Neurobiology

Neurobiology is the science of how nervous systems organize behavior. Neuroscientists explore phenomena on vastly different scales from molecules to societies by studying individual nerve cells, connections and circuitry among neurons, and the function of the brain. The only prerequisite for students considering a secondary field in Neurobiology is an intense curiosity about how the brain works. The typical curriculum begins with a foundation course in the life sciences or an introductory course called “Neurobiology of Behavior" that lays out the corpus of knowledge and how it connects to other disciplines. In elective courses, students explore specific areas more deeply. Neuroscience is also one of the most vibrant fields of research at Harvard.

Requirements: 5 half-courses

  1. Life Sciences 1a or Life and Physical Sciences A

  2. Molecular and Cellular Biology 80

  3. Two advanced half courses in neurobiology. These courses must be chosen from a list of approved courses maintained on the concentration's website.

  4. An additional advanced half-course in neurobiology OR one of the following courses from the restricted electives list: Life Sciences 1b, Molecular and Cellular Biology 52, Molecular and Cellular Biology 54, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 57.

Other Information

Students may take MCB 80 or Life Sciences 1a in either order. MCB 80 does not have any college prerequisites and is open to students with high school level training in chemistry and biology. However, students must take both MCB 80 and LS 1a before enrolling in the advanced neurobiology courses. Only one course from the restricted electives list may be applied to the secondary field. Neurobiology tutorials designated as Neurobiology 95hf are considered advanced neurobiology courses. Ordinarily, only one tutorial course may be counted toward the secondary field. Also, students enrolling in Life Sciences 100r must complete the Neurobiology project and may only take the course once for secondary field credit.

All courses in the secondary field must be taken for a letter grade and students must earn a grade of C- or better in each course. Freshman Seminars may not be included for credit. Ordinarily, Harvard Summer School courses may not count towards secondary field credit. Courses taken through study abroad programs may be counted for credit in the concentration by petition. Courses taken at other Harvard faculties (e.g. Harvard Medical School) may count for the secondary field by petition or if the course is one of the approved advanced neurobiology courses. With the exception of the tutorials/seminars and laboratories, none of our courses have a limited enrollment.

Advising Resources and Expectations

Students intending to pursue the secondary field in Neurobiology should notify the concentration using the secondary fields web tool so that their name and contact information can be forwarded to the concentration. After completing the requirements for the secondary field, students are required to meet with Dr. Tamily Weissman, the concentration adviser, in order to confirm that the courses they have taken count for credit towards the Neurobiology secondary field. Prior to completing the required courses, students are welcome to meet with Dr. Weissman as needed, and are encouraged to meet with her upon completing the introductory courses in order to select appropriate advanced courses.

Questions about the secondary field in Neurobiology should be addressed to Dr. Tamily Weissman (BioLabs Room 1082a, 16 Divinity Ave., 617-496-9908, tamily@mcb.harvard.edu) or Professor John Dowling, head tutor for the Neurobiology Concentration (BioLabs Room 2081, 16 Divinity Ave., 617- 495-2245). Dr. Weissman or Professor Dowling may sign the final form for secondary field credit.