Undergraduate Neuroscience Major at University of Maryland
Update on Proposal for New Major
April 15, 2019

Proposed: September 18, 2018
Approved by Senate PCC Committee: October 5, 2018
Approved by University Senate: November 14, 2018
Approved by MHEC: February 22, 2019
Approved by University System of Maryland: TBD
Added to Undergraduate Catalog: TBD
Open for student enrollment: TBD – (estimating 2020)

The Colleges of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) and Computer Mathematics and Natural Sciences (CMNS) are jointly proposing a new undergraduate major (BS) in Neuroscience (NEUR) at University of Maryland.  

There has been a lot of interest in this proposal from students, parents, faculty, and staff. The information provided here is designed to provide up-to-date information on the progress of this proposal. All of the information provided here is advisory. The requirements, courses, and timelines for new academic programs are often changed during the approval process.

The Neuroscience major will offer rigorous training in the interdisciplinary study of brain and behavior. Students will complete a required set of NEUR courses as well as a supporting sequence of coursework in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. Students will then choose an upper-level specialization and coursework in (1) cellular, molecular, and physiological neuroscience or (2) behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. The Neuroscience major will prepare students for a broad range of career paths including: scientific research, medicine, clinical psychology, allied health professions, or science-related government, nonprofit, or private sector employment.

At the University of Maryland, the Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences (NACS) Ph.D. program was established in 1996 followed by an undergraduate minor in neurosciences in 2006. In 2018, there is more undergraduate interest in neuroscience and stronger campus investment in neuroscience-related education and research than ever before.  Neuroscientist and BSOS Dean Gregory Ball assembled and chaired the committee that assembled the academic curriculum for this new major. The committee consisted primarily of neuroscience faculty at University of Maryland, along with knowledgeable academic administrators. This committee considered the course structure and content of a number of other neuroscience undergraduate programs around the country.

Proposed Neuroscience Major Requirements

  1. NEUR Required Courses (13 credits)
  2. Required Supporting Courses (47 credits)
  3. Concentration Courses (16-20 credits) - Concentration courses may be added as additional courses become available. There is particular interest in adding courses from a broad range of disciplines beyond just in CMNS and BSOS.

Required NEUR Courses (13 credits)


NEUR 200

Introduction to Neuroscience (General Education: NS)

New Course


NEUR 305

Neuroscience Fundamentals I

New Course


NEUR 306

Neuroscience Fundamentals II

New Course


NEUR 405

Neurobiology Lab

New Course





Required Supporting Courses (47 credits)


MATH 135 or 140

Discrete Math or Calculus I

LEP Benchmark and Gateway Course


MATH 136 or 141

Calculus (136) or Calculus II




BIOM301, EPIB300, PSYC200, STAT400, or STAT464



BSCI 170/171

Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology with Lab

LEP Benchmark and Gateway Course


BSCI 160/161

Principles of Ecology and Evolution with Lab



CHEM 131/132

Fundamentals of General Chemistry with Lab

LEP Benchmark and Gateway Course


CHEM 231/232

Organic Chemistry I with Lab

LEP Benchmark and Gateway Course


CHEM 241/242

Organic Chemistry II with Lab



CHEM 271/272

General Chemistry and Energetics with General Bioanalytical Chemistry Lab



PHYS 131/141

Fundamentals of Physics for Life Sciences I or Principles of Physics I with Lab



PHYS 132/142

Fundamentals of Physics for Life Sciences II or Principles of Physics II with Lab




Introduction to Psychology



UNIV100 (or equivalent)

Introduction to the University





Concentration Courses (16-20 credits)

Complete at least 5 courses, including at least 3 courses from within one concentration and at least 1 lab course. Up to 3 pre-approved Neuroscience Research credits can be applied to the major. 4 pre-approved NEUR479 credits in the same faculty research laboratory can satisfy the lab requirement

Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Concentration*

Behavioral & Cognitive Concentration*


NEUR379 (1-3 cr) - Neuroscience Research: Molecular and Cellular

NEUR379 (1-3 cr) - Neuroscience Research: Behavioral and Cognitive

NEUR306 and permission of dept.

