Director: M.A. Fox
Professor: H. Sontheimer
Associate Professors: M. A. Cline, S. M. Clinton, E. R. Gilbert, and M. L. Olsen
Assistant Professors: J.M. Bowers, M. Buczynski, S. Campbell, D. English, A. Gregus, G. Hodes, M. Howe, T. Jarome, I. Kimbrough, L. Ni, K. Phillips, A. Pickrell, S. Robel, K. Sewall, C. Thompson, and S. Vijayan
Affiliated Faculty: L. Apfel, S. Ball, M. A. Bell, L. Bergamasco, A.S. Bertke, D. Bevan, W. Bickel, R. Blieszner, G. Cao, P. Carlier, A. Cate, J. Chappell, P. Chiu, , B. Corl, B. Costa, R. Davalos, S. DeLuca, M. Denbow, N. Dervisis, R. Diana, A.G. DiFeliceantonio, H. Dorn, , S. Farris, X. Feng, C. Finkielstein, C. Frank, J. Fraser, M. Friedlander, B. Friedman, D. Good, R. Gourdie, D. Harrison, G. Howes, R. Jensen, X. Jia, B. Johnson, J. Jones, B. S. Jortner, D. Kelly, B. King-Casas, B. Klein, S. Kojima, S. Laconte, Y. W. Lee, L. Li, C. Logan, E. Marvin,, T. Milam, R. Montague, I. Moore, A. Morozov, K. Mukherjee, N. Nanthakumar, M. Orr, R. Panneton, B. Patel, J. Phillips, J. Prickett, S. Ramey, K. Roberto, C. Rogers, J. Rossmeisl Jr., W. Santos, A. Scarpa, Z. Sheng, G. Simonds, D. J. Slade, A. Smith, M. Theus, P. VandeVord, S. Verbridge, E. Weaver, M. Witcher, C. Wyatt, D. Xie, B. Xu, and D. Zallen
Instructors: Z. Fu and D. McDaniel
Undergraduate Advisor: S. Bechtel and M. Sabbagh
The Neuroscience degree draws on faculty and resources from many departments across the campus including but not limited to Animal & Poultry Science, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology and Statistics. Graduates of this interdisciplinary program will be proficient in integrating neurogenetics, cellular and molecular neuroscience, neurophysiology, cognitive, computational and systems neuroscience.
The Neuroscience B.S. promotes the advancement and integration of knowledge about the brain and the entire central nervous system, and how they react to and are affected by the vast milieu of stimuli they encounter. The degree program is built on collaborative work and education of students in the classroom, and on the student interactions with researchers and practitioners, providing an unparalleled breadth of neuroscience education at the undergraduate level.
The graduation requirements in effect during the academic year of admission to Virginia Tech apply. Requirements for graduation are listed on checksheets. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion. The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html for degree requirements.
- Neuroscience B.S. Clinical Neuroscience (CNEU)
- Neuroscience B.S. Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNU)
- Neuroscience B.S. Computational and Systems Neuroscience (CSNU)
- Neuroscience B.S. Experimental Neuroscience (CNEU)
Transfer students should contact the department early, preferably one full semester prior to entrance. This procedure will allow a thorough evaluation of transfer credits and correct placement.
University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see "Academics") and toward the degree.
Satisfactory progress requirements toward the B.S. in Neuroscience can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html.
Undergraduate Course Descriptions (NEUR)
1004: NEUROSCIENCE ORIENTATION SEMINAR An introduction to the field of neuroscience, and academic and career planning for neuroscience majors. Exposure to areas of practice and research, and opportunities for education, training and employment in this field. (1H,1C)
1984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2014H: HONORS FUNDAMENTALS OF NEUROSCIENCE Fundamental concepts in neuroscience including nervous system organization, signaling within neurons and across synapses, sensory and motor systems, emotion, memory, and language. Major neurological disorders and animal models used in neuroscience. Restricted to non-neuroscience majors in the Honors College. Pre: BIOL 1105. (3H,3C)
2025-2026 (APSC 2025-2026): INTRODUCTION TO NEUROSCIENCE Introduction to the fundamental principles of neuroscience. 2025: Structure and function of central nervous system in humans and other animals, signal processing and transmission, development of neural and brain circuits, encoding and transmission of sensory and perceptual information, motor control/movement. 2026: Complex brain processes including learning, memory, emotion, decision making, social behavior, and mental and functioning. Pre: BIOL 1005 or BIOL 1105 or ISC 1106H for 2025; 2025 for 2026. (3H,3C)
2035-2036: NEUROSCIENCE LABORATORY Organization and function of the nervous system. 2035: neuroanatomy, microscopy, intracellular stimulation, extracellular recording, electrophysiology, neurotransmitters, and neuroplasticity. 2036: receptive field, sensation and perception, motor system, simple neural circuitry, neuroendocrine and higher level cognitive processes. Co: 2025 for 2035; 2026 for 2036. (3L,1C)
2464: NEUROSCIENCE AND SOCIETY Social, ethical, and legal issues faced by human societies from the perspective of neuroscience. Broader questions about how neuroscience informs education, medicine, law, and public health. Research in neuroscience as it relates to issues of mental health, poverty, stress, and politics. (3H,3C)
2554: EXPERIMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE Introduction to the conceptual framework of contemporary experimental methods and practices in neuroscience research. Exploration of experimental techniques including electrophysiology, advanced imaging, immunohistochemistry, transgenic animal models, and behavioral assays. Includes face-to-face interaction with various research faculty to explore research methods in practice and discuss current research and expertise. Pre: 2025, 2035. (3H,3C)
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.
