Academics > Curriculum

Curriculum

The Neuroscience major was designed to give students interested in the field the strongest possible guidance for building a solid foundation for graduate study. The major also provides valuable training for students who may pursue public health, mental health, and other health-related fields immediately after graduating from Coe. The preparation that students receive in the neuroscience major gives them additional insight into environmental, medical, and psychological influences on the nervous system. The neuroscience major is a collateral major which requires that students must concurrently major in biology, chemistry, or psychology.

Collateral Major in Neuroscience

  1. Completion of a primary major in Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology. A minimum of six course credits, either required or elective, must be taken in addition to the courses that count toward the student’s primary major.
  2. BIO-145, -140 Cellular and Molecular Biology and Laboratory
  3. BIO-155, -150 Organismal and Ecological Biology and Laboratory
  4. BIO-255, -250 Experimental Human Physiology and Laboratory
  5. CHM-155 Principles of Structural Chemistry
  6. CHM-165 Principles of Chemical Reactivity
  7. PSY-225 Introduction to Biopsychology
  8. PSY-485 Drugs and Behavior
  9. PSY-525 Behavioral Neuroscience
  10. A minimum of four additional courses to be chosen from the lists of electives below. No more than two may be chosen from the student’s primary major:
    1. Biology (Unless noted below, associated laboratories are recommended, but NOT required.)
      BIO-125 Organic Evolution - OR - BIO-202 Topics in Evolution
      BIO-215 Human Anatomy -OR - BIO-214 Integrated Human Anatomy
      BIO-235 Genetics
      BIO-285, -280 Animal Behavior and Laboratory
      BIO-345, -340 Techniques in Molecular Biology and Laboratory
      BIO-415 Developmental Biology
      BIO-525 Cell Physiology
    2. Chemistry
      CHM-185 Organic Chemistry I
      CHM-225 Organic Chemistry II
      CHM-405 Biochemistry
      CHM-575 Protein Biochemistry
    3. Psychology
      PSY-235 Abnormal Psychology
      PSY-305 Developmental Psychology
      PSY-385 Learning and Behavior
      PSY-565 Advanced Experimental Psychology (when research topic is appropriate, as determined by Neuroscience Administrative Coordinator)
      PSY-705 Seminar in Psychology (when seminar topic is appropriate, as determined by Neuroscience Administrative Coordinator)
    4. Philosophy
      PHL-245 Philosophy of Mind


Courses in Biology

BIO-125 Organic Evolution 
Consideration of the evidence for and the principles involved in the Darwinian theory of organic evolution by natural selection. Focus is directed to how selection operates in plant and animal populations and the mechanisms of adaptation, speciation, and extinction, with special consideration given to human evolution. Other topics include the historical development of evolutionary thought, modern theories of evolution, and discussion of the anti-evolutionary controversy. Three meetings per week. Credit is given for Organic Evolution (BIO-125) or Topics in Evolution (BIO-202), not both.

*BIO-145 Cellular and Molecular Biology
A study of biology at the cellular and molecular level, including cytology, metabolic, and genetic processes. Three lectures per week.

*BIO-140 Introduction to Biology Laboratory
An introduction to experimental design, collection of data, and selected software for the analysis of data. Instruction in writing of scientific papers is also provided. Three hours per week. Corequisite: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145). (0.2 course credit)

*BIO-155 Organismal and Ecological Biology
The study of organ systems, reproduction, and embryology, with an emphasis on human biology. Principles of evolution, ecology, and animal behavior are also studied. Three lectures per week.

*BIO-150 Organismal and Ecological Biology Laboratory
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155). (0.2 course credit)

BIO-202 Topics in Evolution
Investigates the roles of selective and non-selective evolutionary mechanisms, especially as they affect adaptation, speciation, and extinction. Selected aspects of the fossil record and current theories of hominid evolution are also part of the course. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145). Credit is given for Topics in Evolution (BIO-202) or Organic Evolution (BIO-125), not both. (Offered May Term only)

BIO-215 Human Anatomy
A survey of gross and microscopic human anatomy, providing necessary background for students in physiology and body mechanics. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145) or Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155).

BIO-210 Human Anatomy Laboratory
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Human Anatomy (BIO-215). (0.2 course credit)

BIO-235 Genetics
An exploration of the three main branches of heredity: transmission (classical), molecular, and population genetics. Transmission genetics examines how genes and genetic traits are passed from generation to generation. Molecular genetics probes the structure, function, and regulation of genes, while population genetics investigates through mathematical models the distribution and behavior of genes in populations. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145), Introduction to Biology Laboratory (BIO-140), and Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155).

