To complete a major in Neuroscience, you must complete 67-68 hours of coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, psychology, and neuroscience and complete UAB Core Curriculum Requirements.

Research is a cornerstone of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Program. Students are given the option to complete either a laboratory-based or literature-based research experience (6 credit hours total).

Students who elect to complete a laboratory-based research experience are expected to conduct independent research in the labs of primary faculty for no less than 3 semesters (NBL/PY 398, 6 credit hours total). You will join a lab of your choosing sometime after your freshman year and work one-on-one with researchers to develop and execute an independent research project. Upon conclusion of the research experience, you will write and submit a Research Thesis for approval by your mentor and UNP leadership. 

Students pursuing a literature-based research experience explore experimental design and modern neuroscience techniques using a combination approach in both laboratory and classroom settings. You will begin the literature-based research experience by completing a semester long laboratory course (NBL 390) that utilizes contemporary techniques in neuroscience to illustrate concepts of experimental design and hypothesis testing. The class content and methodology varies by semester and is specific to the research question you are testing. After completion of the laboratory course, you will embark on an in-depth exploration of current scientific literature (NBL 399). This course aims to develop skills such as critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and scientific writing and presentation. Under the direct supervision of primary faculty, you will formulate and explore a research topic using primary research articles to articulate your point of view. After writing and submitting the research thesis, you will present your work to an audience of your peers and program faculty as a capstone experience in Neuroscience.

You can get an idea of what you'll take semester-by-semester by looking at our four-year plans for both the laboratory-based research option and the literature-based research option

Program Requirements

All program requirements and courses are outlined in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog. Neuroscience majors must maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 to remain in the program. If placed on academic probation, Neuroscience majors will be allowed one semester to raise their GPA.

Neuroscience majors are encouraged to be continuously engaged in research under the direction of a faculty mentor beginning no later than the first semester of their junior year. However, qualified students may identify a mentor and begin conducting research as early as their freshman year with the permission of their Neuroscience faculty advisor. Course credit will be provided via NBL 398 or PY 398.

All Neuroscience majors must take:

Biology
Basic chemistry, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, evolution, bacteria, and protists. For major in biology and related fields. Quantitative Literacy and Writing are significant components of this course. Lecture and laboratory. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: Eligible for, enrolled in, or have completed MA 106, MA 107, MA 125, or MA 126. Check course catalog.
The course emphasizes the transition from cell, to tissue, to organs in multicellular systems. Specific attention in the course will be paid to a survey of the various groups of plants, fungi, invertebrates and vertebrates. Strong emphasis will be placed on comparing the anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems in humans with those of other organisms. The course is designed to expand the students understanding of the process of scientific writing. Quantitative Literacy and Writing are significant components of this course. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: BY 123 (minimum grade: C]

Chemistry
Stoichiometry, quantum theory, atomic structure, chemical bonding, acids-bases, colligative properties and periodicity. Laboratory emphasizes quantitative analysis. Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. Concurrent enrollment in CH 115R General Chemistry I Recitation required. 4 hours. Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Solutions, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium and special topics (organic, biochemistry, descriptive chemistry) Writing assignments structured to build on scientific reasoning. Concurrent enrollment in CH 117R General Chemistry II Recitation required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Structure, nomenclature, properties, and reactivity of compounds with various organic functional groups: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides and alcohols. Emphasis on the mechanisms of organic reactions and problem solving. Concurrent enrollment in CH 235R Organic I Recitation required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Reactions of aromatic compounds and carbonyl containing functional groups: aldehydes, ketones, acids, esters and amides. Molecules of biological interest, such as proteins and carbohydrates. Concurrent enrollment in CH 237R Organic II Recitation required. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Overview of biochemical principles; chemistry of aqueous solutions, biochemical building blocks including amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleotides; examination of metabolic pathways and enzymes that mediate catabolic and anabloic metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids. Application of clinical correlations of metabolism to human nutrition and disease. This course is designed for Chemistry majors as well as students interested in medicine, dentistry, optometry, or pharmacy. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CH 237 (minimum grade: C).

