Behavioral Neuroscience

Program Overview

The Behavioral Neuroscience major educates the next generation of scientists with a foundation in biological sciences and behavioral neuroscience. Students in the behavioral neuroscience major are prepared to join the workforce or attend professional or graduate school. Rider achieves this through small class and laboratory sizes, faculty accessibility, and guidance tailored to each student's needs. Areas of professional and graduate study include medical, dental, and veterinary school; allied health programs in optometry, podiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing; as well as programs leading to M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in the life sciences; and programs in science education.

Students in this major can have direct, hands-on instruction and guidance through the Science Learning Community (SLC).  The SLC was established to provide academic and social support for science majors and is open to all students studying science.  The program includes residence hall-based tutoring and mentoring programs, as well as social programming for science majors to enhance their knowledge and experience outside of the classroom.

Many graduates of the Behavioral Neuroscience program have pursued graduate studies at prestigious institutions including Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College and Cornell University.  Others have entered medical school, or have gone on to become educators, surgical assistants, marine biologists, mental health technicians, nurses, behavioral therapists, occupational therapists or physical therapists. 

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum for majors has been shaped to prepare students for a life of learning in the sciences. Rider’s faculty are research-oriented, and encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in independent research and internships. Students are expected to gain knowledge, and develop technical and analytical skills and competency in writing and speaking. Classes include coursework focused on the principles of evolution and diversity, neuroscience, and psychology, among other courses. Students also have the opportunity to take part in three-week internship courses through the Capital Health System Hospitals, summer research and other off-site internships. 

Honors Programs

Honors in Behavioral Neuroscience

The objective of the honors program in Behavioral Neuroscience is to introduce talented undergraduate majors to the methods of basic research in behavioral neuroscience. Qualified biology or behavioral neuroscience majors may participate in the Departmental Honors program. For consideration, a student must have at least a 3.25 overall grade point average at the end of their junior year. In the senior year, a student seeking Honors must write and orally defend a written honors thesis based upon their independent research. A candidate who has a 3.25 cumulative average, a 3.5 average in their science courses, and who has completed an acceptable Honors Thesis, will be awarded Honors in Behavioral Neuroscience upon graduation.

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

"Tri-Beta" is a national honor society affiliated with the American Association for Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Invitations for membership are extended to majors in the life sciences who have demonstrated superior academic achievement. Students are usually invited to join in their sophomore year when they have accumulated 12 credits in the sciences. Active membership is available to those with an overall grade point average of at least 2.8, and at least 3.0 in their science courses. The benefits of membership include academic recognition; a subscription to the journal Bios, to which members may submit research articles; opportunities to present papers at conventions; and research awards. Behavioral neuroscience majors should make membership in Tri-Beta one of their goals. 

Pre-medical and Pre-allied Health Advising Programs

The premedical studies and pre-allied health advising programs assist students with academic and extra-curricular planning required to become competitive applicants for programs in the health professions.

Rider and Thomas Jefferson University have a long-standing articulation agreement for students who wish to pursue training in the allied health professions.  This agreement does not guarantee admission of Rider students into Jefferson's programs; it does mean that Rider faculty members are familiar with Jefferson's academic requirements and that Rider’s courses are eligible for transfer to Jefferson. 

Degrees Offered

  • B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience

Contact

E. Todd Weber, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairperson
Science Hall 339C
609-896-5028 
 
Program WebsiteBehavioral Neuroscience

Related Programs

Behavioral Neuroscience Major Requirements

(51-54 credits)