NEUR479 (1-4 cr) - Neuroscience Research Lab


BSCI399(H, L) may be substituted with permission

NEUR479 (1-4 cr) - Neuroscience Research Lab


BSCI399(H, L) may be substituted with permission

NEUR306 and NEUR379 and permission of dept.

ANSC327 Molecular & Quantitative Animal Genetics

NOTE: Students may not use both ANSC327 and BSCI222 toward filling Neuroscience concentration requirements


ANSC101, CHEM131,ANSC103, and BSCI170/171

BCHM463 Biochemistry of Physiology


CHEM271/272 or CHEM276/277

BSCI222 Principles of Genetics

NOTE: Students may not use both ANSC327 and BSCI222 toward filling Neuroscience concentration requirements

BSCI222 Principles of Genetics

CHEM131/132, BSCI170/171; and either BSCI160/161 or another CHEM

BSCI330 Cell Biology & Physiology with Lab

BSCI330 Cell Biology & Physiology with Lab

CHEM131/132 and BSCI170/171

BSCI339D Biology of Chemosensory Systems


NEUR306 or BSCI353

BSCI339F Neurophysiology of Cells and Circuits


NEUR306 or BSCI353


BSCI360 Principles of Animal Behavior

BSCI160/161, BSCI170/171, and BSCI222


BSCI401 Animal Communication

BSCI160/161, and PHYS (1 semester); Recomm: animal behavior or biopsychology

BSCI402 Genomics of Sensory Systems



BSCI403 Biology of Vision



BSCI410 Molecular Genetics


BSCI222 and CHEM231/232

BSCI415 Molecular Genetics Lab



BSCI430 Developmental Biology


BSCI222 and BSCI330

BSCI440 Mammalian Physiology and BSCI 441 Mammalian Physiology Lab


BSCI330 and CHEM231/232

BSCI446 Neural Systems

BSCI446 Neural Systems

NEUR306 or BSCI353

BSCI452 Diseases of the Nervous System


NEUR306 or (BSCI353 & BSCI330)

Special Topics Courses (BSCI338 or 339) when specifically approved for the major/specialization. Check with your advisor.



KNES370 Motor Development




KNES385 Motor Control and Learning


KNES462 Neural Basis of Human Movement




KNES498C Exercise and Brain Health



PHIL209N Know Thyself: Wisdom Through Cognitive Science



PHIL366 Introduction to Philosophy of Mind



PSYC302 Fundamentals of Learning and Behavior

PSYC100 and BSCI170/171


PSYC341 Introduction to Memory and Cognition

PSYC200 and (PSYC300 or NEUR306)


PSYC402 Neural Systems and Behavior

PSYC301 or NEUR305


PSYC403 Animal Behavior

PSYC301 or NEUR305

PSYC404 Introduction to Psychopharmacology

PSYC404 Introduction to Psychopharmacology



PSYC406 Neuroethology



PSYC407 Behavioral Neurobiology Laboratory

NEUR405 or (PSYC300 and PSYC301)


PSYC413 Developmental Cognitive/Social Neuroscience

PSYC301 or NEUR305


PSYC414 Science of Sleep and Biological Rhythms

NEUR306 or (PSYC100 and PSYC301)


PSYC442 Psychology of Language



PSYC455 Cognitive Development

PSYC355 & (PSYC300 or NEUR306)


PSYC489G Hormones & Behavior

NEUR306 or NEUR301

*Courses may be occasionally added or removed from this list. Not all courses may be available each semester.



