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Program Overview

318 Hitchcock

Neuroscience offers students an intense introduction to the study of nervous systems. Faculty in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine teach courses in the major. Students study the cellular and molecular properties of single nerve cells and the connections among them and learn how these properties determine animal behavior and human disease.

Undergraduate Program

318 Hitchcock, Box 355320
(206) 616-3982

Neuroscience offers the following program of study:

  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in neuroscience

Bachelor of Science

Program Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered in the following groups: Direct Freshman Admission and Regular Admission. Admission is capacity constrained; meeting minimum standards guarantees consideration but not acceptance. Application deadline is the second Friday in October each year except for Direct Freshman Admission.

Direct Freshman Admissions

The department enrolls up to 15 percent of its incoming class directly from high school. Students accepted to the UW who indicate neuroscience as their preferred major on their freshman application are considered. Strong applicants have completed chemistry, biology, and calculus in high school and generally have received a minimum 1400 on the SAT (mathematics and verbal sections) or a minimum 30 on the ACT. Admission is for autumn quarter only.

Regular Admission

  1. BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220, with minimum 2.0 grade in each
  2. Completion of most supporting coursework in physics, math, and chemistry recommended (see specific course lists, below), with minimum 2.50 GPA in any such work completed at time of application

Major Requirements

Minimum 86 credits
  1. Supporting coursework (minimum 48 credits):
    1. Chemistry: One of the following three sequences: CHEM 120, CHEM 220, CHEM 221; CHEM 142, CHEM 152 (or CHEM 143, CHEM 153), CHEM 223 CHEM 224; CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165), CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337). Third sequence recommended. Organic chemistry laboratories not required. (15-27 credits)
    2. Physics: Pathway 1 - PHYS 114, PHYS 115; Pathway 2 (recommended) - PHYS 121, PHYS 122. ( 8 to 10 credits)
    3. Mathematics: Two quarters of calculus (MATH 124, MATH 125, or Q SCI 291, Q SCI 292) (10 credits)
    4. Introductory Biology (minimum 15 credits): BIOL 180, BIOL 200, BIOL 220 (15 credits)
  2. Introduction to Neuroscience (10 credits): NEUSCI 301, NEUSCI 302.
  3. Advanced courses in neuroscience (12 credits): NEUSCI 401, NEUSCI 402, NEUSCI 403, NEUSCI 404.
  4. Electives: Minimum 16 credits from a wide variety of 400-level courses in the biological sciences. See adviser for list of courses. Courses not listed may be allowed with permission of program director. Students may apply up to 7 credits of undergraduate research toward the 16 elective credits.
  5. Minimum cumulative 2.00 GPA for courses applied to the major.

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Throughout the core sequence of neuroscience, students gain a deep understanding of the basic concepts of nervous system function and learn many of the basic techniques used to study nerve cells. Students also learn how to analyze neurophysiological data, and compose and present results. Graduates pursue careers in medicine, public health, education, pharmaceutical sales, computing, and graduate study.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Laboratories are required with introductory courses. (NEUSCI 301 and NEUSCI 302). The program offers state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for each course.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Most neuroscience students participate in undergraduate research with faculty from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine.
  • Program Scholarships: None offered.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Neuroscience Student Club; Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national premedical honorary society.