that can be used as a resource for patients and their families. In this interdisciplinary course, material will range from the molecular and cellular neurological origins to discussing pros and cons of various treatment strategies. To further hone your STEM communication skills, you will meet weekly with a mentee in the first-year seminar course to support their learning of these complex neuroscience topics and STEM communication. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 318 Systems Neurobiology (4 Credits)

Systems neurobiology is the study of how networks of neurons function and how these networks mediate sensation, movement and higher-order functions such as language. The development of new technologies to image the brain, measure and manipulate neural activity, and understand whole-brain patterns of gene expression means our knowledge of systems neurobiology is growing rapidly. Thus, the major goal of this class is to teach what types of questions to ask and what approaches to use to find their answers. Course material focuses primarily on the neuroanatomy, functional organization and evolution of the vertebrate brain. Students demonstrate their mastery of course material through group work, discussions of the primary literature and short writing projects. Prerequisites: NSC 210/ PSY 210 and BIO 200 or BIO 202 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Spring, Alternate Years

NSC 320 Sex and the Brain (4 Credits)

In this course students journey into how sex (and where relevant, gender) can and should be considered as a variable in biomedical research, with a focus on brain function and health. The course covers how and why the sex of research subjects has historically been overlooked and how males have been considered the “default” model systems for whole species and beyond. The class discusses the dimensionality of sex as a variable, learning about sex-related factors (such as chromosomes and hormones) that impact humans dynamically. The class explores research demonstrating within-sex variability, cross-sex similarities and sex-related differences in brain structure, function and health in various species, while critically evaluating this work through the lenses of rigor, ethics and equity. Preqrequisite: NSC 210. Enrollment limited to 25. (E) {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

NSC 324 Research in Behavioral Neuroscience (3 Credits)

This course consists of laboratory investigations of neuroscience research questions linking brain and behavior. In each semester, students may take on different questions in behavioral neuroscience from the effects of endocrine disruptors on behavioral development to the role of oxytocin in social behaviors. Students spend the first portion of the semester learning techniques, discussing relevant articles and developing research proposals. This lays the foundation for open-ended research in the second part of the semester. Concurrent or prior enrollment in Neuroendocrinology, Systems Neuroscience or Neurobiology of Reproduction is highly recommended. Prerequisites: NSC 230 or PSY 202, and BIO 132 or a biopsychology course. Enrollment limited to 12. {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

NSC 325 Research Methods in Cellular Signaling (3 Credits)

This is an interactive lab class giving students hands-on experience working with techniques used in the study of cellular neuroscience. Techniques include: sterile cell culture, transfection (overexpression and siRNA), immunocytochemistry, cellular signaling assays and a variety of cellular functional assays. Major physiological mechanisms that underlie cellular signaling mechanisms are explored through the discussion of recent scientific literature with an emphasis on innovative techniques and strategies which allow researchers to test hypotheses and advance new concepts. Prerequisite: NSC 230. Cannot be taken S/U. Enrollment limited to 6. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. (E) {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

NSC 327 Seminar: Race and Gender in Neurological Disorders (4 Credits)

In this seminar, students study major neurological disorders with an eye towards understanding the symptoms, the basic neuropathology, the most common treatments and prognosis. The class also studies how race and ethnicity impact understanding of disease, the practice of medicine and scientific knowledge. The class covers several ways sex and gender can intersect with prevalence, neurobiology and diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 328 Research in Systems Neurobiology (3 Credits)

Understanding how organisms sense the external world, how they move around in their environment, and why they exhibit complex behaviors requires studying the nervous system function at many levels of biological organization--from genes to whole animals, and everything in between. In this course, you will be engaged in the process of doing real research, including designing experiments, learning lab techniques, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting results in multiple formats. Students will begin the semester reading and discussing relevant literature on a topic of current research and developing skills in experimental design. The second part of the semester will focus on carrying out an open-ended research project. Prerequisites: BIO 132 or equivalent and NSC 230. Enrollment limited to 12. {N}

Spring, Alternate Years

NSC 334sb Topics: Research in Computational Neuroscience-Spiking and Behavior Analysis (3 Credits)

Animals perform a wide variety of behaviors, which are supported by patterns of neuronal firing, or spiking. In this computational lab we will explore some of these behaviors, and how neuronal firing supports this behavior at the individual and population level using available datasets. Students will dive deep into primary literature to understand the theoretical basis for behavior, will learn to measure some aspects of behavior, and will gain experience in using specialized programming to apply to video and spiking data sets. The semester will culminate with individual research projects utilizing publicly available data to apply the readings and experience from the lab to topics of student interest. Prerequisite: SDS 201 or SDS 220; and a neuroscience course. (E) {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 335 Research in Human Neuroscience (3 Credits)

