Neuroscience and Behavior Major (B.S.)

The major in neuroscience and behavior (NSB) offers an interdisciplinary approach to human and non-human behavior, focusing on the evolution and adaptiveness of certain behaviors, as well as their underlying neural mechanisms. Students who have always been fascinated by how the brain functions will be well served by this major, as will those who love wild animals and wish to better understand their behavior. The B.S. in neuroscience and behavior is based on a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and genetics (foundation courses). These are followed by a two-semester course sequence that covers the fundamentals of neuroscience and behavior. Students can then pick five or more electives focusing on areas of interest.

NSB students are encouraged to take advantage of research experiences in the laboratories of the psychology and biology faculty in the program. This provides valuable experience with cutting-edge equipment and techniques. Some students may share aspects of a larger project, whereas others may be relatively independent and design their own project under supervision. In either case, important skills are gained by the discipline of gathering data, analyzing and interpreting it, and presenting it to a broader audience.

The curriculum provides most of the requirements and recommended courses for students seeking admission to graduate school and to professional schools in medicine and veterinary medicine. Students who might choose not to go on to advanced degrees are well-prepared for employment as skilled technicians in research laboratories or, if their interests are in animal behavior, as field research assistants or animal trainers. With additional courses in education, the B.S. in NSB also qualifies graduates to teach at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels.

Faculty participating in the NSB major combine a love of teaching and student mentoring with a passion for research, and encourage student participation. Research facilities that students can use include the Integrative Animal Behavior and Ecoacoustics laboratory, the confocal imaging center, the Hubbard Center for Genomic Studies, and the many marine, freshwater, and estuarine laboratories associated with UNH programs. Students can also take summer courses at the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in NSB are required to take foundation courses in basic science, core courses, and five electives from an extensive list of courses, including some offered by other departments including biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and natural resources. Minimum grade of D- or better is required in CHEM 403, CHEM 404, CHEM 545/CHEM 546, and PHYS 401; minimum grade of C- or better is required in all other courses. Finally, a capstone experience is required. This may be independent research, an advanced seminar, or other special student activity. It is meant to integrate prior experience and take the student to a new level in an area of special interest.

NSB Foundation courses
NSB 400Topics Neuroscience & Behavior1
BIOL 411
BIOL 412
Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular
and Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology (2 semesters)
CHEM 403
CHEM 404
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II (2 semesters)
CHEM 545
CHEM 546
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
BMCB 658
BMCB 659
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry Lab
PHYS 401Introduction to Physics I4
PSYC 402Statistics in Psychology4
or BIOL 528 Applied Biostatistics I
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4
NSB 500
NSB 501
Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Behavior I
and Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Behavior I Laboratory
NSB 502
NSB 503
Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Behavior II/Systems Neuroscience
and Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Behavior II Laboratory
Electives (Choose 5)20-22
Model Organisms in Biological and Medical Research
Principles of Cell Biology
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
and Human Anatomy and Physiology II 1
Mammalian Physiology
Special Topics (C)
Human Genetics
and Neurology Lab 1
Field Animal Behavior (SML, C)
Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (C)
Animal Communication (C)
Neuroscience and Philosophy
Sensation and Perception
Psychology of Primates
Cognitive Psychology
Behavior Analysis
Visual Perception (C)
Cognitive Neuroscience (C)
Animal Cognition (C)
Brain and Behavior (C)
Drugs and Behavior (C)
Neurobiology of Mood Disorders (C)
Attention Disorders (C)
Behavioral Medicine (C)
Animal Behavior
Special Topics (Fundamentals of Substance Abuse, Neurobiology of Spatial Cognition, Fundamentals of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience of Memory, Behavioral Neuroscience, Science of Daydreaming C)
Principles of Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Laboratory 1
Conservation Behavior (C)
Behavioral Ecology (C)
Genes and Behavior (C)
Acoustic Ecology (C)
Neuroethology (C)
795/796 or 799 Independent Study, (C) 2
Capstone 3
Total Credits69-71

Both must be taken to count as one of the 5 required major electives


One experience totaling at least 4 credits, but can be earned over the course of two consecutive semesters provided the experience is with the same research mentor. Can only substitute for one elective.


Courses that are eligible to fulfill the Capstone requirement are indicated with a (C) and must be taken senior year.  You can: 1) designate a course as a Capstone course, with additional requirements as determined by the instructor; 2) complete one semester of Capstone Research (BIOL 795, PSYC 795, or INCO 790); 3) do an honors thesis in Neuroscience and Behavior (NSB 799H) or Biology or Psychology (BIOL 799H or PSYC 797/PSYC 799) or; 4) participate in an alternative activity with approval from the student’s academic advisor.

NSB majors may use BIOL 411, BIOL 412, CHEM 403, CHEM 404, PHYS 401, PHYS 407 and either PSYC 402 or BIOL 528 to fulfill the Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Discovery Lab, and Quantitative Reasoning Discovery requirements. Students transferring into the NSB program from other UNH majors must hold a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 at the time of requested major change.  


Students demonstrate that they understand basic principles of neuroscience and behavior.

  • Apply the core principles of biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics to more advanced concepts in neuroscience and behavior.
  • Apply the principles of evolution and genetics to understand how genotype and phenotype affect the structure and function of animal nervous systems and behavior.
  • Describe the basic features of animal nervous system development, organization, signaling, integration, and higher-level processing, and how these are altered in diseases of the nervous system.
  • Explain the four levels of analysis emphasized in modern animal behavior research: causation, development, function, and evolution.
  • Describe molecular and cellular approaches to the study of brain structure, function, and development, as well as behavioral and cognitive neuroscience approaches to studying higher level brain functions.

Students demonstrate that they can undertake scientifically valid methods of inquiry.

  • Apply appropriate research methods, laboratory techniques, and statistical methods to investigate scientific questions in neuroscience and behavior.

Students demonstrate that they can think critically and analytically.

  • Read and critique primary research literature related to the nervous system, how nervous system function generates behavior, and how behavior addresses fitness-related challenges across a diversity of species.

Students demonstrate that they can communicate effectively.

  • Demonstrate scientific writing skills, and proficiency in delivering oral presentations related to both the primary literature and findings from student investigations in neuroscience and behavior.

Students practice science responsibly and ethically, and acknowledge the influence of cultural and historical biases in the sciences.