2017 General Education Requirements45-46
Biology
BIO 115
115L
Principles of Biology I
and Principles of Biology I Lab 1
4
BIO 116
116L
Principles of Biology II
and Principles of Biology II Lab 1
4
Behavioral Neuroscience
BNS 275
275L
Behavioral Neuroscience
and Behavioral Neuroscience Lab 1
4
Select two of the following:8
Neurobiology
and Neurobiology Lab
Neurochemistry
and Neurochemistry Lab
Neuroethology:circuits of Behavior
and Neuroethology Lab
Select one of the following
PSY 100Intro To Psychology3
or BNS 107 Life Science: Behavioral Neuroscience Emphasis
Mathematics
MTH 105Algebra and Trigonometry 24
Select one of the following:3-4
Biostatistics
and Biostatistics Lab 2
Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences
and Statistical and Computer Applicatons in the Natural Sciences Lab 2
Statistics and Research Design (requires PSY 105 prerequisite) 2
Chemistry
CHE 120Principles of Chemistry3
CHE 121Principles of Chemistry Lab1
CHE 122Intro to Chemical Systems3
CHE 123Quantitative Methods Lab1
Biology/Psychology Electives
Select two (2) of the following:6-8
Upper-level Biology Course
Microbiology Lab
and Microbiology Lab
Principles of Biology: Evolution, Diversity, and Biology of Cells
and Principle of Biology: Cells Lab
Genetics
and Genetics Lab
Intro to Marine Biology
and Marine Biology Laboratory
Developmental Biology
and Developmental Biology Lab
Vertebrate Physiology
and Vertebrate Physiology Lab
Microbiology
and Microbiology Lab
Modern Plant Biology
and Modern Plant Biology Lab
Evolutionary Biology
and Evolutionary Biology Lab
General Ecology
and General Ecology Lab
Immunology
and Immunology Lab
Behavior of Marine Organisms: Evolutionary Approach
and Beh Mar Org: Evol Apprch Lab
Any PSY 200-level or higher course
Additional Electives
Select one (1) of the following:4
Any additional BNS 300-level course with a lab
Any PSY 300-level course with a lab
Any BCH 200 or higher course with a lab
Senior Capstone Seminar
BNS 415Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience3
Total Credits96-100
1

 Students must earn a grade of “C” or better in this course to meet the major requirements and before enrolling in upper-level courses for which these courses are prerequisites. 

2

 Students must place into MTH 105 Algebra & Trigonometry or higher level mathematics in order to register for BIO 115, BIO 116 and BNS 275.

Department of Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Health Sciences Course Repeat Policy

The following guidelines apply to courses offered by the Department of Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Health Sciences. Students may not repeat any biology (BIO), behavioral neuroscience (BNS) or health sciences (HSC) course without special permission. A course will be considered repeated if the student has previously earned a letter grade in the course, or if the student has previously withdrawn from the course during Withdrawal II or Withdrawal III. If a student wishes to retake a biology, behavioral neuroscience or health science course, written permission must be obtained from the departmental chair before the registrar will allow the student to enroll in that course.

Academic Plan of Study

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
BIO 115
115L
Principles of Biology I
and Principles of Biology I Lab
4
CHE 120 Principles of Chemistry 3
CHE 121 Principles of Chemistry Lab 1
MTH 105 Algebra and Trigonometry 1 4
CMP 120 Expository Writing 1 3
NCT 010 Freshman Seminar 0
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
BIO 116
116L
Principles of Biology II
and Principles of Biology II Lab
4
CHE 122 Intro to Chemical Systems 3
CHE 123 Quantitative Methods Lab 1
CMP 125 Research Writing 3
Social Science Core Course (1 of 2) 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Year 2
Fall Semester
BNS 275
275L
Behavioral Neuroscience
and Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
4
BNS 250
250L
Biostatistics
and Biostatistics Lab
4
PSY 100 Intro To Psychology 3
HIS 150 World History to 1500 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
BNS 310
310L
Neurobiology
and Neurobiology Lab
4
BCH 225
225L
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
and Intro to Organic & Biochm Lab
4
HIS 151 World History Since 1500 3
Foreign Language Course (Level 1 or 2) 3
Elective course 3
 Semester Credit Hours17
Year 3
Fall Semester
Upper-level Neuroscience (select one) 4
Neurochemistry
and Neurochemistry Lab
 
Neuroethology:circuits of Behavior
and Neuroethology Lab
 
Social Science Core Course (2 of 2) 3
Foreign Language Core Course (Level 2 of 2) 3
Philosophy Core Course (Any PHL Course or AMS 227) 3
Fine Arts Core Course 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
Biology/Psychology Elective (select one) 3-4
Medical Microbiology
and Microbiology Lab
 
Principles of Biology: Evolution, Diversity, and Biology of Cells
and Principle of Biology: Cells Lab
 
Genetics
and Genetics Lab
 
Intro to Marine Biology
and Marine Biology Laboratory
 
Developmental Biology
and Developmental Biology Lab
 
Vertebrate Physiology
and Vertebrate Physiology Lab
 
Microbiology
and Microbiology Lab
 
Modern Plant Biology
and Modern Plant Biology Lab
 
Evolutionary Biology
and Evolutionary Biology Lab
 
General Ecology
and General Ecology Lab
 
Immunology
and Immunology Lab
 
Behavior of Marine Organisms: Evolutionary Approach
and Beh Mar Org: Evol Apprch Lab
 
Any 200-level PSY course
 
Literature Core Course 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
 Semester Credit Hours15-16
Year 4
Fall Semester
Upper-level Neuroscience 4
BNS 360 Neurochemistry or BNS 375 Neuroethology
 
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
Biology/Psychology Elective 3-4
BNS 415 Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
Elective Course 3
 Semester Credit Hours15-16
 Total Credits122-124
1

For course placement information see http://www.rider.edu/offices-services/orientation/course-placement . 

