Major: Neuroscience
Related Majors & Minors:
 Biology and Psychology
Program Director: 
James D. Rowan, Professor of Psychology

The neuroscience program allow students to explore the nervous system and its contributions to human and animal behavior. Students in this program are encouraged to attain a solid understanding of the underlying concepts, to develop skills in experimental design and data analysis, to approach problems and tasks logically, creatively and critically, to become knowledgeable of theory used in the current literature, and to become proficient in using methodology commonly employed in research in neuroscience.

This program takes an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and integrates information from both biology and psychology. The neuroscience major or minor coupled with a major in biology or psychology provides an excellent background to pursue varied career opportunities. For information about specific courses offered, please see our Academic Catalogue.

Related Programs
Nearly 25 percent of graduates at Wesleyan double-major. Most students who minor in neuroscience complete a primary major in Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology. Training in biophysics is possible as part of the minor in Physics. Training in bioengineering is possible as part of the Applied Mathematical Science and Dual Degree in Engineering programs.

The Wesleyan College Neuroscience Program is a participating member of the national Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (ANDP) and Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN).

Over the last fifteen years, the Biology and Psychology Departments have acquired more than $800,000 in new instrumentation through federal grants and college expenditures. Of this amount, approximately $250,000 has been used to acquire specialized instrumentation for neuroscience education and student research. This modern instrumentation includes nine computer-controlled electrophysiological recording stations for intracellular and extracellular neural recording as well as multimodal physiological recording, micromanipulation and microinjection systems, two glass microelectrode pullers, a multichannel system for computerized spike-train extraction and analysis, ten rodent behavioral conditioning and monitoring stations interfaced to central stimulus presentation/data collection computers, and two stereotaxic stations for rodent surgery and electrode positioning.

Additional equipment applicable to neuroscience includes complete facilities for sterile tissue culture, phase-contrast and UV-fluorescence microscopy, digital video image analysis, protein and nucleic acid analysis, gas chromatograpy, UV/visible light and IR spectrophotometry, and a multi-species vivarium.

The Wesleyan College Arboretum and Wildlife Sanctuary includes a biologically diverse one hundred-acre wooded tract and five-acre lake bordering the campus. It provides potential field study sites for neuroethological research projects.

The Munroe Science Center, a dynamic new campus centerpiece, opened in August 2007. The new state-of-the-art science facility will serve an increasing number of Wesleyan students enrolled and majoring in one or more fields of science while also addressing the great need throughout our state and nation for women who are skilled in medicine, scientific research, computer technology, and mathematics. Through its eleven teaching laboratories and nine research laboratories, the new facility encourages faculty/student collaboration on research projects, contains interactive laboratories for specific experimentation, and offers individualized instruction in an environmentally efficient and safe setting.

State-of-the-art laboratories include cell biology, ecology, physiology, developmental biology, and instrumental analysis, as well as general biology, physics, and chemistry. While teaching laboratories serve as classrooms, a small seminar room and two technologically advanced classrooms also are used for instruction. Among its many specialty science spaces, the 42,000-square-foot facility includes an astronomy observation deck, a greenhouse, a multi-species vivarium, and a community learning center.

The Neuroscience Major consists of a minimum of 51 hours distributed as follows:
the following six introductory courses:
• BIO110 Principles of Biology I ............4 hours 
• BIO112 Principles of Biology II ............4 hours 
• CHM101 General Chemistry I ……… 4 hours
• CHM102 General Chemistry II ……….4 hours
• MAT 140 Precalculus ……..3 hours
• PSY101 General Psychology ...........3 hours

two of the following methodology courses:
• BIO203S Research Methods in Biology …..4 hours
• PSY220 Statistical Methods …..3 hours
• PSY230S Reading, Wring, and Review …..3 hours

both of the following neuroscience core courses:
• BIO/NSC325 Neurobiology …..4 hours
• PSY/NSC207 Physiological Psychology …..4 hours

two of the following biology context courses:
• BIO215 Functional Human Anatomy …4 hours
• BIO/NSC315 Animal Behavior ……4 hours
• BIO340 Physiology …..4 hours
• BIO/NSC Developmental Biology …..4 hours
• BIO396/397 Special topics in Biology …3-4 hours

two of the following psychology context courses:
• PSY260 Drugs and Behavior ….3 hours
• PSY/NSC310 Cognitive Psychology ….3 hours
• PSY/NSC314 Learniong and Memory …..4 hours
• PSY396/397 Special topics in Psychology …3-4 hours

one of the following capstone courses:
• BIO440 Senior Integrative Exercise …..2 hours
• PSY441 Senior Seminar:Research …..3 hours

The Neuroscience Minor consists of a minimum of 27 hours distributed as follows:

the following two introductory courses:
• BIO103 Human Biology or BIO110 Principles of Biology I ............4 hours 
• PSY101 General Psychology ...........3 hours

either the biology or the psychology pairs of courses:
• BIO112 Principles of Biology II and BIO230S Research Methods in Biology …8 hours
• PSY220 Statistical Methods, PSY230S Reading, Writing, and Review........6 hours 

the following two core neuroscience courses:
• BIO/NSC325 Neurobiology .................4 hours 
• PSY/NSC207 Physiological Psychology ...............4 hours 

two of the following elective context courses:
• BIO215 Functional Human Anatomy ..............4 hours 
• BIO/NSC315 Animal Behavior ..............4 hours 
• BIO 340 Physiology .................4 hours 
• BIO/NSC341 Developmental Biology ….4 hours
• PSY260 Drugs and Behavior ….3 hours
• PSY/NSC310 Cognitive Psychology ….3 hours
• PSY/NSC 314 Learning and Memory ...................4 hours 
• an approved special topics course (BIO 396, 397; PSY 396, 397) ..........3–4 hours

Directed laboratory research in the area of neurobiology (BIO 451 or 499) or neuropsychology (PSY 451 or 499) is strongly recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate study in neuroscience, psychobiology, or related biobehavioral disciplines.