Limited Enrollment Program


Neuroscience will be proposed as a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP) similar to the current LEP criteria for the BSCI major.  The proposed gateway/benchmark courses are:


  • Completion of MATH 135 or 140 with a minimum grade of C-
  • Completion of BSCI 170/171 (formerly BSCI 105) with a minimum grade of C-
  • Completion of CHEM 131/132 and CHEM 231/232 with a minimum grade of C-
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all courses is required at the 45-credit benchmark review for first-time freshmen.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.7 in all courses taken at the University of Maryland and all other institutions is required for internal and external transfer to the Neuroscience major.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop a knowledge base in the field of neuroscience and supporting disciplines
  1. Understand the fundamental principles of neuroscience across all levels of analysis – molecular/cellular, circuits, systems, and behavior
  2. Understand the principles of evolution, especially as they apply to the nervous system and behavior
  3. Develop additional expertise and depth of knowledge in at least one area of neuroscience (molecular/cellular, circuits, systems, and behavior)
  4. Be able to address a question in neuroscience by integrating information from multiple levels of analysis


  1. Understand the current techniques and strategies in neuroscience research,
  1. Understand the theory and practice of important current neuroscience research techniques, along with their strengths and limitations
  2. Acquire laboratory experience through neuroscience courses or research
  3. Develop skills in data analysis using relevant quantitative and programming methods
  4. Obtain training to work comfortably and successfully within a research team or equivalent experience


3.  Develop competence in scientific reasoning and critical thinking 

  1. Be able to critically evaluate scientific literature, including assessment of the problems addressed, methodology used (including statistical analyses), and conclusions drawn
  2. Demonstrate skill in innovative and integrative thinking and problem-solving
  3. Demonstrate skill in experimental design and interpretation


4.  Develop effective professional communication skills

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in clear, concise, and graceful writing
  2. Demonstrate proficiency with oral communication in a range of professional situations
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in graphical presentation of information integrated into both written and oral presentations


5.  Understand the role of neuroscience in social and cultural contexts as well as the influences of social and cultural context on neuroscience

  1. Understand the influences, current and potential, of neuroscience on other fields such as medicine, education, the arts, and the social sciences
  2. Recognize the relationships between scientific research and the culture(s) in which it is embedded
  3. Understand and follow ethical practices in academic study, scientific research, and professional life


6. Develop an appreciation of possible career paths available to students proficient in neuroscience

        a.  Understand the activities, opportunities, and responsibilities of the individual scientist within the scientific community

        b.  Recognize the range of career opportunities outside academia

        c.  Develop and, as far as possible, implement plans for career development



New Courses


NEUR200 (3 cr) Introduction to Neuroscience (DSNS)

Prerequisite: BSCI170/171 with C- or higher

Recommended: MATH135 or 140 with C or higher

Explores the anatomical and physiological systems that underlie animal behavior. Provides an introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience.


NEUR 305 (3 cr) Neuroscience Fundamentals I

Prerequisite: MATH135 or 140 with C- or higher; NEUR200 with C- or higher

Principles of the nervous system and neural circuits.


NEUR306 (3 cr) Neuroscience Fundamentals II

Prerequisite: NEUR305 with a C- or higher

Principles of molecular and cellular neuroscience.


NEUR405 (4 cr) Neurobiology Lab

Prerequisite: NEUR306 with a C- or higher & permission of department

Laboratory course exploring the principles of nervous system function, ranging from molecular and cellular basis of neuron function through nervous system integration. Experiments use living invertebrates and cold-blooded vertebrates.


NEUR379 (1-4 cr) Introductory Neuroscience Undergraduate Research

Prerequisite: NEUR305 with a C- or higher & permission of department


NEUR479 (1-4 cr) Advanced Neuroscience Undergraduate Research

Prerequisite: NEUR306 with a C- or higher & permission of department


All of the information provided here is advisory. The requirements, courses, and timelines for new academic programs are often changed during the approval process.




For more information, please contact: BSOS Associate Dean Katherine Russell or CMNS Associate Dean Robert Infantino.