3044: CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR NEUROSCIENCE Fundamental principles of cellular and molecular neuroscience. Methods to study neurochemisty and neurobiology, theoretical and practical issues of relating cellular/molecular structures and functions to higher-level nervous system functioning, and current understanding of cellular/molecular bases of nervous system disorders. Pre: 2026, (CHEM 1036 or ISC 2105). (3H,3C)
3064: EDUCATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE The conceptual framework of neuroscience of learning and instruction. Methods for studying mind and brain functions and their role in academic success and failure in educational settings. Theoretical and practical issues regarding pedagogy and assessment. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3084: COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Concepts in cognitive neuroscience. Methods available to study brain and nervous system function, theoretical and practical issues of relating mental functions to biological brain functions. Overview of current understanding of the neural bases of various mental functions (e.g., memory, attention, emotion, decision making). Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3144: MECHANISMS OF LEARNING AND MEMORY Foundation of social interactions in human and non-human: ability to learn and memorize locations, situations, individuals, facts and tasks forms. Cellular and molecular mechanism underlying learning and memory and model systems. Approaches to these processes along with diseases presenting with learning and memory deficits in humans. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3234: THE ARTIFICIAL BRAIN Introduction to brain-machine interactions and computer models of neural systems. Exploration of brain-computer interface applications, biophysically-based computational models of the brain, and computer neural networks in the context of artificial intelligence. Emphasis on the capabilities and limitations of neural networks and how they inform our understanding of the human brain. Discussion of societal impact and ethical considerations. Pre: 2026, (MATH 1026 or MATH 1226). (3H,3C)
3554: NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH AND PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE Integration of the interdisciplinary fields of neuroscience: includes the conceptual frameworks and theories of neuroscience spanning molecules to behavior, the methods available to study nervous system structure and function from molecules to behavior, theoretical and practical issues of linking these lower-levels structures and processes to higher-level neurological and psychological functions, and the latest applications and technologies for translating neuroscience into more effective interventions and treatments. Practical experience includes literature review research and writing, data analysis and interpretation, written and oral presentation, and site-specific training. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3594: NEUROBIOLOGY OF PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS Neurobiological and clinical aspects of psychiatry. Overview of disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, addiction, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neurobiology of emotional behavior. Clinical perspectives of psychiatric treatment, interventional psychiatry, and cross-disciplinary approaches to psychiatry. Underlying pathophysiology of a variety of psychiatric disorders. Neuropharmacology of commonly used psychiatric medications. Ethical issues related to psychiatric care. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3774: NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY Comprehensive survey of the interrelationships between human neural and endocrine systems. Regulatory mechanisms for neural control of hormone secretions, peripheral hormone action on physiological processes, and hormonal influences on behavior. Pre: 2025. (3H,3C)
3844: COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE AND NEURAL ENGINEERING Introduction to computational and systems neuroscience. Data analysis and signal processing techniques for neural data. Neural modeling to include mean field models, Hodgkin-Huxley models, integrate and fire models. Neural engineering and brain machine interface (BMI) applications. Pre: MATH 1226. (3H,3C)
3914: NEUROSCIENCE OF DRUG ADDICTION History of addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease. Neurocircuitry and molecular basis of the brain affected by common drugs of abuse. Overview of the use, abuse, liability, and psychotherapeutic effects of drugs on humans. Common classes of drug abuse: alcohol, sedatives, tobacco/ nicotine, opiods, cannabinoids, psychostimulants, psychedelics, steroids, anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Animal models in drug addiction studies. Current and future pharmacotherapeutics for drug addiction treatment and ethical considerations of treatments. Pre: 2025, 2026. (3H,3C)
3944: WAR AND THE BRAIN Neurological and psychological factors associated with military and war. Neuroscientific basis of decision making, mental resilience, and cognitive enhancement. Etiology and treatment of brain injuries sustained during war including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and chemical warfare. Neurotechnological advances that shape soldiers and warfare. Ethical considerations of "militarization" of neuroscience. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
