Neuroscience Bachelor of Science Degree

In the neuroscience BS degree, you’ll learn how the brain works and apply that knowledge to develop systems for new frontiers such as advancing artificial intelligence, combating neurodegenerative diseases, and assisting those with learning disabilities.


Overview

If you are drawn to questioning how we think, how we learn, and how understanding the systems in our brains can help change the world, then it’s time to consider RIT’s neuroscience BS. Major advancements in the field are expected in the coming years, and this degree in neuroscience will put you at the forefront of innovation.

RIT’s Degree in Neuroscience

RIT’s flexible neuroscience BS involves the collaboration of the College of Science and the College of Liberal Arts to provide you with a multidisciplinary opportunity to study the brain while developing your background knowledge in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Graduates will be prepared for a multitude of professional careers and pre-professional programs.

Real World Applications

Neuroscience is applied to a vast array of industries, including the rapidly developing field of artificial intelligence (AI). At the intersection of science, technology, and innovation, RIT is uniquely positioned to offer students a rich background in programming and computing as well as access to AI research projects to prepare for this booming field. 

Study of the brain is also essential for understanding and combating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Experts in neuroscience are at the forefront of treating mental illnesses and learning disabilities. With the combination of program electives and the opportunity to create your own track, you have the flexibility to design a neuroscience degree that will prepare you for admission to dental, medical, or optometry professional programs.

Neuroscience as a Major

Course of Study

Students may choose from three track options based on your course preferences and career goals: neurobiology, computational neuroscience, and behavioral neuroscience. In addition to tracks, program electives make it possible for a double major or twin minor to be completed by students who wish to do so. The track courses and program electives allow students to expand their knowledge in intersecting subfields of neuroscience such as biology, cognitive science, health science, psychology, and computing. 

The lab requirements provide experience in the practical use of the equipment and methods used in the field of neuroscience today. This background gives graduates from this program a leg up when entering the workforce or continuing education.

Neuroscience Capstone I

You will be required to participate in a two-semester Capstone in your final year of study to enhance your skills in technical communication and scientific research practices. You will research, write, and present a proposal for an independent research project.

Neuroscience BS Tracks

Neurobiology

Neurobiology track explores the branch of life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system. Neurobiology centers around the study of nerve cells and the organization of these cells into functional circuits that process information and mediate behavior. Develop an in-depth understanding of how information is processed and stored in the brain and the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neural functioning.

Computational Neuroscience

Computational neuroscience track studies the relationship between neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI). The development of artificial neural networks was inspired by studying brain function. AI researchers aim to emulate human intelligence by building models and developing biologically-inspired architectures that can make decisions and solve problems in the same way that humans do. Artificial intelligence is also increasingly used as a research tool in neuroscience to advance our understanding of how the human brain works. For example, by analyzing data on brain activity acquired using neuroimaging techniques, machine learning is used to uncover the patterns in brain activity and link them to specific cognitive and motor actions.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral neuroscience track focuses on the relationship between behavior and behavioral science such as psychology and neuroscience. Behavioral neuroscience examines what is happening in the brain and the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that are associated with those processes. A range of topics are studied in this field including learning and memory, motivation and emotion, and sensory processes.

 

Premedical and Health Professions Advisory Program

Medical schools and graduate programs in the health professions (such as physician assistants, physical therapy, and occupational therapy) welcome applications from students majoring in a wide range of academic programs. Acceptance into these programs requires the completion of pre-med requirements such as course work in biological and physical sciences, a strong academic record, pertinent experiences in the field, and key intrapersonal and interpersonal capabilities. Learn more about how RIT’s Premedical and Health Professions Advisory Program can help you become a competitive candidate for admission to graduate programs in the medical and health professions.

Pre-Vet Advising Program

Occupations in veterinary medicine are expected to grow three times faster than all other occupations between 2016 and 2026. If you’re interested in caring for animals, conducting research related to animal illnesses, or working with livestock in university or government settings, the Pre-Vet Advising Program can help you reach your career goals. Learn more about RIT’s personalized Pre-Vet Advising Program and how it can help you maximize your candidacy for admission to veterinary schools.

Pre-Law Advising Program

Law schools welcome applications from students majoring in a wide range of academic programs. If you are interested in pursuing law school, RIT’s Pre-Law Advising Program is designed to maximize your chances of admission to law school. The program includes personalized advising, LSAT preparation, academic counseling, and a time table for law school admission.

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Careers and Experiential Learning

Salary and Career Information for Neuroscience BS

Cooperative Education

What’s different about an RIT education? It’s the career experience you gain by completing cooperative education and internships with top companies in every single industry. You’ll earn more than a degree. You’ll gain real-world career experience that sets you apart. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. 

Co-ops and internships take your knowledge and turn it into know-how. Science co-ops include a range of hands-on experiences, from co-ops and internships and work in labs to undergraduate research and clinical experience in health care settings. These opportunities provide the hands-on experience that enables you to apply your scientific, math, and health care knowledge in professional settings while you make valuable connections between classwork and real-world applications.

National Labs Career Fair

Hosted by RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, the National Labs Career Fair is an annual event that brings representatives to campus from the United States’ federally funded research and development labs. These national labs focus on scientific discovery, clean energy development, national security, technology advancements, and more. Students are invited to attend the career fair to network with lab professionals, learn about opportunities, and interview for co-ops, internships, research positions, and full-time employment.

