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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 BCSC 391 or BCS 395C 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:

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

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

Choose one of the following:

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

Choose one of the following:

  • LING 110: Introduction to Linguistic Analysis (Fall/Spring)
  • 1CSC 173: Computation and Formal Systems (Fall)
  • 1CSC 242: Artificial Intelligence (Spring)

Choose one of the following:

  • 1CSC 161: Art of Programming (Fall/Spring)
  • 1CSC 171: Science of Programming (Fall/Spring)
  • BIOL 208: Intro to Programming for Biology (Fall)

Note: Beginning with the class of 2020, 1CSC 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 1CSC 170.

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BCS Foundation and Core Courses

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

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Formal Methods

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

Alternative statistics courses, such as STAT 211, STAT 213, STAT/BIOL 214, DSCC 262, PSYC/CSSP 211, and ECON 230, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Consult with the department.

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Laboratory Courses

One of the following*:

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

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

**Enrollment in BCSC 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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