Scholarships and Awards
Neuroscience students at Wesleyan may be supported by federal, state, and college scholarships, grants, and loans, as well as work-study monies administered by the Financial Aid Office.

The Wesleyan Scholars program supports academic scholarships awarded to student chosen by their regional high schools or college preparatory schools. 

The Munroe Scholarship Program supports special academic scholarships awarded by the college on a competitive basis. These provide tuition support, academic year research funds, and summer research stipends to outstanding natural science and mathematics students. Two Munroe Scholars are named each year from among incoming first-year presumptive biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering students and may continue to receive this financial support for all four years of their Wesleyan careers. The Munroe Endowment also provides competitive research support grants for students who are not in the Munroe Scholar program.

The Findlay Scholarship Program also supports special academic scholarships awarded by the college on a competitive basis. These provide tuition support, academic year research funds, and summer research stipends to outstanding students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences or in Humanities.

Special Opportunities
Special opportunities for research and instruction off-campus are available through both the Biology and Psychology Departments.

The Neuroscience Program at Wesleyan was developed in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education, in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's Department of Health and Human Services, and in part by funds from a gift by the Munroe family to the College in support of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Recent grants providing equipment in direct support of the Neuroscience Program include:

National Science Foundation
Program: CCLI - A&I
Grant: DUE9950546
Title: "Neuroscience at an undergraduate women's college: Implementing modern methodologies at the cellular, systems, and behavioral levels."
Project Director: Barry K. Rhoades
Award Dates: 8/99-7/01
Award Amount: $34,846 (including institutional matching funds)

Program: ILI
Grant: DUE9452613
Title: "Introduction of enhanced technologies for the experimentally based laboratory study of animal systems."
Project Director: Ronald B. Toll
Award Dates: 9/94-8/96
Award Amount: $79,778 (including institutional matching funds)

National Institutes of Health 
Program: EARDA
Grant: 1G11HD32814-03
Title: "Research infrastructure development at Wesleyan College: Phase 2."
Project Director: James D. Rowan, III
Award Dates: 7/98 - 6/02
Award Amount: $97,200

Program: EARDA
Grant: 1G11HD32814
Title: "Research infrastructure development at Wesleyan College."
Project Director: James D. Rowan, III
Award Dates: 7/96 - 6/98
Award Amount: $109,000

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Program: NASA Education Program
Grant: NNG04GK94G
Title: "The Munroe Science Center: Improving physical and curricular infrastructure at Wesleyan College"
Project Directors: Keith L. Peterson, Holly L. Boettger-Tong, Barry K. Rhoades
Award Dates: 8/04-7/05
Award Amount: $981,000

Thrower Family of Georgia
Grant for updating neurobiology instrumentation
Award Date: 8/10
Award Amount: $30,800

Post-graduate Outcomes
The neuroscience program provides students with a solid foundation in the multifaceted fields of biological and behavioral sciences. It is ideal for students planning to enter post-baccalaureate programs or careers that require a broad base of scientific knowledge. Wesleyan alumnae are currently studying at the graduate level in science related areas, working in government and industry, and teaching high school or college science. Equipped with a strong liberal arts background, many graduates combine a science foundation with other unexpected academic disciplines and succeed in a wide array of professional pursuits. Of the Wesleyan science majors who graduated in the past five years, eighteen percent immediately secured work in a field related to their undergraduate degree while eighty-two percent pursued graduate or professional school.

You will find recent Wesleyan neuroscience graduates pursuing post baccalaureate degrees in science related fields at countless prestigious institutions across the world including Washington University, The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Clemson University, The University of Texas (Houston) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M, The University of Georgia, Northwestern University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Duke University School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia Dental School, University of California Veterinary School, University of Georgia Veterinary School, and the University of the West Indies Veterinary School.


Holly Boettger-TongHolly L. Boettger-Tong Associate Professor of Biology and Center for Women in Science and Technology Director. B.S. (Biology) St. Louis University 1986; M.S. (Biology) University of Alabama at Birmingham 1988; Ph.D. (Biology) University of Alabama at Birmingham 1992. My lab uses both in vitro and in vivo model systems to analyze the molecular mechanisms which control female reproductive tract cellular proliferation. In addition, I am interested in the role of the retinoic acid signaling pathway as it influences early vertebrate embryo development. MSC 110.

James RowanJames D. Rowan Professor of Psychology. B.A. (Biology and Psychology) Malone College, 1988; M.A. (Experimental Psychology) Kent State University 1990: Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology with Biopsychology Concentration) Kent State University 1993. My area of interest is comparative cognition, more specifically, how humans and animals learn lists of information. I am also interested in the effects of early exposure to drugs on list learning in adulthood. MSC 108.

Barry RhoadesBarry K. Rhoades Professor of Biology. B.A. (Psychology) Colorado College 1976; A.M. (Biopsychology) University of Chicago 1981; Ph.D. (Physiology) University of California at Berkeley 1990. My primary interests include physiology of the sense of smell in mammals, modeling and analyzing neural network interactions, behavioral ecology of reptiles and amphibians, and electronic and computer simulations for teaching neuroscience and animal behavior. MSC 106.