Computational Neuroscience Undergraduate Curriculum

Computational Neuroscience Undergraduate Curriculum

Computational Neuroscience links the information processing features of the nervous system with information processing of computer systems.  Accordingly, the Computational Neuroscience track supplements the neuroscience core curriculum with information technology courses.  In this way, students learn not only of the brain and its information processing mechanisms but also of modern computer hardware and software technologies. Courses in science and engineering have been selected to give as broad an exposure as possible to subjects that underlie the basic neural and computational sciences with an emphasis on the organisms and the machine as information processing entities.  Upon completion of the four-year curriculum, a B.S. degree in Neuroscience will be awarded.  Furthermore, the program is designed to allow students to acquire breadth in computational subjects or, alternatively, to focus on either software or hardware aspects of computation.  Students choosing to acquire breadth in computational subjects will be well prepared for graduate study in most areas of neural and biomedical science, including bioengineering.  Students choosing a software focus may obtain a minor in either computer science or computer engineering.  All subject requirements for entry into medical school are met by completion of the program of study in Computational Neuroscience.
Certification Requirements

To certify a major in Computational Neuroscience, students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours and have a cumulative 3.0 minimum grade point average (GPA) in the following math and science courses:

3.0 minimum GPA in the following:

Biol 106 and 107
Chem 105 and106
Math 171 and 172
Neuro 301 or 302
Phys 201

Once a student has completed 60 hours, the university requires certification in a major as a condition for further enrollment (usually by the end of the sophomore year).  The Neuroscience baccalaureate degree program currently has a cap of 40 majors.  Thus, we may be unable to certify all qualified students. In this situation, the most highly qualified students who apply will be selected for certification up to the enrollment limit.

Students who have certified must continue to maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA in courses required to fulfill the degree or they may be de-certified from the major and their folders returned to the Student Advising and Learning Center (SALC) for reassignment.

Core Prerequisites

Years 1 and 2
PrefixCourse No.[GER]TitleCredits
Biol106, 107 (L)[B] Introduction to Biology4/4
Chem105, 106 (L)[P]Principles of Chemistry4/4
Chem345 Elementary Organic Chemistry4
Cpt S121, 122 Program Design and Development,
Data Structures
EE214 Design of Logic Circuits4
Math171, 172, 216[N] Calculus I & II, Discrete Structures4/4/3
Physics201, 202[P]Physics for Scientists & Engineers4/4
Psych105[S] Introduction to Psychology3
Total Credits for Years 1 & 250

Major Core Courses

Years 3 and 4
PrefixCourse No.[GER]TitleCredits
Biol353 Mammalian Physiology4
Engl402[M]Technical and Professional Writing3
MBioS301 General Genetics4
MBioS303  Introductory Biochemistry4
Neuro301 or 302 Exploring the Brain or Honors3
Neuro403[M]Cellular Neurobiology3
Neuro404 Neuroanatomy3
Neuro430[M]Principles of Neurophysiology4
495 or
 Directed Research or
Special Problems

2 credits total from 495 or 499

Neuro490 Senior Project1
Phil201[H]Elementary Logic3

Total Credits for Years 3 & 4


Plus select one of the three tracks below:

1. Breadth-of-field Track (No Minor)
The Breadth of Field Track allows the student to balance software and hardware courses and, in addition, include the modeling aspects of computation in their course of study.  This track is recommended for students who wish to maximize the opportunities for advanced study following the BS degree.
PrefixCourse No.TitleCredits
BE340Unified Bioengineering I4
EE261/262Electrical Circuits3/1
Math220, 273, 315 Linear Algebra, Calculus III, Differential Equations2/2/3
Electives(see below)1Select nine (9) credits from elective courses list below9
2. Software Emphasis Track (Computer Science Minor)
Programmed instructions are the basis of machine intelligence. Through the software emphasis track, the student acquires a thorough background in machine instructions leading to intelligent operations. The two courses that culminate this sequence (one in artificial intelligence, the other in human cognition) provide contrast between machine and human intelligence.
PrefixCourse No.TitleCredits
CptS223Advanced Data Structures3
CptS224 Programming Tools2
CptS322Software Engineering Principles3
CptS440Intro to Artificial  Intelligence3
Psych490 Cognition and Memory3
Electives(see below)1Select five (5) credits from elective courses list below. At least three (3) credits must be from the upper division CptS courses.5
3. Hardware Emphasis Track (Computer Engineering Minor)
Neural circuitry and neural system components are both similar and different from electronic circuitry and computational system components.  These similarities and differences are fundamental to the link between neurosciences and computational science. The hardware emphasis track provides the neuroscience student the opportunity to explore these similarities and differences.
PrefixCourse No.TitleCredits
EE261/262Electrical Circuits3/1
EE234 Microprocessor Systems4
EE324 Fundamentals of Digital Systems4
EE/CptS300/400 levelSelect three  (3) credits of upper division EE or CptS from the elective course list below.13
Math220, 273, 315Linear Algebra, Calculus III, Differential Equations2/2/3
Electives(see below)1Select two (2) credits from elective courses list below. 2
1 Elective Courses  
(Other science courses may be substituted based on advisor approval.)
PrefixCourse No.TitleCredits
Biol315Gross and Microanatomy4
Biol321Principles of Animal Development4
Biol352Cell Physiology3
Biol438 [M]Animal Behavior3
Cpt S422Software Engineering Principles3
Cpt S423Software Engineering Laboratory3
Cpt S434Neural Network Design and Application3
Cpt S440 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
Cpt S443 Computer-Human Interaction3
Cpt S445Digital Image Processing3
Cpt S446Animation Programming3
Cpt S450Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
EE311 Electronics3
EE321Electrical Circuits II3
EE324 Fundamentals of Digital Systems4
EE341Signals and Systems3
EE441Digital Control3
EE451Digital Communication Systems3
EE464Digital Signal Processing3
MBioS378Intro to Molecular Biology Computer Techniques3
MBios401 Introductory Cell Biology3
Neuro409/509Affective Neuroscience3
Neuro506*Generation, Degeneration, Regeneration in the Nervous System2
Neuro520*Fundamental Neuroscience4
Neuro526*Domestic and Exotic Animal Behavior2
Neuro529*Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology4
Neuro540*Special Topics in Integrative Neuroscience3
Neuro541*Special Topics in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience3
Neuro542*Special Topics in Disciplinary Neuroscience3
Neuro543*Special Topics in Behavioral/Clinical Neuroscience3
Psych490 Cognition and Memory3

*Graduate Study By Seniors:
Seniors who have at least a 3.00 grade point average in the last half of their undergraduate coursework at Washington State University may register for up to six semester hours of work in the Graduate School in excess of the number of hours required to complete the bachelor's degree.  Graduate School approval is required at the time of registration.  Only grades of "B" or higher may be applied toward an advanced degree. Seniors who wish to enroll in 500-level courses for undergraduate credit must obtain the approval of their major advisor and the Chair of the department or program in which the course is offered.