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Neuroscience Program

Hope College offers an interdisciplinary minor program in neuroscience that is open to all students at Hope College.  Neuroscience is one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields of study, combining biology, chemistry, computer science, psychology, physics, mathematics, and philosophy. The neuroscience program at Hope College is founded on one of its greatest strengths, its research program, and promotes the process of discovery and inquiry-based learning. The program is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. Students will obtain an understanding of the fundamental principles of neuroscience.
  2. Students will obtain an appreciation/understanding of the interdisciplinary aspect of neuroscience.
  3. Students will be able to develop hypotheses, design experiments, carry on these experiments and interpret data for a question related to a neuroscience problem.
  4. Students will discuss ethical issues related to scientific research.
  5. Students will be able to access, read and gain insight from reading the primary neuroscience literature.

The neuroscience minor is structured on the existing disciplinary course infrastructures, thus allowing students to tailor their own specialized program to match their interests. The minor consists of a total of 23 credit hours, including three core neuroscience courses listed below and flagged courses from multiple disciplines.

The core courses will consist of:

  • NSCI 211 Introduction to Neuroscience: a sophomore-level introductory course and lab (4 credits)
  • NSCI 411 Advanced Neuroscience Research I: a junior/senior-level capstone research course (4 credits)
  • NSCI 412 Advanced Neuroscience Research II: a junior/senior-level capstone writing course (3 credits)
In addition to the core courses, students are required to take 12 credits of flagged courses, only 8 of which may be taken in the student’s major department and satisfy the requirements for the student’s major. These courses include:

BIO 221 Human Physiology (4)
BIO 335 Neurochemistry and Disease (4)
BIO 348 Advanced Topics in Cell Biology (4)
BIO 355 Embryology (4)
BIO 370 Animal Behavior (4)
BIO 442 Advanced Topics in Animal Physiology (4)


CHEM 335 Neurochemistry and Disease (4)


ENGS 140 Introduction to Electrical Circuits (2)
ENGS 240 Electrical Circuits (2)
ENGS 351 Signal 'analysis and Communications (3)


MATH 395 Mathematical Biology (4) in years when Neuroscience is in the syllabus


PHIL 325 Philosophy of Mind (4)
PHIL 360 Philosophy of Science (4)



PSY 310 Practical Aspects of Memory (4)
PSY 320 Physiological Psychology (4)
PSY 340 Cognitive Psychology (4)
PSY 370 Behavior Disorders (4)
PSY 395 Learning and Learning Strategies (4)


NURS 320 Pathophysiology (4)
NURS 325 Psychiatric Mental Health Theory and Practicum (3)

Important Considerations:

  • Students with majors outside of psychology are strongly encouraged to take PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology to fulfill their Social Science I General Education Requirement. This class will prepare them for the upper-level flagged courses offered through the psychology department.
  • Students with 1) majors outside of biology and 2) who are interested in taking a flagged course in biology are strongly encouraged to take BIO 221 Human Physiology.
  • Students can receive credit for taking BIO 221 or BIO 442, but not for both classes
  • Students must take NSCI 411 and NSCI 412 in the same academic year
  • Students should attempt to take as many of their flagged courses as possible prior to enrolling in NSCI 411.

211. Introduction to Neuroscience -- An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience that explores concepts fundamental to the field. After an initial overview of the field of neuroscience and a philosophical reflection on the mind, students will learn the basics of molecular, cellular, anatomical, and systems neuroscience. Students will then explore more complex behavior and cognitive topics including motivation and reward, memory, learning, attention, language and consciousness. Three, 1-hour class sessions and one, 3-hour laboratory/discussion section each week. Prerequisites: none.
Four Credits     Barney, Chase, Fraley, Ludwig, Schmidt      Spring Semester

411. Advanced Neuroscience Research I -- This is an interdisciplinary course in which students with different academic majors work together as a team to complete a self-designed neuroscience research project. The project will be directly related to a general neuroscience theme which will be chosen by the instructor(s). This course serves as the capstone course in the neuroscience minor program where students are expected to integrate and apply their knowledge and experimental expertise to complete their project. One, 3-hour lab session and three, 1-hour consulting/planning sessions per week. Prerequisites: NSCI 211 or permission of instructor.
Four Credits     Neuroscience Staff     Fall Semester

412. Advanced Neuroscience Research II -- This is the second in a series of two capstone research courses in which students with different academic majors work together in 4-6 member teams to complete a self-designed neuroscience research project. In this course, student groups write a formal, scientific journal-style manuscript which summarizes their research project that was completed in the previous course. three, 1-hour discussion sessions per week. Prerequisite: NSCI 411.
Three Credits     Neuroscience Staff     Spring Semester