Apr 20, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Record 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED RECORD]


Interdisciplinary Major in Neuroscience

A major in Neuroscience provides a broad background in Neuroscience, ranging from Psychology related Neuroscience to Molecular/Cellular Neuroscience. Courses are offered within the Major, and as well in the Departments of Psychology and Biology. Many students perform independent research in laboratories throughout the University as well as in the School of Medicine. Students are admitted to the major with the expectation that they will proceed to the Distinguished Majors Program.

Requirements to Apply for the Major

Applications for the NESC major are typically accepted during the student’s 4th semester at UVA. We encourage prospective College of Arts and Sciences transfer students that are interested in applying to the UVA Neuroscience program to consider transferring in their second year. This allows them the opportunity to secure a position in a neuroscience lab prior to the admission cycle and to complete or enroll in any missing pre-requisites. For third year transfers, it is very difficult to be admitted since you must have a lab position secured by fall and must have completed or be enrolled in either PSYC 2200 or BIOL 3050.  (See below for a list of UVA courses that fulfill the NESC prerequisites, which may be substituted by AP credits, or equivalent courses via transfer credit or those that must be completed at UVA.) In addition, it is expected that students will have initiated neuroscience-related research within a research laboratory at the time of admission.

Requirements BA in Neuroscience

Thirty credits are required for the major in neuroscience and students must maintain at least a 2.500 GPA in the major courses and a grade of C+ or better in these courses. Students are dropped from the major if they fall below a cumulative GPA of 2.500 for all designated neuroscience courses. Students are required to take designated capstone neuroscience courses NESC 3980 and 3985, and at least one neuroscience core course. In addition, at least three courses at the 4000 or 5000 level from neuroscience-designated courses, designated ‘Upper level courses’, offered from the Department of Biology or the Department of Psychology, are required (a list of designated courses follows). The courses of research and distinguished major thesis do not count toward the 30 credits for the major.

Distinguished Majors Program in Neuroscience

Students with superior academic performance and serious commitment to independent research are encouraged to apply for the Distinguished Major Program (DMP) after their first year in the Program. The Program culminates in writing a thesis of empirical research done under the mentorship of a faculty member in the NGP. The requirements for admission to the DMP are:

  1. Satisfaction of all College requirements as stated in this record with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.400 in the student’s College and university courses;
  2. A GPA of at least 3.400 in all courses taken as part of the Neuroscience major;
  3. A brief (1-2 page) project proposal along with a written endorsement of the project by a faculty member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

To gain admission to the DMP, students submit a research proposal to the NUP Director. The names of the primary (i.e., research mentor) and secondary faculty readers must also be included. Once admitted, students register for NESC 4970 in the first semester of the fourth year. In this course, students conduct their research under the supervision of an NGP faculty member. In the second semester, students register for NESC 4980 to finalize the thesis, ending with a journal-style manuscript. The research project is intended to foster independent thought and develop the student’s critical ability to formulate and conduct scientific research. The date of the student’s final submission of the DMP thesis to the committee is two weeks before the last day of classes. The two-member faculty committee (mentor and second reader) reports its evaluation of Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction of the thesis to the NUP Director by the first day of the exam period. The executive committee of the major then considers the thesis evaluation, along with the student’s academic record to submit a final level of distinction to the College Registrar. Students receive a letter grade for both NESC 4970 and NESC 4980. These courses do not count toward the 30 credit requirement for the major.

For further information on entering the Distinguished Major Program in Neuroscience, contact the current program and DMP director by email: psy-neuro@virginia.edu

Courses Required for a Major in Neuroscience

A total of 30 graded course credits is required to graduate.

In order to apply to the program, students must be enrolled in, or have already completed the following prerequisite courses and have a C+ or better in all courses to apply for the major.

  1. BIOL 2100 - Introduction to Biology with Laboratory: Cell Biology & Genetics  
  2. CHEM 1410 - Introductory College Chemistry I  or CHEM 1610 - Introductory Chemistry I for Engineers  orCHEM 1810 - Principles of Chemical Structure (Accelerated)  
  3. CHEM 1420 - Introductory College Chemistry II  or CHEM 1620 - Introductory Chemistry II for Engineers  or CHEM 1820 - Principles of Organic Chemistry (Accelerated)  
  4. CHEM 1411 - Introductory College Chemistry I Laboratory  or CHEM 1611 - Introductory Chemistry I for Engineers Laboratory  or CHEM 1811 - Principles of Chemical Structure Laboratory (Accelerated)  
  5. CHEM 1421 - Introductory College Chemistry II Laboratory  or CHEM 1621 - Introductory Chemistry II for Engineers Laboratory  or CHEM 1821 - Principles of Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Accelerated)  
  6. MATH 1210 - A survey of Calculus I  or MATH 1310 - Calculus I  (MATH 1310 is strongly recommended)
  7. BIOL 3050 - Introduction to Neurobiology  or PSYC 2200 - A Survey of the Neural Basis of Behavior  (This pre-requisite must be completed at UVA. Please note that if PSYC 2200 is taken first, you may also take BIOL 3050 for major elective credit)

Note: BIOL 3050 and PSYC 2200 count toward the 30 required credits for the major, but the Chemistry and Math prerequisites do not count toward the 30 major credits. Up to two CHEM requirement courses can be substituted with other 1000 or 2000 level courses offered in Physics, Statistics, Engineering or Computer Science departments, demonstrating student’s strength in basic sciences that are relevant to neuroscience. However, substitute courses should be discussed with the director prior to applying to the program. If a prerequisite is in progress at the time of admission to the Neuroscience Major, admission will be considered provisional until receipt of final grades.

Neuroscience Major Core Courses

The following courses are required for the major and count toward the 30 credits requirement.

  1. BIOL 3000 - Cell Biology  
  2. At least one of the following courses:
    1. PSYC 4200 - Neural Mechanisms of Behavior  
    2. BIOL 4310 - Sensory Neurobiology  
    3. BIOL 4280 - The Genetic Basis of Behavior  
    4. NESC/PSYC/BIOL 4265 - Developmental Neurobiology  
  3. NESC 3980 , NESC 3985  - Current Topics in Neuroscience I, II (required of all 3rd year majors)

Upper Level Courses

At least three courses at the 4000 or 5000 level from neuroscience-designated courses (see approved courses list below), with at least one each from the Department of Biology and one from the Department of Psychology, are required.

The remainder of required 30 credits will be obtained as electives from the courses listed as Neuroscience Approved Courses below.

Neuroscience Approved Course

The following is a list of designated courses offered on a regular basis; this list is revised every semester to include newly offered courses.


Additional Information

For more information, contact the Director JC Cang, jc4r@virginia.edu.