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Barnard Launches New Neuroscience Department!

Neuroscience major and deputy editor Vivian Zhou is super excited about the new Neuroscience department at Barnard and wants to tell you all about it!!!!

Barnard finally has its own Neuroscience department now! On Monday night, the department hosted an inauguration event to celebrate the department and its supporters, and the hard work that has gone into putting the department together. The neuroscience major first started in the 1980s, and was originally named “psychobiology”. The program only had 6 students, but has been dramatically increasing in size– in 2016, there were 80 majors (juniors and seniors). Even with so many majors, neuroscience never had its own department. Instead, they had to rely heavily on the resources of Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry departments.

Having a department for the students means having new courses and a new curriculum, which has taken effect starting with the incoming students of this year. The department decided to change the requirements in response to feedback from previous students. The current curriculum has not yet been finalized, but tentatively they have decided to take away the heavy chemistry requirement from the curriculum before, which invoked various responses from students. Currently listed on the neuroscience website, the curriculum consists of :

  • Cell & Molecular Biology–BC1502 with the Lab–1503(as opposed to the full year of biology with Organismal and Evolutionary Biology–BC1500+1501 as well)
  • Intro to Neuroscience (a new class)
  • two lectures and a corresponding lab in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, or Psychology
  • Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (also included in old curriculum)
  • Statistics and Research Design (equivalent of a statistics class in Psychology or Biology)
  • Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience (also included in old curriculum)
  • A lab in neuroscience
  • Three elective courses, at least two of which must be in their selected concentration and at least one of which must be a 3000-level seminar. (This is similar to the current curriculum, except majors will now take one less elective than before.)
  • Senior research seminar

This new curriculum means that students who choose to major in Neuroscience and Behavior from here on out will have an easier course load, but it also means that pre-med students will need to take more additional courses that do not count for the major. With the old curriculum, a lot courses coincide with the pre-med requirements.

At the inaugural event, Professor Rae Silver talked briefly of the history of the major, the professors that have contributed to the department (which took up more than 10 slides, and each slide had many many faces!!), and then each member of the department presented their research. The permanent members of the new department include: Peter Balsam, Elizabeth Bauer, Maria de la Fernandez, John Glendinning, Russell Romeo, and Rae Silver. There are also affiliated faculty listed here, as well as countless researchers, professors, and other faculty who either have provided undergraduate research for students, teach part time, or teach classes related to the major.

The event was followed by a musical performance by one of the students in the department. Excitement filled the room as students mingled with professors and other faculty. A huge congratulations to the new Neuroscience department!!!

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1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Columbia probably has the best neuroscience in the country.

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