Curriculum for Neuroscience BS

Neuroscience, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
BIOL-123 General Education – Elective: Introduction to Biology: Organisms and Ecosystems 3
BIOL-125 General Education – Elective: Introduction to Biology Laboratory: Organisms and Ecosystems 1
BIOL-124 General Education – Elective: Introduction to Biology: Molecules and Cells 3
BIOL-126 General Education – Elective: Introduction to Biology Laboratory: Molecules and Cells 1
CHMG-141 General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry I 3
CHMG-145 General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry I Lab 1
CHMG-142 General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry II 3
CHMG-146 General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective: General & Analytical Chemistry II Lab 1
MATH-161 General Education – Mathematical Perspective A: Applied Calculus* 4
PSYC-101 General Education – Elective: Introduction to Psychology 3
ISCH-110 General Education – Elective: Principles of Computing 3
UWRT-150 General Education – First-Year Writing (WI) 3
YOPS-10 RIT 365: RIT Connections 3
  General Education – Elective† 3
Second Year
CGNS-222 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 3
ISCH-370 Principles of Data Science 3
PHYS-111 General Education – Elective: College Physics I* 4
PSYC-222 Biopsychology 3
PSYC-223 Cognitive Psychology 3
PSYC-255 Behavioral Science Research Methods 3
STAT-145 General Education – Mathematical Perspective B: Introduction to Statistics I 3
  General Education – Artistic Perspective 3
  General Education – Global Perspective 3
  General Education – Social Perspective 3
Third Year
CGNS-310 Experimental Lab Methods in Neuroscience 3
CGNS-451 Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar A 1
CGNS-452 Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar B 1
CHMO-231 General Education – Elective: Organic Chemistry I 3
CHMO-235 General Education – Elective: Organic Chemistry I Lab 1
  General Education – Ethical Perspective 3
  General Education – Immersion 1, 2 6
  Program Electives‡ 12
Fourth Year
CGNS-501 Neuroscience Capstone I 1
CGNS-502 Neuroscience Capstone II  3
  Open Electives 12
  General Education – Immersion 3 3
  Program Electives‡ 9
Total Semester Credit Hours 121

Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

(WI-PR) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

* Students may take a higher course if applicable.

† For students interested in the Computational Neuroscience track, MATH-182 Project-Based Calculus II is recommended for this General Education Elective.

‡ Students may choose to expand their knowledge in a specific area by selecting three program elective courses from one of the following tracks: Neurobiology, Computational Neuroscience, or Behavioral Neuroscience. They can select three courses as track courses from the table below. In some cases, with the permission of the program director and a recommendation from the academic advisor, students can define their own track that fits well with their interests and the program of study. If students choose to complete a track, 11-12 credit hours of additional program electives must be completed. If students choose not to complete a track, 21 credit hours of additional program electives must be completed. In addition to the list below, all track courses can be chosen as additional program electives.


Tracks

Neurobiology
CGNS-401 Neurobiology
CGNS-322 Animal Vision
CGNS-410 Imaging in Neuroscience

BIOL-302 & BIOL-315

Cell Biology & Tissue Culture Laboratory
Computational Neuroscience
CGNS-421 Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence
CGNS-410 Imaging in Neuroscience
ENGL-581 Natural Language Processing I
PSYC-432 Decision Making, Judgment, and Problem Solving
Behavioral Neuroscience
CGNS-410 Imaging in Neuroscience
PSYC-224 Perception
PSYC-410 Psychophysiology
PSYC-411 Psychopharmacology

Program Electives

BIOL-205 Animal Behavior
BIOL-206 Molecular Biology
BIOL-303 Cell Physiology
BIOL-309 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIOL-313 Comparative Animal Physiology
BIOL-314 Tissue Culture
BIOL-315 Tissue Culture Laboratory
BIOL-330 Bioinformatics
BIOL-428 Eukaryotic Gene Regulation and Disease
BIOL-470 Statistical Analysis for Bioinformatics
CHMB-402 Biochemistry I
CLRS-600 Fundamentals of Color Science
CSCI-331 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
EEEE-547 Artificial Intelligence Explorations
ENGL-482 Speech Processing I
ENGL-582 Natural Language Processing II
ENGL-584 Speech Processing II
IMGS-221 Vision & Psychophysics
IMGS-351 Fundamentals of Color Science
IMGS-361 Image Processing & Computer Vision I
MEDS-250 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
MEDS-425 Introduction to Neuroscience
MEDS-525 Advanced Clinical Neuroanatomy
PHIL-404 Philosophy of Mind
PSYC-412 Biological Basis of Mental Disorders
PSYC-430 Memory and Attention
PSYC-431 Language and Thought
PSYC-450 Visual System & Psychophysics
PSYC-451 Color, Form & Object Perception
PSYC-452 Depth, Motion & Space Perception
PSYC-462 Cognitive and Perceptual Development

 

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math required; pre-calculus recommended
  • Biology and chemistry required

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
AS degree in biology or liberal arts with biology option

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Research

Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged and strengthens your preparation for graduate study or employment. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research experience under the guidance of faculty mentors. Students are also encouraged to apply for summer research internships both here at RIT and at other institutions. Explore research initiatives available throughout the College of Science.