Major Requirements

Requirements for the Neuroscience Major

Lower Division Prerequisites (taken in Years 1-2)

Required courses (8 courses)

  • Chem 1A + 1AL: General Chemistry and Lab, 3 + 2 units, offered Fa, Sp, Su
  • Bio 1A + 1AL: General Biology and Lab, 3 + 2 units, offered Fa, Sp, Su 
  • Physics 8A and 8B: Introductory Physics, 4 + 4 units, offered Fa, Sp, Su
  • Math 10A-10B: Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics, 4 units each, 10A only offered in Fall, 10B only offered in spring or 1A-1B: Calculus, 4 units each, offered Fa, Sp, Su 

Test Scores:

The following AP, IB, or A-level test scores can fulfill lower division requirements:

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams:

  • AP Calculus AB with a score of 3, 4, or 5 satisfies Math 1A. 
  • AP Calculus BC with a score of 3 or 4 satisfies Math 1A.
  • AP Calculus BC with a score of 5 satisfies Math 1A and Math 1B. 
  • AP Chemistry with a score of 4 or 5 satisfies Chem 1A/1AL
  • AP Biology with a score of 4 or 5 satisfies Bio 1A/1AL
  • AP Physics C Mechanics with a score of 4 or 5 satisfies Physics 8A
  • AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism with a score of 5 satisfies Physics 8B

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams:

  • Chemistry with a score of 5 or above satisfies Chem 1A/1AL
  • HL Math Analysis & Approaches with a score of 5, 6, or 7 satisfies Math 1A, score of 7 for Math 1A and Math 1B
  • HL Applications & Interpretation with score of 6 or 7 satisfies Math 10A

A-Level Courses:

  • Chemistry with an A satisfies Chem 1A/1AL
  • Biology with an A satisfies Bio 1A/1AL

Recommended course

  • Data C8, Stat 2, Stat 20, CS 10 or related. 
    A data science, statistics, or programming class, will provide data and computational literacy that is useful in understanding the scientific process and the computational principles of brain function.

Tier 2 Core Neuroscience Course Sequence (2 courses; taken in Year 2 or 3)

NEU 100A: Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, 4 units, fall only
NEU 100B: Systems & Cognitive Neuroscience, 4 units, spring only

This two-semester core course sequence, Neuro 100A-100B, will span molecular, cellular, circuit-systems, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience. Students who know their interest early can take 100A-100B in Year 2, following partial completion of the lower division prerequisites.

Scientific Communication Course (1 course; taken in Year 3)

NEU 110: Scientific Communication, 2 units, Fall and Spring, first offered Spring 2025

This course will use active learning to teach skills for organizing and presenting scientific ideas and evidence, both verbally and in writing.

Lab Course (choose 1 course; either Year 3 or Year 4)

Students will choose one lab course that matches their interests.

NEU 171L - Neurobiology Lab, 4 units, Fall only
NEU 172L - Cognitive/Computation Lab, 4 units
NEU 173L - Neuroanatomy Lab, 4 units, Spring only

Tier 3 Elective Courses (choose 3 courses, or 2 + capstone; either Year 3 or Year 4)

The full list of these courses is not currently complete but will include courses on the Neurobiology of Disease, Neural Development, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Neural Basis of Natural Behavior, Hormones & Behavior, Sleep, The Aging Brain, Learning and Memory, and others. Some of these classes will be adopted from existing classes, or cross-listed with other departments. Others will be new classes that are under development.

Outside Perspectives Course (1 course; any year)

We want students to integrate perspectives from other fields into their neuroscience curriculum. Thus, we will require one upper division class with at least 3-units in any other STEM or neuroscience-related field (MCB, IB, psychology, data science, chem, etc.).

Optional courses and experiences

Optional Capstone Experience (1 course, which can replace a Tier 3 elective, Year 4)

Students can optionally choose to undertake a capstone experience. In the capstone, students will intensively study one topic in neuroscience under faculty mentorship, and produce a substantial research paper on this topic. The capstone can either be i) a semester-long capstone course in a small, interactive class setting, or ii) independent research in a faculty laboratory that culminates in an honors thesis. The capstone replaces one of the three required Tier 3 elective courses.

Capstone courses will be focused on a specific topic in neuroscience, but will be designed with multiple reading, discussion, and writing assignments that create an intensive, course-long learning experience including close interaction with faculty instructors. Capstone courses will culminate in a substantial research paper on a topic related to the course subject matter, and tie in other areas of student interest. Capstone courses will be 4-unit courses, and will have substantially more out-of-class work, including reading and writing assignments, than Tier 3 courses. Capstone classes will be limited to 50 students for effective small-group teaching.

Optional Research and Honors Courses

Students are encouraged to do research in faculty laboratories for credit, both at the lower division level and upper division level. We will offer an Honors Research Course for students who want to pursue independent research and write an honors thesis. We will also offer Independent Research courses for students to earn credit for non-honors research.Tier 3 Elective Courses (choose 3 courses, or 2 + capstone; either Year 3 or Year 4)

Sample Plans

4 year plan

Fall

Units

Spring

Units

Year 1

Math 1A

Chem 1A/1AL

4

5

Math 1B

Bio 1A/1AL

4

5

Year 2

Physics 8A

Outside Perspectives

*Declare Neuro*

4

3

Physics 8B

Science Communication

4

2

Year 3

Neuro 100A

Elective 1

4

3

Neuro 100B

Neuro Lab

4

4

Year 4

Elective 2

3

Elective 3/capstone

3

3 year plan

Fall

Units

Spring

Units

Year 1

Math 1A

Chem 1A/1AL

4

5

Math 1B

Bio 1A/1AL

Physics 8A

4

5

4

Year 2

Physics 8B

Neuro 100A

4

4

Neuro 100B

Elective 1

Sci Com

4

3

2

Year 3

Neuro Lab

Outside Perspectives

3

3

Elective 2

Elective 3/Capstone

3

3

Transfer Start

Transfer students should complete lower division prerequisites before arriving at Berkeley so they canstart the Tier 2 core sequence at their arrival in Year 3. They can complete any missing lower division prerequisites in Year 3, while taking the core sequence. (This plan assumes lower division prereqs are finished)

Fall

Units

Spring

Units

Year 1

Neuro 100A

Sci Com

4

2

Neuro 100B

Elective 1

4

3

Year 2

Neuro Lab

Elective 2

4

3

Outside Perspectives

Elective 3/Capstone

3

3

Premed Plan


Fall

Units

Spring

Units

Year 1

Math 1A

Chem 1A/1AL

4

5

Math 1B

Bio 1A/1AL

4

5

Year 2

Physics 8A

Chemistry 3A/3AL

*Declare Neuro*

4

5

Physics 8B

Chemistry 3B/3BL

4

5

Year 3

Neuro 100A

Bio 1B

4

4

Neuro 100B

Outside Perspectives (MCB 102)

4

4

Year 4

Neuro Lab

Science Communication

Elective 1

4

2

3

Elective 2

Elective 3/capstone

3

3

Please contact our advising office with any questions, and meet with an advisor to explore your options.