3984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4034: DISEASES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM Common brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders ranging from trauma to autism. Genetic, molecules and cellular changes in disease. Therapeutic implications and development of novel drugs. Challenges in drug discovery and implementation of personalized medicine. Ethical issues regarding genetic findings. Pre: 2026, 3044. (3H,3C)
4044: NEUROSCIENCE SENIOR SEMINAR Integration of methods and results from cutting-edge interdisciplinary neuroscience research; theoretical and practical issues when linking molecular/cellular structures and processes to higher-level neurological and psychological functions. May be repeated twice with different content for a maximum of 9 credits. Pre: 3044 or 3084. (3H,3C)
4084: DEVELOPMENTAL COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Concepts in developmental cognitive neuroscience. Methods available to study development of brain and nervous system function. Relating developmental change in mental functions to development of biological brain functions. Advancements in research and practice regarding developmental basis of neurological and mental functions (e.g., memory, attention, emotion). Pre: 3084. (3H,3C)
4314: GENETICS IN NEUROSCIENCE Concepts of classical, modern genetics and epigenetics as it relates to neuroscience. Practical applications including genome-wide association (GWAS), next-generation sequencing, epigenetics, genome editing and screening methods. Use of model organisms in neurogenetic disorders research. Relationship of genetics and its influences on theoretical and practical issues in neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders. Personalized medicine in neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic disorders. Pre: 3044. (3H,3C)
4364: NEUROSCIENCE OF LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION DISORDERS Concepts of language as distinctive human behavior and central to social life. Neural underpinnings of humans’ ability to speak and understand language. Neurologic processing of language comprehension and production in healthy and language-impaired individuals. Auditory and visual word recognition, reading, understanding speech, representation of word meaning, language production, and bilingualism. Neuroethology of communication and neurological disorders of communication: dyslexia, stuttering, and aphasia. Theoretical issues in language processing and converging evidence from different techniques and animal models addressing these issues. Pre: 3044 or 3084. (3H,3C)
4454 (ECON 4454) (PSYC 4454): NEUROECONOMICS Neural processes related to reward, learning, reflection, delay of gratification, and social interaction. Clinical uses of neuroeconomics research techniques. Implications of neuroeconomics in economics, policy, law and business. Pre: 2026 or ECON 3104. (3H,3C)
4514: NEUROIMMUNOLOGY IN HEALTH AND DISEASE Immune system and its role in neurological health and psychiatric and neurological disorders. Details of cell type, functions and signaling of the peripheral and central immune system and sympathetic nervous system. Cross-talk between the brain and immune system across the blood brain barrier and circumventricular organs. Neurobiological basis and treatment options for autoimmune diseases. Role of immune system in psychiatric illness. Pre: 3044. (3H,3C)
4544: SYNAPTIC STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION Synapse morphology and function, central versus peripheral synapses, site of action of many therapeutic drugs and substances of abuse, synaptic pruning and failure. Changes in synaptic structure and function during development and in diseases. Pre: 2026. (3H,3C)
4594: CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE IN PRACTICE Clinical approaches to diagnose and treat neurological disorders. Diseases include stroke, trauma, brain tumors, psychiatric illnesses, and epilepsy. Clinical experience includes diagnostic procedures, radiological techniques, and surgical procedures in operating room. Patient rounding, follow-up, and outcomes. Medical emergencies and appropriate professional responses. Ethical issues regarding health care, disparity, life and death decisions. Medical profession exploration. Pre: 4034. (3H,3C)
4814: NUTRITIONAL NEUROSCIENCE Concepts in nutritional aspects of neuroscience. Energy metabolism in central nervous system and brain regulating ingestive behavior. Communication with peripheral organs, regulation of whole body energy homeostasis, brain physiology and pathology on molecular and cellular level. Role of appetite neurocircuitry in formulation of practical solutions to societal problems such as nutrition, eating disorders, and obesity. Pre: 3044. (3H,3C)
4914: DRUG DEVELOPMENT IN NEUROSCIENCE Current approaches and pitfalls for developing therapeutics for treating disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Theoretical issues and practical applications targeting identification, high-throughput screening, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, preclinical testing, clinical trials, and the FDA approval process. Ethical implications for drug development and testing. Pre: 3044 or 3914. (3H,3C)
4964: FIELD WORK Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH COURSE FEE $30. Variable credit course.
4994H: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.