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Department of Biological Sciences

Neuroscience Minor

The neuroscience minor allows students to take neuroscience courses across a number of different majors.  Neuroscience is a field that is fundamentally interdisciplinary and very broad and students are strongly encouraged to take courses ranging from a focus on the molecular aspects of the nervous system to cognitive neuroscience.

Students interested in medical school, graduate school in neuroscience, or health-related fields and just interested in the brain are encouraged to take the minor.  This is a science-oriented minor and so students should expect that there will be an expectation of a basic understanding of biology and chemistry even at the introductory level.  



Students must apply to be accepted to the Neuroscience Minor.   Eighteen credit hours are required to satisfy the minor. Students must complete the required three credit Introduction to Neuroscience course and 2-3 credit hours of neuroscience research experience under an independent study number. 

Additional honors course or other specialized courses in the neurosciences may also satisfy the minor requirements provided the course substitutions are approved by the one of the co-directors of the neuroscience minor. No more than a total of six credits of independent study credits may count towards the minor. Below are the requirements for the neuroscience minor approved for the 2017 - 2018 Bulletin.  Students entering USC prior to 2017 may go by either the new requirements below or the previous requirements that are listed in previous Undergraduate Bulletins of their year.

Students should check with their major advisor about whether classes in the minor can also count in the major.  In the College of Arts and Sciences, courses cannot be double-counted across the minor and the major.  

  • BIOL 101 – Biological Principles I
  • PSYC 101 – Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 455 –  Introduction to Neuroscience

The independent research can be done under any major independent research codes as long as the research is in the field of neuroscience. The research must be done for credit. Examples include BIOL 399, PSYC 498, PSYC 598, PSYC 599, SCHC 399, and BMEN 499. The title of the independent study must clearly indicate that the research involves the study of the nervous system in some manner and the course must be approved by one of the co-directors of the minor. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in neuroscience research early in their career; many faculty mentors require a year commitment or more and will not take a student in their final semester of their senior year.

Select courses from the following list.  In addition, one three credit independent study in neuroscience may count in the Elective group.  Sometimes Honors courses and special topics courses in neuroscience are offered and these are approved on a semester by semester basis by the co-directors of the neuroscience minor.

Note that many of the courses below have prerequisites and/or co-requisites. Course instructors can always give permission to take the course without the listed prerequisites and/or co-requisites and you should consult with individual instructors if you think that you have an adequate background and would like to take the course. 

  • ANTH 361 – Becoming Human
  • BIOL 302/L – Cell and Molecular Biology and Laboratory (Prereqs: BIOL 102, Coreqs: CHEM 333)
  • BIOL 405 – Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (Prereqs: BIOL 101 and 302 or permission of instructor)
  • BIOL 460 – Physiology (Prereqs:  BIOL 302 or MSCI 311)
  • BIOL 534 – Animal Behavior (Prereqs:  301 or MSCI 311)
  • BIOL 534L – Animal Behavior Laboratory  Coreq:  BIOL 534)
  • BIOL 614 – Stem Cell Biology  (Prereqs: BIOL 302 or permission of instructor)
  • BIOL 634 – Biology of Neurological Disease  (Prereqs: BIOL 302 and SCHC 330 or BIOL 405)
  • BIOL 635 – Neurophysiology   (Prereqs: BIOL 302 and permission of Instructor)
  • BMEN 321 – Biomonitoring and Electrophysiology (Prereqs:  MATH 242, PHYS 212, BIOL 302)
  • CSCE 555 – Algorithms in Bioinformatics (Prereqs:   CSCE 350)
  • ELCT 220 – Electrical Engineering for Non-majors (Prereq:  MATH 142)
  • EXSC 35 – Acquisition of Motor Skills (Prereqs:  EXSC 223 and 224)
  • PHIL 351 – Mind & Nature
  • PSYC 370 – Psychology of Consciousness
  • PSYC 400 – Survey of Learning and Memory (Prereq:  PSYC 101)
  • PSYC 405 – Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 450 – Sensation and Perception  (Prereq:  PSYC 101)
  • PSYC 503 – Psychology Drug Use and Effects  (Prereq:  PSYC 450 or PSYC 460 or PSYC 455)
  • PSYC 507 – Cognitive Neuroscience (Prereq:  PSYC 400 or 405 or 450 or 460)
  • PSYC 571 – Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (Prereqs:  PSYC 226 and 227, Prereq or coreq:  PSYC 400, 405, 450, 455 or 460
  • PSYC 560 – Advanced Topics in Neuroscience  (Prereq:  PSYC 455 or 460)
  • PSYC 570 – Neuroscience Laboratory (Prereq:  PSYC 455 or 460)



Students must complete an application and qualify for the neuroscience minor. Applications can be submitted any time after the completion of 30 credit hours at USC. Normally, students will be expected to have at least a 3.3 grade point average at USC. Applications will be evaluated by a co-directors of the neuroscience minor and they will be judged on overall academic merit. Application forms can be obtained from the Departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences or downloaded [pdf]. Applications should be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences ; Flinn Hall, Suite 110 ; University of South Carolina.


