Undergraduate Programs

Courses in BCS

Courses currently being offered:

Fall >
Spring >

Check the course schedules/descriptions available via the Registrar's Office for the official schedules for the widest range of terms for which such information is available.


Below you will find a list of all undergraduate courses that have been offered.
NOTE: Not all of these courses are offered in any given year.

BCS 110 NEURAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR

Introduces the structure and organization of the brain, and its role in perception, movement, thinking, and other behavior. Topics include the brain as a special kind of computer, localization of function, effects of brain damage and disorders, differences between human and animal brains, sex differences, perception and control of movement, sleep, regulation of body states and emotions, and development and aging.

Prerequisites: None
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 111 FOUNDATIONS OF COGNITIVE SCIENCE

Introduces the organization of mental processes underlying cognition and behavior. Topics include perception, language, learning, memory, and intelligence. This course integrates knowledge of cognition generated from the field of cognitive psychology with findings from artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience.

Prerequisites: None
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 151 PERCEPTION & ACTION

Explores how the biology of our senses shapes perceptual experiences of reality. Emphasizes sense of sight primarily and hearing secondarily. An important theme is that our sensory systems play a crucial role in the execution of coordinated movements of our bodies, as we navigate in, and interact with, the environment.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 111
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 152 LANGUAGE & PSYCHOLINGUISTICS

Overviews the nature and processing of human languages, including comparisons between language and animal communication systems, the biological bases of human language, and the cognitive mechanisms used in producing, understanding, and learning language.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 111 or LIN 110
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 153 COGNITION

Considers human cognitive processes, including behavioral and computational methods used to understand the nature of cognition. Explores how we perceive and integrate sensory information to build a coherent perception of the world; how we memorize and retrieve information; how we reason and solve problems.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 REQUIRED; BCS 111 recommended
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 172 DEVELOPMENT OF MIND & BRAIN

Introduces human development, focusing on the ability to perceive objects and sounds, to think and reason, and to learn and remember language and other significant patterned stimulation. Includes the nature and mechanisms of development in humans and an overview of what is known about brain and behavioral development in other species.

Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 183 ANIMAL MINDS

Considers the cognitive and communicative abilities of animals, especially primates, as compared with humans. Topics include thinking, reasoning, remembering, communicating, and understanding number, time, and causality, in animals ranging from ants to apes.

Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 185 SOCIAL COGNITION

Social cognition combines classic social psychology with methods and theories from cognitive psychology and neuroscience to study how people make sense of each other and the social world. We will examine how the social environment influences cognitive processes such as attention, heuristics, and appraisals, and how these processes in turn affect decisions, behaviors, and health. We will critically evaluate research on a variety of topics, such as emotion regulation, stereotyping and prejudice, and stress and decision making.

Prerequisites: PSY 101 recommended
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 203 LAB IN NEUROBIOLOGY

Introduces the various methods used in neurobiological research. Covers anatomical, behavioral, molecular, and physiological approaches to studying neural organization and function and concludes with a research project that extends over a period of five weeks. STUDENTS MUST REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP WHEN REGISTERING FOR THE MAIN SECTION.

Prerequisites: STT 212 and NSC 201/BCS 240 with lab
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 204 LAB IN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

Introduces methods used in cognitive neuroscience, a field that examines cognitive phenomena in terms of their underpinnings in the brain. Covers functional anatomical approaches to studying brain function and dysfunction, behavioral and brain imaging approaches to studying learning and memory, and neuropsychological approaches to understanding sensory, motor, and cognitive processing and disorders.

Prerequisites: STT 212 and BCS 153
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 205 LAB IN DEVELOPMENT & LEARNING

Introduces behavioral methods used to study the development of perception, cognition, and language, and provides hands-on experience in the testing of human infants and children. Includes two research projects and a final powerpoint presentation.

Prerequisites: STT 212, and BCS 172 or one of the BCS core courses (BCS 151, BCS 152, or BCS 153)
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 206 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE

Students will gain experience with research methods in cognitive science by performing a project that involves replicating an important finding in the field. Students will work collaboratively in small groups, and will gain extensive hands-on experience with critical analysis of scientific literature, experimental design, programming of stimuli and behavioral tasks, data collection, statistical analysis, oral presentation, and writing of research manuscripts. Students who enroll must also enroll in BCS 207 in the following semester. The course is open to rising juniors who are declared BCS majors and rising sophomores who fully intend to declare a BCS major.

