Neurobiology Option

The Neurobiology Option is closed for new major declarations. (Students interested in exploring or declaring the Neurobiology major should visit their website.)  For students who previously declared the option, requirements must be completed by Summer 2019.

In addition to fulfilling University and College (Agricultural & Life Sciences or Letters & Science) requirements, students must complete the following:

1. Mathematics

Math 171: Calculus with Algebra & Trigonometry I (5 cr) and Math 217: Calculus with Algebra & Trigonometry II (5 cr) OR Math 221: Calculus & Analytic Geometry I (5 cr)


Math 222: Calculus & Analytic Geometry 2 (4 cr) OR Stat 301: Intro to Statistical Methods (3 cr) OR Stat 371: Intro to Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences (3 cr)

2. Chemistry

a. General Chemistry
Chem 103 and 104: General Chemistry (4 cr, 5 cr) OR Chem 109: Advanced General Chemistry (5 cr)

b. Organic Chemistry
Chem 343: Intro Organic Chemistry (3 cr), Chem 344: Intro Organic Chemistry Lab (2 cr) and Chem 345: Intermediate Organic Chemistry (3 cr)

3. Physics

Physics 103 and 104: General Physics (4 cr each) OR Physics 201 and 202: General Physics (5 cr each) OR Physics 207 and 208: General Physics (5 cr each)

BIOLOGY COURSES The total number of credits in sections 4, 5, 6, and 7 must equal at least 31. Fulfilling minimum credits under each section does not guarantee reaching 31.

4. Introductory Biology. If you have an AP/IB Biology exam score of 4 or 5, you may be able to place out of some introductory courses.

Option A:

Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152: Intro Biology (5 cr each) plus one foundational course.

Option B:  Effective Fall 2017 (see FAQS  for previous policy)

Biocore 381: Evolution, Ecology & Genetics (3 cr)
Biocore 382: Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Lab (2 cr)
Biocore 383: Cellular Biology (3 cr)
Biocore 384: Cellular Biology Lab (2 cr)
Biocore 485: Organismal Biology (3 cr)

Biocore courses fulfill both introductory and foundational course requirements.

Option C:

Biology/Zoology 101: Animal Biology (3 cr), Biology/Zoology 102: Animal Biology Lab (2 cr), Biology/Botany 130: General Botany (5 cr) plus one foundational course.

Foundational Courses  A second course taken from this list will count toward the total credits required.

Genetics Biochemistry
Agronomy/Hort 338: Plant Breeding & Biotechnology Biochem 501: Introduction to Biochemistry
Genetics 466: Principles of Genetics Biochem 508: General Biochemistry II
Microbio 470: Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines
Genetics 468:  General Genetics II

5 .  Intermediate/advanced courses (13 cr minimum)

Required:  Psych/Zoology 523: Neurobiology and Psych 454: Behavioral Neuroscience

In addition, students must take a minimum of three category courses: one from “A”, one from “B” and one from “C” or “D”. The course(s) used to satisfy any category must be at least, or add up to, 2 credits. These courses must include one approved lab course from “A” through “F.” Additional courses taken from “A”-“F” can be taken to fulfill the 31 credit requirement.

A. Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology

B. Systems Neurobiology

C. Ecology

D. Evolution & Systematics

E. Applied Biology, Agriculture & Natural Resources

F. Other Lab Courses

In accumulating other biology credits toward the total credits required for their degree, students, in consultation with their advisors, will have the opportunity to take many biology electives of interest to them. Other courses may also be appropriate and can be approved on a case-by-case basis.

6.  Independent research or laboratory experience (2 cr minimum)

This requirement can be fulfilled with an approved laboratory course beyond that done for requirement 5. Two credits of directed study or research-based senior thesis in a biological science discipline can also count.  699 credits received simultaneously or prior to introductory biology (section 4 above), such as those received for Biology 152, cannot fulfill these requirements. Also, experiences that are focused on teaching assistance, even if the course number used is a 699 course, are not appropriate. With advisor approval, 699 courses can also fulfill the CALS requirement for a capstone experience. However, only a subset of the lab/field courses automatically fulfills the CALS requirement for a capstone experience. See capstone policy and list of approved courses

We expect that most students who choose to concentrate in neurobiology will be interested in an independent research experience in one of the many laboratories on campus. Indeed, we strongly urge all concentrators to do a senior thesis or independent research.

The credits taken for requirements 5 and 6 must equal at least 15 and satisfy college requirements for 15 course credits in the major in residence.

7.  Zoology 500: Undergrad Neurobiology Seminar (1 cr)

The seminar will give an orientation to the wide range of research questions in modern neurobiology at UW-Madison, as well as provide a weekly social gathering. This seminar is best taken in the second semester of the junior year or first semester of the senior year.