BCS Advising

Brain and cognitive science (BCS) advisors can assist students in a variety of areas:


Declaring the Major

A student who is ready to declare a brain and cognitive sciences (BCS) major should make an appointment with the BCS undergraduate coordinator, Melinda Adelman, via her appointment calendar.

You must bring a printed copy of your academic history from Blackboard to this meeting. Together with the undergraduate coordinator, you will complete a BCS proposal and a semester-by-semester planning worksheet, and be assigned to a BCS faculty advisor.

The next step is to meet with your BCS faculty advisor. Bring your BCS proposal, planning worksheet, and academic history. Together, you will discuss the courses you have chosen to take, your career goals, and options for independent research should you be so inclined. After the advisor signs your proposal form, use it as a template to complete the online major declaration form, then return the signed proposal and planning worksheet to the undergraduate coordinator in Meliora 363.

The director of the undergraduate program will review your online declaration submission and match it against your proposal. This process cannot be completed if you have not returned your paperwork to the undergraduate coordinator. You will receive an email notifying you of either your declaration acceptance, or a request for modification and resubmission. Students should take special note of declaration deadlines as appointment slots fill quickly and the full major declaration process can take a week or more to complete.

The major in BCS fulfills the natural science requirement of the Rochester Curriculum. Please note that when you fill out your online major declaration form, you will also be required to declare your social science and humanities clusters. If you are declaring BCS as a second major, you will need to note any courses that overlap with your existing majors and/or minors. See the course overlap policies below.

As a BCS major, you must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the concentration and you are expected to meet with your advisor at least once a year.

Changing your Major

To change your major, you should work with your faculty advisor and undergraduate coordinator to be sure that the changes are appropriate and that they are noted in your advising record. All of the faculty, not just your assigned advisor, are available to consult with students on academic and career matters.

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Course Overlap Policies

For double majors, no more than three courses may be used to fulfill requirements for both concentrations. Due to this policy, double majoring in BCS and in neuroscience is strongly discouraged. For students completing the BS degree, the general science foundation courses (biology, calculus, symbolic systems, and computer programming) are exempt from the overlap rules.

For students declaring a major in brain and cognitive sciences and a minor in another subject, no more than two courses may be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements. One overlap is permitted between a major and a cluster.

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Advice About the Discipline

Our faculty welcome contact with students curious about the brain and cognitive sciences discipline. If you would like to know more about the department and what we do, and know a faculty member who might be able to help, you should approach that person directly. If not, feel free to contact the chair of the BCS department.

For general advice about the department’s programs and courses, you should contact the BCS/NSC undergraduate coordinator, who can help you with a range of issues, including the content of courses, the structure of programs, and the organization of a concentration or a minor.

Peer advisors are also available. Peer advisors are upper-class BCS majors who have been chosen for their breadth of experience. They are excellent resources for questions about study abroad, getting involved in research, course content, and the student experience in general.

Students interested in BCS may also wish to join the BCS/NSC Undergraduate Council.

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Preparing for Medical School

Both BA and BS BCS graduates have been successful in being accepted info a variety of health graduate programs, including:

  • Medical school
  • Nursing school
  • Pharmacy programs
  • Veterinary school
  • Dental school
  • Physician’s assistant programs
  • Physical therapy programs

For more information about how prepare for medical school see the premed page

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Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer credits from domestic colleges and study abroad programs are permitted for the BCS major with approval from the appropriate department(s). Incoming transfer students should seek course approval as soon as they arrive on campus. All other students must obtain approval for transfer credits before the course is taken.

You will need a transfer course approval form and the syllabus for each course you plan to take. Course approval forms can be obtained from the College Center for Advising Services in Lattimore 312.

No more than two transfer courses may be used as part of your BCS elective track. Additional transfer credits may be applied to other parts of your major at the discretion of the department.

Students who transfer to the University of Rochester from another institution may use transfer credits for a maximum of five of the course (?) requirements for the BA degree in BCS.

Course Specific Approvals

For courses with BCS content, the director of the undergraduate program can sign off on the courses directly.

For the statistics requirement, you must first get the approval of the statistics department. Once you have their signature on your course approval form, the BCS director can then sign off that the course can be applied to your major requirements.

The lab requirement and senior seminar may not be transferred.

Submitting Course Approval Forms

Course approval forms and syllabi that are ready for the director’s signature can be dropped off with the undergraduate coordinator in Meliora 363.

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AP Credit Policy

AP credits for chemistry and physics may satisfy allied field or open elective requirements. AP credits for computer science may satisfy the general science foundation requirement for programming.

AP credits for statistics do not satisfy the statistics requirement of the BCS major. Students with AP statistics credits may take STAT 212 or consult with the department about an appropriate replacement.

AP credits for biology do not satisfy any requirement for the BCS major. Students with AP biology credits may elect to take BIOL 112 instead of BIOL 110 to fulfill the cell biology requirement.

Students with four credits of AP calculus (AB exam) must take an additional course such as MATH 142, MATH 162, or MATH 171 to fulfill the general science foundation requirement for calculus. They may then use their AP calculus credits to satisfy an allied field requirement. Students with eight credits of AP calculus (BC exam) may use their AP credits alone to satisfy the general science foundation requirement for calculus. More advanced courses such as MATH 164 or MATH 165 are also acceptable.