In this class students learn two approaches for conducting neuroscience experiments in human subjects. Students first learn about ethical considerations for working in human subjects. Students then learn to collect and analyze neural data from human subjects performing behavioral tasks using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. In the second portion of the class students learn tools for processing and analyzing publicly available fMRI data. This class provides two opportunities to complete projects utilizing the tools learned to answer questions of student interest. Prerequisites: NSC 230 and (SDS 201 or SDS 220). Enrollment limited to 12. {N}

Fall, Spring, Annually

NSC 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

A scholarly project completed under the supervision of any member of the program. S/U only. Instructor permission required.

Fall, Spring

NSC 430 Honors Project (4 Credits)

One semester honors thesis completion. This will normally follow a prior semester special studies in NSC or a related discipline.

Fall, Spring, Variable

NSC 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

This is a full-year course.

Fall, Spring

NSC 432D Honors Project (6 Credits)

This is a full-year course.

Fall, Spring

Crosslisted Courses

BIO 132 Molecules, Cells, and Systems (4 Credits)

Students in this course investigate the structure, function and physiology of cells; the properties of biological molecules; information transfer from the level of DNA to cell-cell communication; and cellular energy generation and transfer. The development of multicellular organisms and the physiology of selected organ systems is also explored. In addition to attending lectures, each student participates in discussion sections that focus on data analysis and interpretation while integrating mechanisms across scales. Corequisite: BIO 133 recommended but not required. Enrollment limited to 78. {N}

Fall, Spring

BIO 133 Research in Molecules, Cells, and Systems (1 Credit)

This Laboratory Course introduces students to biological discovery and the biological research process. Students gain hands-on experience with the use of modern biological research methods by participating in ongoing research with a variety of organisms. This includes scientific discovery, hypothesis development, data collection and analysis, as well as presentation of discoveries and results. Research projects vary with each Instructor. Corequisite: BIO 132. {N}

Fall, Spring

BIO 200 Animal Physiology (4 Credits)

In this course students learn how animal bodies function from the molecular to the organismal level and how the physiology of animals, including humans, has been shaped by evolution to enable survival in a wide range of environments. Course content is organized by body system (cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, etc.). Assignments provide opportunities for students to practice applying their knowledge of physiology to real-life situations, predicting the outcomes of experiments, and interpreting and writing about the primary literature. Prerequisites: BIO 132/ BIO 133 and CHM 111 or CHM 118. Corequisite: BIO 201 is recommended but not required. Enrollment limited to 30. {N}

Fall, Variable

BIO 201 Animal Physiology Laboratory (1 Credit)

This course provides students with the opportunity to design and conduct experiments in human and animal physiology. Emphasis is on developing hypotheses, designing experiments, graphing data, interpreting results, and writing in the scientific style. Corequisite: BIO 200. {N}

Fall, Variable

BIO 202 Cell Biology (4 Credits)

The structure and function of eukaryotic cells. This course examines contemporary topics in cellular biology: cellular structures, organelle function, membrane and endomembrane systems, cellular regulation, signaling mechanisms, motility, bioelectricity, communication and cellular energetics. This course is a prerequisite for BCH 252. Prerequisites: BIO 132/BIO 133 and CHM 222. BIO 203 is recommended but not required. {N}

Fall

BIO 203 Cell Biology Laboratory (1 Credit)

Inquiry-based laboratory using techniques such as spectrophotometry, enzyme kinetics, bright field and fluorescence light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The emphasis is on student-designed projects. This course is a prerequisite for BCH 253. Corequisite: BIO 202. {N}

Fall

BIO 230 Genomes and Genetic Analysis (4 Credits)

An exploration of genomes and genes that highlights the connections between molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and evolution. Students analyze the principal experimental findings that serve as the basis for the current understanding of topics in genetics (such as DNA, RNA and protein structure and function, gene organization and networks, gene expression and regulation, and the origins and evolution of molecular mechanisms). Students examine the computational tools and rapidly expanding databases that have advanced contemporary biology. Prerequisites: BIO 130 or BIO 132 or equivalent. Corequisite: BIO 231 recommended. {N}

Spring

BIO 231 Genomes and Genetic Analysis Laboratory (1 Credit)