BIO-230 Genetics Laboratory
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Genetics (BIO-235). (0.2 course credit)

*BIO-255 Experimental Human Physiology
The study of function in terms of basic physical and chemical processes; an introduction to the principles of physiology using the human organism as a model. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145), Introduction to Biology Laboratory (BIO-140), and Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155).

*BIO-250 Experimental Human Physiology Laboratory
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Experimental Human Physiology (BIO-255). (0.2 course credit)

BIO-285 Animal Behavior
Principles and methods in ethology are considered with emphasis on temporal and spatial patterns, adaptive significances, communication, aggression and territoriality, social organization, and the nature of regulatory mechanisms. Prerequisites: One of the following: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145) and Introduction to Biology Laboratory (BIO-140); Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155) and Laboratory (BIO-150); or Statistical Methods and Data Analysis (PSY-301). (Offered summers at the Wilderness Field Station)

BIO-345 Techniques in Molecular Biology
An intensive introduction to biological molecular techniques. Students learn how to manipulate recombinant DNA and express and detect protein products in prokaryotic systems. Course methods include cloning, restriction, mapping, ligation, labeling, purification, elution, blotting, hybridization, agarose, and acrylamide gels, protein expression and detection, and immunological techniques. On completing the course, students should have a working knowledge of most methods used in molecular biology research. Course consists of two discussion sessions per week. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145), Introduction to Biology Laboratory (BIO-140), Genetics (BIO-235) and Laboratory (BIO-230), Principles of Structural Chemistry (CHM-155), and Principles of Chemical Reactivity (CHM-165).

BIO-340 Techniques in Molecular Biology Laboratory
Six hours per week. Concurrent with Techniques in Molecular Biology (BIO-345). (0.5 course credit)

BIO-415 Developmental Biology
An exploration of the developmental processes that occur as an organism grows from fertilized egg to adult organism. The actions and interactions of cells and tissues are examined in the living, growing, and rapidly changing environment of the body. Classical embryology is examined through modern genetic techniques, with special emphasis on how differential gene expression makes us who we are. Survey of research methodologies are a prominent topic. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Genetics (BIO-235) and Laboratory (BIO-230).

BIO-410 Developmental Biology Lab
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Developmental Biology (BIO-415). (0.2 course credit)

BIO-525 Cell Physiology
The content, organization, and function of the cell and its components are studied. Other topics include the relationship of the cell to its environment, the cell membrane, enzymes, conversion of matter and energy, cell growth, and cell division. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145), Introduction to Biology Laboratory (BIO-140), Organismal and Ecological Biology (BIO-155), Genetics (BIO-235), and Principles of Structural Chemistry (CHM-155).

BIO-520 Cell Physiology Laboratory 
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Cell Physiology (BIO-525). (0.2 course credit)

 


 

Courses in Chemistry

*CHM-155 Principles of Structural Chemistry
A study of basic structures important to chemistry. The course deals with structures of atoms and nuclei, the nature of chemical bonds and structures of molecules, and mass relations in formulas and in chemical reactions. The relation of structure to the natures of solids, liquids, and gases is discussed, along with basic concepts of energy. Three class meetings and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: secondary school chemistry or consent of instructor.

*CHM-165 Principles of Chemical Reactivity Covers the nature of acids, bases and ionic reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, chemical equilibrium, and rates of chemical reactions. These ideas are then used to discuss non-metals, metals, and transition metal complexes. Three class meetings and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: Principles of Structural Chemistry (CHM-155) or consent of instructor.

CHM-185 Organic Chemistry I
Introduction to organic chemistry, including the chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes and benzene derivatives, and a more rapid survey of other families of organic compounds. An integrative approach in which theory is developed to explain chemical phenomena. Three class meetings per week. Prerequisite: Principles of Chemical Reactivity (CHM-165) or consent of instructor.

CHM-225 Organic Chemistry II
A continuation of Organic Chemistry I (CHM-185). Additional functional groups, including halides, alcohols, carboxylic acids, and their derivatives, aldehydes and ketones, discussed in detail. Ultraviolet, infrared, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy introduced. Three class meetings per week. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry I (CHM-185).

