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Undergraduate Programs

BS in Brain and Cognitive Sciences

The BS program provides a rigorous natural science education that prepares students for postgraduate work in brain and cognitive sciences, and related fields like cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modeling.

In addition to brain and cognitive sciences (BCS) courses, the curriculum includes a foundation in math, biology, computer programming, and symbolic systems to prepare students for all advanced courses within our discipline. Additional allied field requirements give students a broader background in related disciplines. Independent research is encouraged, but independent study courses such as BCS 391 or BCS 395 do not fulfill any of the major requirements.

See the examples of course schedules page for an example of how these required courses can be spread throughout your time at Rochester.

General Science Foundation Courses

Choose one of the following:

  • BIO 110: Principles of Biology I (Fall/Spring)*
  • BIO 112: Perspectives in Biology I (Fall)

*Although CHM 131 is not required for the BCS degree, the biology faculty have found that students lacking an appropriate chemistry background may struggle with BIO 110. If you are considering taking BIO 110 without CHM 131, please seek advice from the instructor.

Choose one of the following:

  • MTH 141: Calculus I (Fall/Spring)
  • MTH 161: Calculus IA (Fall/Spring)
  • MTH 171: Honors Calculus I (Fall)

Choose one of the following:

  • LIN 110: Introduction to Linguistic Analysis (Fall/Spring)
  • CSC 173: Computation and Formal Systems (Fall)
  • CSC 242: Artificial Intelligence (Spring)

Choose one of the following:

  • CSC 161: Art of Programming (Fall/Spring)
  • CSC 171: Science of Programming (Fall/Spring)
  • BIO 208: Intro to Programming for Biology (Fall)

Note: Beginning with the class of 2020, CSC 170: Web Design and Development will no longer be acceptable. Students in the classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 who have not yet completed their programming requirement are strongly encouraged to take one of the courses listed above rather than CSC 170.

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BCS Foundation and Core Courses

BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior (Fall/Spring)
BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science (Fall/Spring)
BCS 151: Perception and Action (Fall)
BCS 152: Language and Psycholinguistics (Fall)
BCS 153: Cognition (Spring)
BCS 310: Senior Seminar (Fall/Spring)

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Formal Methods

Students are required to take STT 212: Applied Statistics for Biological and Physical Sciences.

Alternative statistics courses, such as STT 211, STT 213, STT/BIO 214, DSC 262, PSY/CSP 211, and ECO 230, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Consult with the department.

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Laboratory Courses

One of the following*:

  • BCS 204: Lab in Cognitive Neuroscience (Fall)
  • BCS 205: Lab in Development and Learning (Fall)
  • BCS 206/207: Undergraduate Research in Cognitive Science (Fall/Spring)**
  • BCS 208: Lab in Perception and Cognition (Spring)

*Completion of STT 212 or other formal methods is required before taking a lab course.

**Enrollment in BCS 206/207 requires a special application. Students are required to complete both courses in the sequence.

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BCS Upper-Level Electives

Students are required to take four BCS elective courses. These electives should be chosen in order to form a coherent theme, or “track.” See example tracks or form your own with the approval of your faculty advisor. At least three of the four electives should adhere to the track theme. No more than one 100-level course may be used in the track.

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Allied Fields

Students must take two courses from the approved allied field courses list, which includes math, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, philosophy, linguistics, optics, and engineering. The allied fields should relate to the track theme formed by the BCS electives and/or support the student’s intended career path.

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Open Electives

Students are required to take two elective courses, which can be additional BCS or allied field courses, or a combination of the two.

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Upper-Level Writing

Successful completion of the laboratory course and the senior seminar will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

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