Neuroscience FAQ

Read FAQs on studying neuroscience at Dartmouth

Q. I am interested in neuroscience. Which course should I take between Psych 1 vs.Psych 6?

A. Psych 6 (or Bio 34) is required for the NS major, so if you know that you are interested inneuroscience, then Psych 6 may be your bestchoice. However, if you are unsure, thenselecting Psych 1 is a good option, becauseyou will cover the field of psychology inmore breadth and it will include some neuroscience.

Q. What is the difference between the Psychology major and the Neuroscience major?

A. Psychology is the study of behavior– from the level of brain mechanisms of behavior tosocial interactions. It encompasses a largebreath of topics including: applied, social,developmental, clinical cognitive, and physiological psychology. Majoring inpsychology will expose you to many of these disciplines. In contrast, neuroscience is thestudy of brain mechanisms and encompassesmaterial from the molecular and cellularlevel of how neurons work, to cognitive andbehavioral levels where questions of howneural processes lead to behavior and cognitive thought is studied. In between these twolevels, neuroscience also involves anatomical and system level analyses of brain function.

Q. What is the difference between Psych 6 and Bio 34?

A. Both courses are similar, although not identical, and recently have used the sametextbook. Both courses study how individual neurons function as well as address somesystem level issues of brain functions. Because the two courses contain significantoverlap, students can receive major (or minor)credit for only one of these two courses,butnotboth. Further, a student cannotuse the other course as an elective credit for the major.

Q. Psych 6 has no prerequisites, but Bio 34 has two prerequisites (Bio 11 and Bio 12). Why would I want to take Bio 34 instead of Psych 6?
Related question: Why would I want to take the two courseBio 11/Bio 12 sequenceto satisfy the cellular/molecular neuroscience requirement instead of the one course–Psych 46?

A. If you are interested in cellular and molecular neuroscienceand are thinking of takingupper level Biology courses then taking Bio 11 and 12 would be a good choice, sincethese two courses are prerequisites for many upper level Biology classes. In addition, ifyou are pre-med, Medical Schools currently recommend having at least two courses inBiology that contain laboratories. Takingthe Bio 12 and 13 sequence (in lieu of Psych46 for the cellular/molecular neuroscience requirement) would fulfill the premedrecommendations, since both these Bio courses have laboratories (Psych 46 does notcontain a laboratory). However, Psych46 has more content directly related toneuroscience than the Bio 12/13 sequence.

Q. Can I get neuroscience elective credit for taking Psych 46 even if I’ve taken Bio 12 and 13?

A. Yes. The content of Psych 46 is sufficientlydifferent from Bio 12 and 13; thus, we allowelective credit for it.

Q. Can I take multiple courses that are labeled Psych 50?

A. Yes, as long as the two courses have different titles and contain significantly differentmaterial. Psych 50 courses are offered multipletimes, with each one usually containingdifferent content. You can take more thanone for credit as long as it is not the samecourse.

Q. I have AP Credit for some of the prerequisites (e.g., Math 3). Does this mean I havecredit for one prerequisite?

A. Yes. If you have AP credit and were given a Dartmouth college credit for the course,then this course can count asone of your prerequisites.

Q. Can I count an elective course for the neuroscience major or minor that is used tocount as an elective course in another major – for example, in PBS?

A. No. For example, if a student is majoring inPBS and is counting Psych 50 as one of theirelective courses for the PBSmajor, then he/she cannotuse this course as an elective foreither the neuroscience major or minor.

Q. Can I NRO (non-recording option) neuroscience courses?

A. Yes, you may NRO any of the prerequisitesexcept (Psych 6, Bio 34, Psych 10, Bio 29).You maynotNRO any required, elective, or culminating experience courses.

Q: Can I modify the neuro major?

A: The neuroscience major cannot be modified with another major.  However, students can petition to modify another major with neuroscience (e.g., Comp Sci modified with Neuro) if the primary major department allows it.  If so the student should contact the Chair of the Neuroscience Major Committee (currently Professor David Bucci) and provide information as to why a modification is preferable to minoring in Neuroscience, and explaining which 4 neuroscience courses (in addition to PSYC 6) will be used for the modification, and why they are suitable.