Psychology and Neurobiology
PY 101: Introduction to Psychology: Application of scientific method to behavior. Areas of psychology including learning, motivation, perception, physiological, comparative, personality, abnormal, social, clinical, child development, and individual differences (Satisfies Core Area IV Requirement). 3 hours.
PY 201: Honors Introduction to Psychology: Advanced seminar in scientific study of behavior and cognitive processes. (Satisfies Core IV requirement.) Permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies required.

You must take PY 253 before the Spring Semester of the sophomore year:
How brain functions during dreaming, visual perception, aggression, learning and memory, sex, and language. Left versus right hemisphere specializations, recovery after brain damage, and neurological basis of illnesses such as schizophrenia, autism, and Parkinson's disease. Includes five hours of videos. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course. 3 hours.

Introduction to the cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and function of the mammalian nervous system. This course will emphasize the development, anatomy, cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry of neurons and glial cells, and introduce electrical, biophysical and chemical signaling within and across neurons. 3 hours.
Introduction to the cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and function of the mammalian nervous system. This course will emphasize mechanisms of synaptic transmission, sensory systems, neuropharmacology, and synaptic plasticity; and introduce the molecular basis of diseases and disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.

Neuroscience Colloquium

This course is to be taken at least twice:
The Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience is a faculty seminar. The Colloquium will expose students to cutting edge research programs and technologies from approximately 25 faculty each year who serve as mentors for the Undergraduate Neuroscience Major and Graduate Neuroscience Program. Faculty will also discuss strategies for development of careers in medicine and research. Students will prepare by reading an assigned research article authored by the speaker and be prepared for a group discussion. Class meets for one and a half hours a week. 1 hour.

Advanced Neuroscience Courses

Select two courses from the following:
Molecular Neuroscience will provide students an advanced understanding of how the brain works with a focus on protein function. Everything the brain does is built upon the actions of proteins, many of which are completely unique to the brain. Together we will work to thoroughly understand the exact molecular mechanisms utilized by the brain to support the complex function of our most fascinating organ. Topics covered will include brain morphogenesis, axonal outgrowth, synapse formation, neurotransmitter biosynthesis, intracellular signaling, and the blood brain barrier. This lecture course is designed to fulfill a neuroscience major’s requirement for an advanced course. Non-neuroscience majors should seek course master approval before enrolling and must have a significant background in biology and/or chemistry. Students will be required to purchase a text. Grades will be assigned based on points accumulated through weekly quizzes, cumulative exams, and written reports. 3 hours.
Molecular mechanisms and treatments for neurological, psychiatric, and injury based disorders and diseases of the nervous system. Topics include neurodevelopmental disorders (including intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders), neurological disorders (including neurodegenerative and demyelinating disease), neuropsychiatric disorders (including depression disorders and schizophrenia), and injury to the nervous system (including stroke and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury). 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Molecular, cellular, systems and medical components of neuroscience, with an emphasis on cognition and cognitive disorders. Covers topics ranging from genes and molecules to human behavior, using cognitive function and clinical cognitive disorders as the unifying theme, with a focus on learning and memory and disorders of these processes. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Cognitive neuroscience research has provided valuable insights into the workings of the human brain. The ability to perform neuroimaging studies on awake human individuals engaged in cognitive, social, sensory, and motor tasks has produced a conceptual revolution in the study of human cognition. This course will comprehensively examine the methods and techniques in neuroimaging with the primary goal of building basic knowledge in the concepts and techniques of neuroimaging. The course will explore techniques, such as single and multi cell recordings, deep brain stimulation, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, and diffusion tensor imaging, and focuses on functional magnetic resonance imaging. Course goals: By the end of the course, students will have gained basic knowledge in the field and will be able to read and critically assess scientific journal articles that make use of a variety of neuroimaging methods. The secondary and implicit goal of this course is to create and nurture, in students, a genuine interest in neuroscience and neuroimaging. 3 hours.
Physiology, pharmacology, and anatomy of acute and chronic pain. How medical treatments relieve pain. Stress-induced analgesia, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, acupuncture, inflammation, and psychological approaches to treatment of pain. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
This course will focus on examining the neural bases of higher cognitive and social functions. We will discuss the basics of functional MRI and will study scientific papers in neuroimaging to arrive at neural characterization of cognitive functions, such as: executive functions, emotion, intentionality, language comprehension, and social cognition. This course will provide students a unique opportunity to learn about the potential of neuroimaging in understanding cognition. It will also help students refine their research interests and possibly choose the field of neuroscience to pursue further studies. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Interdisciplinary study of higher-order cognitive functions in humans. Data from functional brain imaging, neurology, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology used in study of human perception, language, learning, and memory. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Current research on the effects of the social world on hormonal responses (cortisol, testosterone etc.). Several research articles will be discussed every week in a seminar format. 3 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Vision begins with photons and ends in the brain. How does it all work? This course introduces the student to the anatomical and physiological underpinnings of visual perception, stepping from single photoreceptors in the retina on through the cortical neural circuits devoted to capturing every facet of seeing the world. Lectures are supplemented with hands-on sessions where students can test their own vision. 3 hours.

