Major code BS1937
Modern neuroscience is a highly interdisciplinary field that brings together ideas and methodologies from a variety of traditional disciplines such as biology, chemistry, psychology, philosophy, physics, and mathematics. The Honors Tutorial College program in neuroscience provides students with a solid interdisciplinary foundation in modern neuroscience and allows them to pursue their individual interests within one of four major subdisciplines: Cell and Molecular Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Quantitative Neuroscience, or Neuroethology. The program is designed to provide maximum flexibility while ensuring that students are prepared fully for admission into the graduate or professional school of their choice.
Applicants are expected to rank in the top ten percent of their high school classes and to have achieved a composite ACT score of 31 or a combined SAT score of 1320. Two letters of recommendation from high school teachers are required.
Applicants are encouraged to take Advanced Placement exams in any areas they choose. Academic course credit will be awarded based on AP scores. All course selections are approved by the director of studies. The required course list below provides a guide to what students will need, but can be modified in consultation with the director of studies to accommodate students’ particular interests and goals.
All students take a core of course work in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. A series of tutorials provides a broad introduction to neuroscience and a foundation for pursuit of individual interests in subsequent years.
The common foundation continues with physics and organic chemistry. In addition, students begin to concentrate on their particular areas of interest through a combination individual tutorials and elective courses.
Third and Fourth years
Students are immersed increasingly in their particular areas of interest through a combination of upper-division courses appropriate for each of the four subdisciplines, the electives, and the tutorials.
All students are required to take:
Freshman and junior composition
Philosophy of science
Senior research thesis
Individual tutorials during the sophomore, junior, and senior years are arranged by the student with specific faculty tutors. Students are encouraged strongly to take tutorials with at least two different faculty members in each year, and to take tutorials with faculty from more than one department. Interdisciplinary tutorials, involving faculty from two or more departments, are also encouraged. Both the content and the format (directed readings, laboratory research, etc.) of each tutorial are determined by discussion between the student and the tutor, without restrictions. The director of studies assists as needed with the arrangement of tutorials.
Cell and Molecular Neuroscience
Cell and molecular neuroscience focuses on the structure and function of the individual neurons and glia that are the building blocks of nervous systems. These studies include the expression and regulation of genes during nervous systems development and the molecular bases of nervous system diseases.
Cognitive neuroscience weaves together ideas and approaches from psychology, biology, and philosophy to better understand the neural basis of complex processes, such as perception, emotion, language, consciousness, memory, attention, and decision making, that compose the mental experience of humans and other vertebrates.
Systems and Quantitative Neuroscience
Systems and quantitative neuroscience encompasses the development of computational models of neuronal processes, as well as an analysis of neural circuits and pathways as complex, dynamic systems. Such systems exhibit behavior that is determined by the architecture of the system, rather than by properties or individual components. Both of these approaches make extensive use of ideas and methods developed in mathematics and physics.
Neuroethology is the study of the neural basis of naturally occurring behaviors. This approach combines concepts from biology and evolutionary psychology; it involves observing animals in their natural habitats and identifying how their nervous systems have adapted to produce appropriate natural behavior.
During the senior year, each student will conduct an independent research project. Details of the project are arranged in consultation with the director of studies and a faculty thesis advisor in the area of interest. In addition to the prospectus required by the HTC thesis guidelines, a research proposal must be submitted to the director of studies by the end of spring quarter in the junior year. The completed thesis, including an introduction and background, methods, results, and discussion, must be submitted during the final quarter at Ohio University. Students will also present their results in a seminar format. Presentation of the results of the research at scientific meetings or publication in professional journals is also encouraged. Detailed senior thesis guidelines can be obtained from the director of studies.
Evaluation of Progress
The director of studies will evaluate the progress of each student quarterly by examining tutorial and formal course performances, as well as the evaluations submitted by the tutors. Students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA in required courses. At the end of each year the director of studies, in collaboration with the dean of the college, will review each student’s progress with regard to aptitude for independent study, initiative, and scholarly performance. If it is determined that the student would be better served by a more traditional program or a different major, the student will be so advised and assisted in transferring to another college or major.
Requirements for Graduation
In order to graduate, the student must complete the following:
- Satisfactory fulfillment of the course requirements as outlined above and on the student’s DARS report
- Submission of a thesis that has been approved by the senior thesis advisor and the director of studies
Contact the director of studies for further information:
Dr. Michael Rowe
Department of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience Program
Athens, OH 45701