Prerequisites: Computer programming experience or coursework, STT 212, and at least two of the following: BCS 110, BCS 111, BCS 151, BCS 152, BCS 153
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 207 ADVANCED UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE

This course must be taken immediately following BCS 206. The goal of this advanced course is to perform a more substantial original research project that builds upon the first semester project to address a novel research question. The end-goal of the course is for each group of students to produce a research manuscript that may be of sufficient quality to be submitted for publication.

Prerequisites: BCS 206
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 208 LAB IN PERCEPTION & COGNITION

Introduces behavioral and psychophysical studies of perceptual and cognitive phenomena. Students perform, analyze, interpret, and report results from experiments that move from reproducing classic phenomena to conducting new studies independently.

Prerequisites: STT 212, and either BCS 151 or BCS 153
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 221 AUDITORY PERCEPTION

This course considers how we comprehend the auditory environment. Topics include the physical stimulus for hearing, the physiology of the auditory system  (both at the periphery and in the central nervous system), the psychophysics of basic auditory perception (e.g., hearing thresholds),  higher level auditory perception (including auditory scene analysis and the perception of complex auditory events such as speech and music), and hearing disorders. Considers research from a diverse range of perspectives including behavioral research, cognitive neuroscience, studies of individual differences, and research that adopts a comparative perspective.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 111
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 223 VISION AND THE EYE

This course will reveal the intricate optical and neural machinery inside the eye that allows us to see. It will describe the physical and biological processes that set the limits on our perception of patterns of light that vary in luminance and color across space and time, We will compare the human eye with the acute eyes of predatory birds and the compound eyes of insects. The course will also describe exciting new optical technologies for correcting vision and for imaging the inside of the eye with unprecedented resolution, and how these technologies can help us understand and even cure diseases of the eye.

Prerequisites: OPT 241 and OPT 261. Advanced undergraduates who are not Optics majors, such as BCS or BME majors may be able to waive these prerequisites and are encouraged to discuss this with the instructor.
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 227 THEORY OF PERCEPTION

This course will be an introduction to the theory and philosophy of perception, focusing on visual perception. The major topics of the course are: Are there features of perceptual experience that cannot be understood as features of represented objects? Is perception “direct” or independent upon the specifics of sensory input? Can we account for all of the features of perceptual experience in functional or computational terms? Is perception a type of computation that transforms an (impoverished) sensory input into a type of internal representation? Is perception best thought of as a hypothesis or inference about the world? Is perception separate from knowledge and cognition or does cognition permeate perception? How do conscious beliefs about the world (e.g. that something is red) relate to sensory input (e.g. seeing a strawberry)? Does perceptual knowledge transfer across sensory modalities?

Prerequisites: BCS 151 or one 200-level course in PHL
Last Offered: Fall 2014

BCS 229 COMPUTER MODELS OF HUMAN PERCEPTION & COGNITION

How can computer models help us understand how people perceive and interpret their visual environments? This course will address this question, with emphasis placed on how people use probabilistic reasoning in order to represent and manage perceptual uncertainty for the purpose of reaching intelligent decisions about objects and events. This course is relevant to students with interests in computational studies of human cognition, and to students with interests in artificial intelligence. Homework assignments will require students to write Matlab programs.

Prerequisites: MTH 161, MTH 162, and CSC 160 or equivalents. MTH 164, MTH 165, and/or STT 213 will be helpful.
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 232 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Introduces fundamental principles of artificial intelligence, including heuristic search, automated reasoning, handling uncertainty, and machine learning. Presents applications of AI techniques to real-world problems such as understanding the web, computer games, biomedical research, and assistive systems. This course is a prerequisite for advanced AI courses.

Prerequisites: MTH 150 and CSC 172
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 233 STATISTICAL SPEECH & LANGUAGE PROCESSING

An introduction to statistical natural language processing and automatic speech recognition techniques. This course presents the theory and practice behind the recently developed language processing technologies that enable applications such as speech-driven dictation systems, document search engines (e.g., finding web pages) and automatic machine translation. Students taking this course at the 400 level will be required to complete additional readings and/or assignments.