Physics

Select one group:
First term of non-calculus based physics. Linear and planar motion, Newton's laws, work and energy, gravitation, momentum, rigid body motion, elasticity, oscillations, waves, sound, fluids, ideal gases, heat and thermodynamics. Lecture and laboratory. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course (QEP). 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Second term of non-calculus based physics. Electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Lecture, laboratory, and resicitation must be taken concurrently. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
or
First term of introductory, calculus-based general physics sequence covering classical mechanics: measurements, kinematics, vectors, translational and rotational dynamics, work, energy, momentum, statics, oscillatory motion, wave motion, and sound. Lecture and laboratory. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course (QEP). PH 221 General Physics I Honors: This section of PH 221 is designed for students with strong interests and preparation in science, mathematics, and/or engineering. Topics are covered with more mathematical rigor and in greater depth than in regular sections. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.
Second term of introductory, calculus-based general physics sequence covering electricity and magnetism: Coulomb's Law, electric fields, Gauss' Law, potential, capacitors and dielectrics, Ohm's Law, DC circuits, magnetic fields, Ampere's Law, Biot-Savart Law, Faraday's Law, inductance, AC circuits, geometrical and physical optics. Lecture, Laboratory, and Recitation must be taken concurrently. PH 222 General Physics II Honors: This section of PH 222 is designed for students with strong interests and preparation in science, mathematics, and/or engineering. Topics are covered with more mathematical rigor and in greater depth than in regular sections. 4 hours.
Prerequisites: check course catalog.

General
Limit of a function; continuity, derivatives of algebraic, trigonometric exponential, and logarithmic functions, application of derivative to extremal problems, optimization, and graphing; Newton method; the definite integral and its application to area problems; fundamental theorem of integral calculus, average value, and substitution rule. Quantitative literacy is a significant component of this course. 4 hours.
Moral problems and dilemmas in medicine and health affairs; elementary methods and concepts of moral philosophy. Problems typically include, among others, AIDS and human and animal experimentation. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP). 3 hours.

Statistics
Select one of the following:
The goal of this course is to teach biomedical research design basics and critical thinking skills in the context of neuroscience research. This knowledge should be helpful for understanding and conducting scientific research, as well as for the updated sections of the 2015 MCAT test for medical school admission. 3 hours.
Introduction to statistics and research design. Covers basics of experimental design and statistical decision theory; indices of central tendency, variability, and association; graphical data presentation; and statistical inference. 3 hours.
Descriptive and inferential statistics with emphasis on behavioral science applications. Measures of central tendency and variability, frequency distributions, probability, t-test, correlation, analysis of variance, and regression. Use of computers in statistical analysis of psychological research data. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course. 4 hours.
Descriptive and inferential statistics, probability distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing. Recommended that 2 years of high school algebra or MA102 has been completed before taking course. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course (QEP). 3 hours.

Medical School requires 6 hours of college math. You can cover 3 hours with AP Calculus, but must take another math course at UAB. MA 180 will satisfy the requirement. Therefore, students planning to attend medical school should take MA 180 rather than PY 216 or STH 301.


We offer many additional Neuroscience courses on topics ranging from addiction to human learning and memory.
 

Course Catalog

A complete list of major requirements and courses for Neuroscience majors are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Ready to Apply?

All the information you need to apply can be found on UAB's Undergraduate Admissions Hub.