The Major in Neurobiology is designed to educate students in the foundations of biology and neurobiology while providing opportunities for advanced study on a range of disciplines ranging from cell and molecular neuroscience to cognitive science and psychology as well as the interfaces of these disciplines. The curriculum will include the breadth of subject matter encompassed by neurobiology and the rapidly advancing knowledge at the forefront of this discipline. Graduates will be well prepared for advanced study in biological sciences, particularly neuroscience, medicine, business or law, as well as professions in education and biotechnology. 

For questions on this major, consult your academic advisor or the Director of the Neurobiology major, Prof. Thomas Coate (202-687-9143; tmc91@georgetown.edu) .


Program for the Neurobiology major

The program is described in detail below in the following sections:

  • Biology Courses (required and elective), Additional Required Courses, Comprehensive Exam, and RISE. Completion of all requirements is necessary to obtain the major. 
  • Declaration in the major will be in the fall of the second year. 

AP- and IB-credit in Biology

The Department of Biology accepts one of the following: the AP Exam in Biology, the AP Exam in Environmental Biology, or the IB Higher-level Biology exam.

  • Students who receive a score of 5 on the AP Biology Exam or on the AP Environmental Sciences Exam will receive 2 credits of upper division electives that will count towards the major and will receive the equivalent of a 4-credit nonmajors course (this is recorded as a College elective course).
  • Students with a score of 4 on the AP Biology Exam or on the AP Environmental Sciences Exam will receive 1 credit of upper division elective that will count towards the major and will receive the equivalent of a 3-credit nonmajors course (this is recorded as a College elective course).
  • Students with a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Higher-level Biology Exam will receive 2 credits of upper division electives that will count towards the major and will receive the equivalent of a 4-credit nonmajors course (this is recorded as a College elective course).

Courses in the first year

Normally, the first year includes biology, chemistry, mathematics and general education courses:

Fall term: We recommend 4 courses and seminar

  • Foundations in Biology I with laboratory (BIOL-103, -113)
  • First year seminar (BIOL-101)
  • General Chemistry with laboratory (CHEM-001, -009)
  • Mathematics (generally Calculus I)
  • General education (one course): language, English, History, Philosophy or Theology

Spring term: 5 courses is the normal load

  • Foundations in Biology II with laboratory (BIOL-104, -114)
  • General Chemistry with laboratory (CHEM-002, -010)
  • Mathematics (Probability and Statistics, or Calculus II)
  • General Education (two courses): language, English, History, Philosophy or Theology
courses in the upper years
  • Second year, Spring term -- all Neurobiology majors will complete BIOL-195 Neurobiology
  • Fourth year, Fall term -- all Neurobiology majors will enroll in BIOL-401/402 Senior Seminar

Programs for majors

1. Biology Courses
Required core courses

(28 credits):

  • BIOL-101 First-year seminar (1 credit). This course is required for first year students and is recommended for transfer students and those students who enter the program after the first-year (contact the department chair or your advisor).
  • BIOL-103, -113 Foundations in Biology I with laboratory (5 credits)
  • BIOL-104, -114 Foundations in Biology II with laboratory (5 credits)
  • BIOL-195 Neurobiology (4 credits)
  • BIOL-354 Synaptic Transmission (3 credits)
  • BIOL-370 Neurodisorders (3 credits)
  • BIOL-376 Developmental Neurobiology (3 credits)
  • BIOL-380 Sensory Systems (3 credits)
  • BIOL-401 Senior Seminar in Biology (1 credit) [to be taken during the fall term of the last year]
Elective Courses

(21 credits) Enrollment in graduate-level courses (numbered 500 or greater) is at the discretion of the instructor. No more than two courses in Psychology and Animal Behavior can count as Neurobiology electives. Students may choose up to two courses from Group B to count towards the 21 elective credits.

Group A

  • Biological Chemistry (BIOL-151)
  • Genetics (BIOL-152)
  • Developmental Cell Biology (BIOL-170)
  • Mammalian Physiology (BIOL-175)
  • Research Tutorial (BIOL-300/340). This research- laboratory, literature, or internship- must be in an area of neuroscience and be approved my major directors.
  • RISE, Research Intensive Senior Experience (BIOL-341/-342). This research- laboratory, literature, or internship but not teaching fellows- must be in an area of neuroscience and be approved by major director.
  • Cell Biology (BIOL-363)
  • Endocrinology (BIOL-377) 
  • Developmental Biology (BIOL-373)
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics (BIOL-379) 
  • Molecular Biology (BIOL-390)
  • Structural Biology of Cell Signaling (BIOL-391)
  • Advanced Neurophysiology (BIOL-412)
  • Modeling Biological Populations (BIOL-422)
  • Advanced Developmental Biology (BIOL-424)
  • Architecture and Dynamics of the Nucleus (BIOL-426)
  • Advanced Cell Biology (BIOL-430) Biol 426 
  • Advanced Molecular Biology (BIOL-480)
  • Functional Neuroimaging and Cognition (NSCI-525)
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration (NSCI-556)

Group B

  • General Psychology (PSYC-001)
  • Research Methods and Statistics (PSYC-002)
  • Physiological Psychology (PSYCH-120)
  • Cognition (PSYCH-130)
  • Monkeys Apes and Humans (PSYCH-223)
  • Animal Behavior (BIOL-226)
  • Psychology of Memory (PSYC-231)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYC-234)
  • Social and Affective Neurosciences (PSYC-235)
  • Psychology of Aging (PSYC-263)
  • Cognitive Neurogenetics (PSYC-350)

2. Additional Science Courses Required
  • CHEM-001/-009 and -002/-010 General Chemistry with laboratory 
  • MATH-035 Calculus I
  • MATH-036 Calculus II or MATH-040 Probability and Statistics or MATH-140 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics

3. RISE - Research Intensive Senior Experience

RISE is an option for Neurobiology majors and replaces the senior thesis.

RISE is a commitment for two semesters and is intended to be selective. Research will be conducted over two semesters in the senior year and is awarded a total of six credits. However, students may begin research earlier, generally in the third year and in the summer between the third and fourth years by enrolling in Research Tutorial (BIOL_300/340)

The RISE options are research in the laboratory, field or computer-based, or meta-analysis of data (but not teaching).

Students may find primary research mentors from among department faculty- or faculty in other units across the university.

If the primary faculty mentor is not from the Biology department, the student must also find a co-mentor from among department faculty. Students register for the Research Tutorial or RISE section of their department mentor. 

RISE - (6 credits total)

  • BIOL-341 (fall) and BIOL-342 (spring) RISE