Faculty: Possible Independent Study Mentors

USC encourages all undergraduates to participate in Independent Study activities outside the formal class room. Independent Study offers students the opportunity to experience hands on learning and to develop personal relationships with a deeper core of the University than they can through classes alone. To encourage this experience, the neuroscience minor requires that students gain Independent Study research experience in neuroscience. Below is a list of neuroscience researchers in the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of the nervous system. In order to conduct research, a student should arrange to do an independent study course with a suitable neuroscience mentor. You sign up for the course by filling out an independent study form with your mentor, getting the required signatures and bring the form to the Registrar's Office. Your advisor will have to sign the form and can help you with the process.

Shannon Davis, Developmental Neurobiology

Robert Friedman, Bioinformatics, Evolutionary biology

Sofia Lizarraga, Neuronal morphogenesis and development

Fabienne Poulain, Neurodevelopment and neurogenerative disorders

Deanna Smith, Migration and cellular trafficking in the adult nervous system

Daniel Speiser, Structure, function and evolution of visual systems

Jeff Twiss, Neuron growth and injury responses

Anne Bezhuidenhout, Philosophy of Mind

Tom Burke, Philosophy of logic and cognitive science

Amit Almor, Psycholinguistics, memory and attention in mind and brain

Rose Booze, Behavioral and Molecular neuroscience

Scott Decker, Neuropsychological assessment of children

Jessica Green, Neural mechanisms of human attention and perception

Steven Harrod, Nicotine-induced sex differences in adult rats

Sandra Kelly, Consciousness, meditation and the brain

John Richards, Developmental cognitive neuroscience

Jane Roberts, Biological mechanisms underlying developmental disorders

Chris Rorden, Brain injury, stroke and behavioral changes

Jeff Schatz, Cognitive neuroscience

Svetlana Shinkareva, Development and application of quantitative methods to neuroimaging data

Jennifer Vendemia, Understanding how cognitive and personality variables moderate pain perception

Melissa Moss, Protein aggregation in Alzheimer's Disease

John Rose, Computational neuroscience and machine intelligence

Song Wang, Computational neuroscience

Sajish Mathew, NAD+ metabolism and signaling in Neurobiology

Jill Turner, Nicotine Addiction

Jun Zhu, Mechanisms underlying dysfunction of the human dopamine transporter

Roozbeh Behroozmand, Neuroscience of Speech Production and Motor Control

Dirk Den Ouden, Neurolinguistics

Julius Fridriksson, Aphasia recovery after stroke using MRI techniques

Troy Herter, Motor rehabilitation

Davis Moore, Concussion and functional outcomes
Roger Newman-Norlund, Motor control and rehabilitation lab

Jill Stewart, Neural control of movement

Jim Fadel, Anatomy and function of forebrain dopamine and acetylcholine systems

Janet Fisher, Functional properties of the GABA receptor and its role in epilepsy

Norma Frizzell, Mitochondrial metabolism in neurodegenerative/neurodevelopmental disorders

Michy Kelly, Molecular mechanisms of memory and social deficits

Alex McDonald, Anatomy of cholinergic circuitry in the amygdala

David Mott, Alterations of hippocampal neurons/synapse in epilepsy

Pavel Ortinski, Neuronal correlates of addictive behaviors

Larry Reagan, Stress, metabolic disorders, and hippocampal neuroplasticity

Marlene Wilson, Neuropharmacology of anxiety and stress

Susan Wood, Depression, stress and the brain


Undergraduate Research Funding and Important Links

Students should contact the USC Office of Undergraduate Research to learn about research funding opportunities at USC.  In addition, Honors students should contact their Honors advisor for information about research funding through the South Carolina Honors College. Other funding sources can be found in the Grant Foundations list maintained by University of Michigan

IMPULSE, An International Undergraduate Journal of Neuroscience published on line by USC undergraduates.

Impulse Student Organization @ USC
Minus9, A journal that features student work on Nanotechnology and other emerging technologies.


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