CHM-405 Biochemistry
Introduction to biochemical processes, emphasizing biological oxidation reduction; the chemistry of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleotides; and the theory and mechanism of enzyme reactions. Laboratory includes modern techniques for separation, purification, and analysis of biochemical systems and substances. Three class meetings and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Organic Laboratory (CHM-235).

CHM-575 Protein Biochemistry
A study of the structure and function of proteins in their many biochemical roles. Topics include proteins as enzymes, messengers, antibodies, regulators, storage, structure, and transport molecules. Protein purification, protein engineering and kinetics, structure prediction, spectroscopy, and current literature topics are covered. Laboratory studies introduce methods and tools of protein purification and analysis. Prerequisites: Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO-145) and Organic Chemistry II (CHM-225).

CHM-570 Protein Biochemistry Laboratory
Three hours per week. Concurrent with Protein Biochemistry. (0.2 course credit)

 


 

Courses in Psychology

*PSY-225 Introduction to Biopsychology
An introduction to the biological bases of behavior and mental processes. This course emphasizes the cell biology of neurons, neural communication, and the organization of the nervous system. The neurological basis of psychological processes such as sensation, learning, memory, and cognition are discussed. Appropriate for first-year students and sophomores. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-235 Abnormal Psychology 
Study of the diagnosis, etiology, explanation, and treatment of major mental disorders. Focus is on understanding the interplay of biological and psychological forces in the development and treatment of disorders, with emphasis on research findings. Appropriate for first-year students and sophomores. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-305 Developmental Psychology 
Consideration of the major principles of maturation from conception to death. Critical evaluation of contemporary theories in physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Special attention to empirical, experimental, and theoretical literature related to the developmental process. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115).

PSY-385 Learning and Behavior 
Discussion of how behavior changes as a result of our experiences. The course focuses on roles of respondent and operant learning in the development and expression of adaptive and maladaptive behaviors and emotional responses. Students are provided opportunities to discover how learning principles are applied in contemporary behavior modification and behavior therapy. The role of learning is discussed in contexts such as health-related behaviors, sex and love, self-control, drug addiction, and psychological disorders. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSY-115) and sophomore standing.

*PSY-485 Drugs and Behavior 
Explores how psychoactive drugs affect the nervous system. Concepts particularly relevant to a wide variety of psychological, sociological, and health-related careers in which clients are commonly taking drugs, therapeutically or recreationally. Course focuses on factors that influence the variability of drug effects, including neural, pharmacological, and psychological mechanisms. Major topics include the problem and implications of categorizing drugs, basic neural function, principles of pharmacology, and physiological and psychological aspects of addiction. Selected psychotherapeutic drugs and legal and illegal drugs of abuse are surveyed. Prerequisite: Introduction to Biopsychology (PSY-225) or Experimental Human Physiology (BIO-255).

*PSY-525 Behavioral Neuroscience 
Further explores relationship between the nervous system and behavior begun in Introduction to Biopsychology (PSY-225). The course provides a more in-depth study of neural function and explores many new areas. Focuses on development of the nervous system, neural communication, neuroanatomy, hierarchical and parallel organization, neural plasticity, sensorimotor function, and neurohormonal influences on sexual development and behavior. Prerequisites: junior standing and either Introduction to Biopsychology (PSY-225) or Experimental Human Physiology (BIO-255).

PSY-565 Advanced Experimental Psychology 
A capstone course for students interested in conducting psychological research. Topics include legal and ethical responsibilities in psychological research, conducting literature reviews, research design, use of statistical software (e.g., SPSS and SAS), interpretation of statistical results, and clear communication and presentation of scientific information. Students also present their research findings in a public forum. S/U basis only. May be repeated for credit. Maximum of one course credit of Advanced Experimental Psychology may be counted toward the major. Prerequisites: Research Methods (PSY-200) and a declared major in psychology.

PSY-705 Seminar in Psychology 
Intensive study of a topic selected by the instructor. May be repeated for credit, provided the topics are substantially different. Prerequisites: Statistical Methods and Data Analysis (PSY-301) or consent of instructor.

 


 

Courses in Philosophy

PHL-245 Philosophy of Mind
An examination of the central issues in the philosophy of mind. The primary focus of this course is on the nature of consciousness and its relation to the physical processes of the body. Questions to be addressed include the following: are the mind and brain distinct entities? Does it make sense to think of the self as a unitary entity that underlies one‘s many experiences? In what sense, if any, do persons possess free will?