A laboratory designed to give students an introduction to genomics and the molecular biology of genetics. Students gain experience with a variety of classical and modern techniques used in human genetic analysis and several experiments using students' DNA are performed throughout the semester. Laboratory and computer-based projects include PCR, restriction analysis and DNA sequencing as well as contemporary bioinformatics and genome database analyses. Corequisite: BIO 230. Enrollment limited to 16. {N}

Spring

BIO 300 Neurophysiology (4 Credits)

Fundamental concepts of nervous system function at the cellular level (electrical signals, membrane potentials, propagation, synapses) and also the systems level (motor control, generating behavior, perception of visual form, color and movement). This course provides a strong foundation for BIO 310 and NSC 318. See website (tinyurl.com/bio300) for full syllabus. Prerequisites: BIO 200 or 202 or NSC 210. {N}

Spring

BIO 302 Developmental Biology (4 Credits)

How does a single cell give rise to the complexity and diversity of cells and forms that make us the way we are? Developmental biology answers this question by spanning disciplines from cell biology and genetics to ecology and evolution. The remarkable phenomena that occur during embryonic development will be presented in concert with the experiments underlying our current knowledge. This will be an interactive class experience using “flipped classroom” approaches as well as web conferencing with the prominent developmental biologists whose research we are covering. Students will write a mock federal grant proposal as a major assessment of the course along with several take home exams. Prerequisites: BIO 132 and (BIO 202 or BIO 230); BIO 130 recommended.

Fall, Spring, Variable

BIO 303 Research in Developmental Biology (3 Credits)

Students design and carry out their own experiments focused on neural and muscle development using zebrafish as a model system. Techniques covered include embryology, indirect immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, microinjection of RNA for gain or loss of function studies, pharmacological analysis, GFP-transgenics, an array of microscopy techniques. This laboratory is designed as a true research experience and thus requires time outside of the normally scheduled lab period. Enrollment limited to 18. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

BIO 310 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (4 Credits)

Molecular level structure-function relationships in the nervous system. Topics include development of neurons and glia, neuron-specific gene expression, molecular biology of neurological disorders and the mechanisms of nervous system plasticity and repair. Prerequisites: BIO 200 and NSC 210 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {N}

Fall, Variable

BIO 323so Seminar: Topics in Developmental Biology- From Cell to Organ to Embryo - The Synthetic Organism (4 Credits)

Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

BIO 330 Research in Cellular Neurophysiology (2 Credits)

A laboratory course on electrophysiological methods in neuroscience. Part I, Basic techniques (electronics, microelectrodes, suction electrodes, pin electrodes) for recording resting, action and receptor potentials. Part II: Investigating a central pattern generator that produces repetitive movements. Part II employs computer-based data acquisition and pharmacological treatments, and involves a self-designed research project. The course includes a discussion of articles and reviews each week. For the syllabus and videos of procedures, see the open website: tinyurl.com/SmithBio330. Prerequisite: NSC 210 or BIO 300 or BIO 310. Enrollment limited to 12. {N}

Spring

BIO 363 Research in Animal Behavior (3 Credits)

Research design and methodology for field and laboratory studies of animal behavior. Prerequisite: BIO 260, BIO 272 or a statistics course. Enrollment limited to 15. {N}

Fall, Alternate Years

NSC 130/ PSY 130 Clinical Neuroscience (4 Credits)

Offered as NSC 130 and PSY 130. Introduction to brain-behavior relations in humans and other species. An overview of anatomical, neural, hormonal and neurochemical bases of behavior in both normal and clinical cases. Discussions include the biological basis of sexual behavior, sleep, emotions, depression, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD and neurological disorders. The course focuses on clinical cases in human neuroscience. Open to entering students. {N}{S}

Fall, Spring

PSY 218 Colloquium: Cognitive Psychology (4 Credits)

Theory and research on human cognition, from the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Topics include visual perception, attention, knowledge representation, memory, language, problem-solving and consciousness. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Enrollment limited to 25. {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PSY 227 Colloquium: Brain, Behavior and Emotion (4 Credits)

What are feelings? How and when do you feelings occur? Why do feelings occur? In this course students learn what makes emotions what they are, and how they guide one through life. The syllabus covers decades of affective neuroscience, the study of how the brain perceives, processes and produces emotions, as well as evolutionary and cross-cultural aspects. The class explores how (and why) researchers study emotions in different species, and what the current state of knowledge is regarding the neuroscience of specific emotions like joy, fear and sadness. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 130, or NSC 210 and PSY 202, or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 25. {N}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

PSY 230 Colloquium: Psychopharmacology (4 Credits)

