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Bachelor of Science majoring in Neuroscience

Overview

While studying towards a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Neuroscience you will learn about nervous systems. This includes human and animal brains, neural structures, neural function and the relationships between neural activity, behaviour and mental processes.

The BSc is made up of 20 papers. Six of these papers are required and seven are optional (from prescribed lists). You can choose the remaining seven papers from any department of the University, as long as at least three of them are science papers and at least two are above 100-level.

Diagram of the major subject requirements for the BSc majoring in Neuroscience (PDF)

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Programme Requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Neuroscience

Level Papers Points
100-level

CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology

HUBS 191  Human Body Systems 1

PSYC 111  Brain and Behaviour

either CHEM 191 or PHSI 191

one further paper from BIOC 192, BIOL 112, or HUBS 192, CHEM 191, PHSI 191

Note: CELS 191, HUBS 191, and CHEM 191 and/or PHSI 191 should be taken in the first year of study to ensure unimpeded progress through the major subject requirements.

18

18

18

18

18

200-level

ANAT 242  Neurobiology

PHSL 231  Neurophysiology

PSYC 211  Brain and Cognition

One of:
BIOC 221  Molecular Biology
BIOC 223  Cellular Biochemistry and Metabolism
GENE 221  Molecular and Microbial Genetics
GENE 222  Genes, Chromosomes and Populations
PHAL 211  Introductory Pharmacology
ZOOL 223  Animal Physiology

18

18

18

18

300-level

Four of:
ANAT 332 (taken in 2019), ANAT 335, ANAT 336, NEUR 302, NEUR 303, PHAL 303, PHSL 341, PHSL 342, PSYC 313, PSYC 317, PSYC 319 (taken in 2017 or 2019), PSYC 323, ZOOL 314,

Note: No more than three 300-level PSYC papers may count towards the major subject requirements.

72
Plus

126 further points; must include 36 points at 200-level or above

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

126
Total   360

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FAQs

I'll be a first year student next year, what papers should I enrol in?

There are three required 100-level papers in the Neuroscience major. You must also include two 100-level papers from a list of optional papers (though many students include more than two of these papers).

To increase your options at 200-level, we recommend enrolling in the following papers in your first year:

  • CELS 191
  • HUBS 191
  • PSYC 111 (this paper can also be taken in your second year)
  • CHEM 191

Note that you need to pass CELS 191, HUBS 191, and one of CHEM 191 or PHSI 191 (all semester one papers), before you can take the 200 level required papers PHSL 231 (semester one) and ANAT 242. If you do not want to take four papers in your first semester of study you can take PSYC 111 in the first semester of your second year. This is quite common and is in time for you to take PSYC 211, also a required paper, in the second semester of your second year.

The Department of Chemistry recommends that before enrolling in CHEM 191 students should have at least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry (or equivalent). If you do not have 14 credits, it is recommended that you prepare for CHEM 191 by taking the Introductory Chemistry course and/or CHEM 150 Concepts in Chemistry paper offered by the Department of Chemistry.

Introductory Chemistry (Department of Chemistry website) Note that this course is taught by distance and is not for credit.

CHEM 150 (Department of Chemistry website) Note that this paper is taught in the Summer School. The first four weeks are taught, and assessed, entirely online. The last two weeks comprise lectures/tutorials and laboratory classes that will run all day on the Dunedin campus.

Which other papers should I study?

In a BSc majoring in Neuroscience, six papers are compulsory, seven further papers must come from a list of optional papers, and the remaining seven papers that make up your degree can be in any subject, though no more than five can be non-science papers.

If you are wondering what papers to choose in addition to the 13 papers that you need for your Neuroscience major, the answer depends on your specific interests. You could study any papers offered by the University that you think would be interesting. If you want to choose papers which are within the broad field of Neuroscience, some suggestions follow. Keep in mind that, in each case, you still need to ensure you meet the paper’s entry prerequisites, and you still need to ensure that your chosen papers can be satisfactorily timetabled.

Depending on your prior experience, you may like to consider Jump Start Physics, Bridging Chemistry, or CHEM 150 as preliminary introductory courses. If you would like to improve your ability to read, write, or communicate in English at university level, you might consider including ENGL 126, 127, or 128.