Notes:

  1. Please note that elective credits may be used to complete requirements in a second major or minor.
  2. Natural and Physical Sciences and Mathematics core requirement included in a major.

Courses and Descriptions

BNS 107 Life Science: Brain and Behavior 3 Credits

An introduction to the biology of the human brain and the rest of the human nervous system. Topics in neuroscience are covered in molecular, cellular, and systematic terms. Additional material is presented on the origins and effects of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

BNS 250 Biostatistics 4 Credits

This course will assist students with acquiring the skills necessary to design, conduct, and interpret research studies. Emphasis will be on learning how to develop experimental designs to translate theoretical concepts into testable hypotheses. Experiments conducted during laboratory sessions will use laboratory mice and will use equipment for measuring animal behavior. Students will gain experience collecting, analyzing, writing and orally presenting their research results. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): MTH 105 or higher or placement into MTH 210, grade of “C” or better in one lab science course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 250L.

BNS 250L Biostatistics Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course. Corequiste(s): BNS 250.

BNS 275 Behavioral Neuroscience 4 Credits

An introductory behavioral neuroscience course including basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of movement, ingestive, reproductive, emotional, and learning behaviors. Emphasis is on the structure/function relationships that allow animals to make appropriate physiological and behavioral responses to the environment. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): BIO 115 & BIO 116.

Corequisite(s): BNS 275L.

BNS 275L Behavioral Neuroscience Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 275.

BNS 310 Neurobiology 4 Credits

A lecture-laboratory course investigating the structure and function of the nervous system. Lecture topics include organization of the nervous system, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, physiology of sensory systems, biological aspects of nervous system diseases, and behavior. Laboratory exercises include study of anatomy of the nervous system, nerve cell recording, modern neuroanatomical techniques, and the neural basis of animal behavior. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): BIO 115, BIO 116 with a grade of C or better in each course. Corequiste(s): BNS 310L.

BNS 310L Neurobiology Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 310.

BNS 360 Neurochemistry 4 Credits

Examines the fundamentals of neurochemistry, including the neuroanatomical distribution, pharmacology, and functions of neurotransmitters; signal transduction pathways; behavioral and physiological effects of chemicals either used therapeutically to treat biopsychological disorders or that may be abused for their psychotropic effects; and mechanisms and models for the study of drug action. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): BIO 115, BIO 116, CHE 122, CHE 123 with a grade of C or better in each course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 360L.

BNS 360L Neurochemistry Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course. Corequiste(s): BNS 360.

BNS 375 Neuroethology:circuits of Behavior 4 Credits

Neuroethology is the study of the neural and physiological basis of animal behavior. This course focuses on the specific behavioral problems faced by animals in their natural habitats, and the ways in which their nervous systems solve these problems. The mechanisms that underlie complex behaviors such as spatial orientation and navigation, escape mechanisms, and animal communication will be examined, as well as the extraordinary sensory adaptation of organisms to their environments (e.g., echolocation, electroreception, and magnetic reception). The neural control of motor programs and temporally-patterned behaviors will be studied in simpler neuronal systems. Finally, recent cellular and molecular approaches to the study of behavior will be addressed. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): BIO 115, BIO 116 with a grade of C or better in each course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 375L.

BNS 375L Neuroethology Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BNS 375.

BNS 415 Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience 3 Credits

Critical analysis of the scientific literature pertaining to current topics in behavioral neuroscience. Topics include mechanisms through which the brain influences physiology and behavior and the integration of nervous and endocrine systems. Three hours of lecture per week.

Prerequisite(s): BIO 115, BIO 116 or BNS 118, BIO 117, junior standing and permission of instructor.

BNS 490 Independent Research and Study 1-4 Credits

Immerses the student in laboratory research. The student learns to organize material, use the literature, make precise measurements, and obtain reproducible data. If possible, the student will publish the results or present them at a scientific meeting.

BNS 491 Internship in Behavioral Neuroscience 1-4 Credits

A supervised work experience in an approved organization where qualified students gain real-world knowledge and utilize their academic training in a professional environment. Placement may be in private, public, non-profit, or governmental organizations. These can include educational or research institutions. The method of evaluation will be formalized prior to the approval of the internship by the sponsoring faculty and should include keeping a journal of activities, a term paper or project report and a poster presentation.

Prerequisite(s): 2.5 GPA and permission of the instructor.