Prerequisites: CSC 172 and BCS 232 (CSC 242)
Last Offered: Fall 2015

BCS 235 NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING

An introduction to natural language processing: constructing computer programs that understand natural language. Topics include parsing, semantic analysis, and knowledge representation.

Prerequisites: BCS 232 (CSC 242)
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 236 MACHINE VISION

Introduction to computer vision, including camera models, basic image processing, pattern and object recognition, and elements of human vision. Specific topics include geometric issues, statistical models, Hough transforms, color theory, texture, and optic flow.

Prerequisites: MTH 161 and BCS 232 (CSC 242)
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 240 BASIC NEUROBIOLOGY

Explores fundamental concepts of neural organization and function. Covers gross and cellular neuroanatomy, neuronal cell biology, the electrophysiology of neurons and synapses, neurochemistry, spinal circuitry, sensory and motor systems, and higher functions including learning and memory. Neuroscience majors must also register for a lab section.

Prerequisites: BIO 110/112 AND BIO 111/113
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 240P BASIC NEUROBIOLOGY LAB

THIS LABORATORY IS FOR NEUROSCIENCE MAJORS ONLY. Students should register during online registration; do not wait until the semester begins. Due to time conflicts, students may not be able to take NSC 201P/BCS 240P and STT 212 in the same semester. Contact the Undergraduate Coordinator at ugcoord@bcs.rochester.edu if you have scheduling issues.

Prerequisites: BIO 110/112 AND BIO 111/113. Concurrent enrollment in BCS 240 (NSC 201), or permission of instructor.
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 242 NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

Examines clinical neuropsychology, which bridges neurology, neuroscience, and clinical psychology. Covers history of clinical neuropsychology, principles of neuropsychological assessment, and the interpretation of cognition and behavior as they relate to brain dysfunction. Considers specific neurological syndromes including neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular, toxic, and memory disorders; epilepsy; head trauma; infectious processes; pediatric neuropsychology; psychiatric syndromes; and forensic neuropsychology. Patient presentations (videotape and in-person interviews) supplement lectures.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 240 (NSC 201) or permission of instructor
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 243 NEUROCHEMICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR

Introduces the field of neurochemistry with an emphasis on cellular and molecular neurochemistry. Topics range from study of neurochemical mechanisms that underlie normal neural function to discussion of behavioral disturbances that result from neurochemical abnormalities. Considers neurochemical mechanisms of adaptive behavior, learning and memory, behavioral disorders, gender differences, and drug seeking behavior.

Prerequisites: BCS 240 (NSC 201); BIO 250 recommended
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 244 NEUROETHOLOGY

Explores the neural basis of naturally occurring animal behaviors. Emphasizes how information is integrated from interactions between molecules, cells, and groups of cells, all of which are necessary to produce behavior. Considers how hormones, neural development, anatomy, physiology, and evolution lead to behaviors such as orientation, communication, feeding, and reproduction.

Prerequisites: BCS 240 (NSC 201) or permission of instructor
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 245 SENSORY & MOTOR NEUROSCIENCE

Focuses on how single neurons and populations of neurons represent sensory information, how sensory signals are transformed and decoded to mediate perception, and how perceptual signals are converted into neural commands to initiate actions. Explores how simple behaviors (such as detection and discrimination) can be quantified and explained in terms of neural activity. Introduces students to quantitative approaches for linking neural activity to perception and decision-making. Emphasizes studies of the visual, oculomotor, and somatosensory systems, with some attention to the auditory and vestibular systems as well.

Prerequisites: BCS 240 (NSC 201)
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 246 BIOLOGY OF MENTAL DISORDERS

Examines the neurobiology of anxiety/phobic conditions, mood disorders, and chronic psychotic states, particularly schizophrenia. Considers definitions of psychiatric syndromes, the problems of diagnosis, brain organization, and neurotransmitter systems involved in state functions. Introduces research approaches including epidemiologic, phenomenologic, family/adoption, longitudinal descriptive, psychophysiologic, neuropharmacologic, genetic linkage, and postmortem studies; emphasizes recent in vivo brain imaging and neuroreceptor studies.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 AND BIO 110 or BCS 240 (NSC 201)
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 247 TOPICS IN COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE

This course will provide an introduction to computational neuroscience, the study of both the computations performed by the brain, and of computational models of neuronal responses. In the course we will focus on the visual system.