For those planning to undertake postgraduate study in any area of Neuroscience, the following undergraduate papers would help you with experimental design and analysis: COMO 101, STAT110, STAT 115, PSYC 210, PSYC 311

If you are interested in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, you might think of including some of these papers in your study program: CHEM 191, BIOC 192, STAT 110, STAT 115, BIOC 221, BIOC 222, BIOC 223, GENE 221, GENE 222, GENE 223, PHAL 211, ANAT 332, ANAT 335, BIOC 352, BIOC 353, GENE 314, PHAL 303, PHSL 341, PHSL 342

If you are interested in Comparative and Evolutionary Neuroscience, you might think of including some of these papers in your study program: BIOL 112, HUBS 192, STAT 110, STAT 115, ZOOL 222, ZOOL 223, PSYC 319, ZOOL 314

If you are interested in Computer modelling & Neural Networks in Neuroscience, you might think of including some of these papers in your study program: COMO 101, COMP 150/160, COMO 204, STAT 110, STAT 115, ZOOL 314, ZOOL 316, (postgraduate only: COSC 420, 421, 422)

If you are interested in Behavioural Neuroscience, you might think of including some of these papers in your study program: PSYC 112, STAT 110, STAT 115, PSYC 210, PSYC 211, PSYC 212, PSYC 311, PSYC 313, PSYC 317, PSYC 318, PSYC 323

If you are interested in Human Movement Neuroscience, you might think of including some of these papers in your study program: STAT 110, STAT115, PHSE202, PHSE304, PHSL341

If you have a particular interest in drug interactions in the nervous system you might include papers in Pharmacology: PHAL 211, PHAL 303

If you have a particular interest in Ethics in Neuroscience you might include papers in Bioethics: BITC 201, BITC 301

If you are interested in Structural, Functional, or Developmental Neuroscience, you should consider including papers in Anatomy and Physiology: ANAT 243, ANAT 334, ANAT 335, ANAT 336, PHSL 341, PHSL 342

If you have a particular interest in Neural imaging you might include papers in Physics or Neuromodulation: PHSI 191, PHSI 132, PHSI 232, NEUR 463 (postgraduate only)

Papers focused on Clinical and Applied Neuroscience are offered at 400-level: NEUR 452, NEUR 459, NEUR 461, NEUR 463, PHSL 472

What should I do if I'm interested in studying medicine?

If you're interested in medicine, you should enrol in Health Sciences First Year (HSFY). You can decide at a later point if you want to change your degree to a BSc majoring in neuroscience.

The Health Sciences First Year programme includes all of the 100-level papers required for a BSc majoring in Neuroscience, except PSYC 111. It is quite common for neuroscience students to take PSYC 111 in Semester One of their second year. (The follow-on paper, PSYC 211, is available in Semester Two.)

How do I apply?

You need to register online. The programme is Bachelor of Science (BSc) and the major is Neuroscience.

Apply now

What subjects should I take at secondary school?

You should study Chemistry to Year 13.

One of the recommended papers for a BSc majoring in neuroscience is CHEM 191. The Department of Chemistry recommends that before enrolling in CHEM 191 students should have at least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry (or equivalent). If you do not have 14 credits, it is recommended that you prepare for CHEM 191 by taking the Introductory Chemistry course and/or CHEM 150 Concepts in Chemistry paper offered by the Department of Chemistry.

Introductory Chemistry (Department of Chemistry website) Note that this course is taught by distance and is not for credit.

CHEM 150 (Department of Chemistry website) Note that this paper is taught in the Summer School. The first four weeks are taught, and assessed, entirely online. The last two weeks comprise lectures/tutorials and laboratory classes that will run all day on the Dunedin campus.

I want to study an honours degree

A Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) at Otago is a one-year 400-level qualification. You can apply for the honours degree after finishing your BSc.

To be eligible, your BSc must have included the five 300-level papers required for the Neuroscience major, or four of these papers plus NEUR 301 Current Topics in Neuroscience.

You must also meet grade requirements.

More information about the BSc(Hons) majoring in neuroscience

What job will I do if I get a BSc majoring in Neuroscience?

A BSc majoring in Neuroscience is the first step towards becoming a neuroscientist.

Students who go on to complete an MSc or PhD in Neuroscience are sought-after for research positions in academic and industrial settings such as universities, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies. They research how the brain and the rest of the nervous system work, and investigate disorders and diseases of the nervous system, and ways of treating them.

Some students graduate with a BSc, BSc(Hons), or PGDipSci, and embark on careers as laboratory technicians, research assistants, research managers, or policy analysts.

Others go on to further study in professional fields such as audiology or medicine.

Will I be able to get a scholarship?

The University of Otago website has information about all available scholarships.

Can I work in a Neuroscience lab over the summer?

It may be possible for you to work in a Neuroscience laboratory over the summer at the end of your second or third year. This is a great way to get insight into Neuroscience research and learn research techniques.

You will need to find a neuroscientist to supervise your research. They may also be able to advise you of any scholarships available in their department.

Health Sciences Summer Research Scholarships aso available.

How to find a supervisor
Health Sciences Summer Research Scholarships (Division of Health Sciences website)

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