This course examines the effects of drugs on the nervous system and associated changes in mood, cognition and behavior. Legal and illegal recreational drugs are considered, as well as therapeutic agents used to treat psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Focus is on controversial issues such as binge drinking, addiction to prescription medications, the medical and recreational use of marijuana, the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, medication of children, the power of the pharmaceutical industry and the use of cognitive/performance enhancers. Prerequisites: (NSC 210 or NSC 230) and (NSC/PSY 130 or PSY 202). Enrollment limited to 25. {N}{S}

Spring

PSY 314cf Seminar: Topics in Foundations of Behavior-Cognition in Film (4 Credits)

This seminar explores the cognitive processes underlying human perception and comprehension of film and the techniques filmmakers use to capitalize on these processes. Students read and discuss empirical articles and view relevant examples of film. Discussions range from change blindness and apparent motion to character identity and narrative. Prerequisite: PSY 100. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {N}

Fall, Spring, Variable

Additional Programmatic Information

Advisers: Mary Harrington (Study Abroad); Virginia Hayssen (Transfer Students)

The supplemental website for the neuroscience program provides links to syllabi and other information about selected neuroscience courses.

An updated schedule for the current academic year shows which courses will be taught.

How to Find a Major Adviser and Declare Your Major

 The first step in declaring your Neuroscience major is to find a major adviser.  The Neuroscience Program seeks to match students with faculty advisers who can best meet their academic advising needs. To be matched with an available adviser, please fill out the file NSC Advising Form and email the completed form to Eva Weber at eweber51@smith.edu. You will be notified by email with the name of your new adviser.  

To declare your major, fill out the Program of Study Declaration Form. You will enter your new adviser's name on the declaration form. 

Director:  Michael Barresi

NSC 430D Honors Project 
This is a full-year course. Credits: 4 
Normally offered both fall and spring semesters 

Please consult the director of honors for specific requirements and application procedures.

Students have the option of counting one semester of Honors as fulfilling the requirement for one Advanced (300-level) Lab course. 

Find information on your Honors application.

The Five College Program in Cognitive Neuroscience is a certificate program that lets students deepen their understanding of cognitive neuroscience through theoretical and empirical training.

Hands-On Learning

Neuroscience students gain real-world experience by working together in laboratory research courses in wide-ranging subjects such as neurophysiology, research methods, systems neurobiology, developmental biology and animal behavior.

Faculty

Maya Rosen

Neuroscience

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Research & Opportunities

Neuroscience students and faculty present their research at national and regional conferences.

Students at the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology in Long Beach, California.

Neuroscience students at a conference in Long Beach, CA

Students at the Northeast Society for Developmental Biology in Woods Hole, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Students at the Northeast Society for Developmental Biology in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Students have opportunities to travel to a variety of locations for conferences based on diverse subdisciplines.

A student discussing her poster at the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California. 

A neuroscience student at a conference in San Diego

Students with Professor Mary Harrington at the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms on Amelia Island in Florida.

Neuroscience students with Professor Mary Harrington at a conference in Florica

Study Abroad is possible in neuroscience. Virginia Hayssen is the adviser; interested students should consult her study abroad advice page early in their academic careers to plan their programs.

Smith students studying at the Danish Institute in Copenhagen visited Italy during their program’s travel break.

Neuroscience students visiting Pisa in Italy

Students in Panama for a two-week course on animal behavior also learned about tribal use of herbal medicines.

Neuroscience students in Panama
  • Professor Mary Harrington and Jean Chaffee Hardwick ’83 have each been president of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, a national organization that fosters education and research in neuroscience for undergraduate students.
  • Professor Richard Olivo received the 2014 award for Education in Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience, and two awards from Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, Educator of the Year in 2005 and a Career Achievement Award in 2012. Professor Olivo organizes a teaching workshop each year for the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting, and he was Founding Editor of the Society's web portal for higher education, Educational Resources in Neuroscience (ERIN).
  • Professor Michael Barresi is co-author of an edition of Developmental Biology, the leading textbook in its field. Professor Barresi is a recognized pioneer in the use of instructional technology.
  • Professor Virginia Hayssen is the author, with Teri Orr, of Reproduction in Mammals: The Female Perspective. She was formerly senior editor of the Journal of Zoology (London), an international taxonomic journal.
  • The cover of an issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights an article in that issue by Professor Lisa Mangiamele. Her article concerns androgen receptors in leg muscles of a tropical frog that uses its legs for sexual signaling. 
  • Smith faculty members serve on review panels for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Beckman Foundation, and as reviewers for numerous journals.

Contact Neuroscience

Ford Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3804 Email: eweber51@smith.edu

Administrative Assistant:
Eva Weber