Prerequisites: Programming experience is required, as well as familiarity with linear algebra and simple probability theory.
Last Offered: Spring 2016

BCS 248 NEUROECONOMICS

We will discuss the neuroscience and psychology underlying reward-based decisions. Topics of discussion will include behavioral economics, neuroimaging studies of consumer behavior, physiological studies of the reward system, and computational models of choice and reinforcement learning. Students will be expected to read several scholarly articles each week, attend lectures, and participate in discussions.

Prerequisites: BCS 240 (NSC 201) and BCS/NSC 245 or permission of the instructor
Last Offered: Spring 2016

BCS 249 DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROBIOLOGY

Advanced treatment of the development of the nervous system, including the nature/nurture issue and factors that influence the development of neural organization and function. Topics include the production, migration, differentiation and survival of neurons; functional specialization of neural regions; axonal navigation; target mapping. Compares and contrasts developmental plasticity with forms of neural plasticity exhibited in adults.

Prerequisites: BCS 240 (NSC 201)
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 259 LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Introduces children's language development, including the acquisition of phonology, syntax, and semantics. Focuses on the acquisition of a first language by young children, comparing the acquisition of a variety of spoken and signed languages to find possible universal principles of language learning.

Prerequisites: BCS 152 or LIN 110
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 260 MUSIC & THE MIND

Introduction to the discipline of music cognition. Topics include empirical methods, psycho-acoustic principles, influence of Gestalt psychology, music and language, metric and tonal hierarchies, music and the brain, aspects of musical development, and research on musical memory, expectation, and emotion.

Prerequisites: One semester of collegiate music theory (MUR 101, MUR 110, MUR 111 or TH 101), AP exam score of 4 or 5, or permission of instructor.
Last Offered: Fall 2016

BCS 261 LANGUAGE USE & UNDERSTANDING

Explores the cognitive mechanisms used to speak and understand language, with a special focus on contextually situated language use. Studies the moment-by-moment processes underlying language production and comprehension, including how speakers choose words and phrases and how listeners understand them.

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 111, AND BCS 152
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 264 SIGNE LANGUAGE STRUCTURE

Examines signed languages and the cognitive constraints that shape them, through a detailed consideration of the structure of American Sign Language and other natural signed languages of the world. Includes training in sign language notation and analysis. Knowledge of sign language is required.

Prerequisites: ASL 106
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 265 LANGUAGE & THE BRAIN

Examines how the comprehension and production of language is implemented in the human brain. Uses evidence from neuropsychological and brain imaging studies to consider the following questions: What is the network of brain areas that subserves language processing? What are the specific functions of these areas? What happens when these brain areas are damaged? What is the timing of brain activity in these areas during language processing? Finally, how do the brain areas involved in language processing overlap with those involved in other complex cognitive processes?

Prerequisites: BCS 110 or BCS 240 (NSC 201), AND BCS 152 or LIN 110, or permission of the instructor
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 310 SENIOR SEMINAR

A 2-credit-hour course required of all senior BCS majors who do not enter the honors program. Emphasizes reading, evaluating, and discussing primary research papers. Each student chooses a topic, becomes familiar with it, selects a classic paper, leads a class discussion, and writes an evaluation of the paper as though providing peer review for a journal.

Prerequisites: Open only to senior BCS majors.
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 311 HONORS SEMINAR

A 2-credit course required of seniors in the BCS Honors program. Students choose a classic paper for the class to read, lead a discussion of it, and give a formal oral and written presentation of their honors theses. To be taken in the semester the honors thesis is completed. See BCS 310 and refer to the Undergraduate Programs Coordinator in the Dept. of Brain & Cognitive Sciences for more information.

Prerequisites: Permission of Department required.
Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 390 SUPERVISED TEACHING

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 391 INDEPENDENT STUDY

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 393 SENIOR PROJECT

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017

BCS 395 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

No description

Last Offered: Spring 2017