Courses of Study 2015-2016 
    Mar 19, 2019  
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Neurobiology and Behavior

In Biological Sciences .

Course Offerings  

The concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior covers a broad range of topics, all concerned in some way with how animals (including humans) behave and what neural mechanisms underlie their behavior.  Students are required to take the two introductory courses, one in behavior (fall) and one in neurobiology (spring).  A feature of these two courses is that they provide students with an introduction to most of the faculty members associated with this concentration.  After taking these courses, each student has a choice of many different upper-level courses for further exploration of areas of special interest, including social evolution, behavioral neurobiology, animal communication, and cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Neurobiology and behavior is a synthesis of many disciplines, including physiology and anatomy, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, biological psychology and anthropology, ecology and evolution, chemistry and biochemistry, and physics and mathematics. Students in this concentration are encouraged to build a broad knowledge base and to not specialize prematurely.  The course requirements beyond the required two-course introductory sequence are left unspecified, so that courses may be selected from a wide range of possibilities.  These include one upper-level course in neurobiology and behavior plus one or two courses in the other subject areas mentioned above.  Students are encouraged to get hands-on experience in the lab or field, and to try out the advanced topic seminars during their senior year. Faculty advisers help students plan their courses of study in light of their interests and goals.

The variety of courses offered in this concentration reflects the breadth of research interests of its faculty.  These interests span field and laboratory studies.  They include such diverse topics as animal communication, animal orientation, plant behavior, sensory systems, developmental neurobiology, behavioral genetics, cellular neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology (“drugs and the brain”).

Most students in the Neurobiology and Behavior concentration proceed to further study in graduate, medical, nursing, or veterinary school. Still others enter the work force immediately following graduation in the areas of research, business, and teaching.

Neurobiology and Behavior Requirements

Students are required to take the two introductory courses BIONB 2210 - Neurobiology and Behavior I: Introduction to Behavior  and BIONB 2220 - Neurobiology and Behavior II: Introduction to Neuroscience  with discussion sections (4 credits per semester), and 7 additional credits. The 7 additional credits must include at least one advanced BIONB course of 3 or more credits from the 3000 level or above.  ”Topics” courses (BIONB 4200 s and BIONB 7200 s), independent study (BIOG 4990 ), PSYCH 4230  and PSYCH 4260 /PSYCH 6260  may be used toward the additional 7 credit requirement, but do not qualify as advanced courses.


Students who declare the concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior (NBB) after taking BIONB 2210  or BIONB 2220  for only 3 credits must still take the 1-credit discussion section in BIONB 2210  and BIONB 2220 . To arrange this, the student should consult the course directors.

Forbidden Overlap: Students may not receive credit for both BIONB 2220  and PSYCH 2230 .


The faculty of NBB strongly advises students concentrating in NBB to: (1) gain laboratory or field experience in neurobiology or behavior by taking at least one laboratory course or field biology course, or by doing independent research for course credit (BIOG 4990 ); (2) take at least one special topics (BIONB 4200 ) discussion course on a subject of interest in the junior or senior year.

Examples of laboratory-based and field-based courses are as follows: