Program in Neuroscience

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Neuroscience is offered by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. The neuroscience certificate program is designed for undergraduates with strong interests in pursuing an interdisciplinary study of the brain. The program encourages the serious study of molecular, cellular, developmental, and systems neuroscience as it interfaces with cognitive and behavioral research. Current neuroscience research examples at Princeton include: plasticity and timing-dependent learning rules at synapses, coincidence detection and computation in dendrites, adaptation and pattern detection in neural circuits, cellular and circuit mechanisms of short-term memory, sensory-motor transformations in the cerebral cortex, neural stem cells in the adult brain, viral infections of the nervous system, brain-imaging studies of cognitive functions such as attention and memory in human subjects, and mathematical and computational analysis of neural network function.

The program offers a combination of courses and interdisciplinary research that meet the requirements of the molecular biology and psychology departments. Students majoring in other disciplines are also encouraged to enroll in the program. A course of study tailored to the requirements of their home department can be designed with the help of the program directors. In the past, students from a wide range of majors -- including engineering, economics, chemistry, art history, English, and music -- have successfully completed the neuroscience certificate program. Students in the neuroscience certificate program will be prepared to meet the entry requirements of graduate schools in neuroscience, as well as molecular biology or psychology. A certificate in neuroscience is awarded to students who successfully complete the program.

Admission to the Program

Students are admitted to the program by filling out an enrollment form that can be found on our website.

Program of Study

Students in the Program in Neuroscience pursue a course of study built upon their departmental concentration that consists of the curriculum listed below, plus junior and senior independent work in neuroscience. Program courses may not be taken Pass/D/Fail.

Note: Independent Work will no longer be required beginning with the Class of 2017.


One year of calculus: MAT 103 and MAT 104
One semester of statistics in any department can be substituted for a semester of calculus
Higher math can also be substituted for calculus: MAT 201, 202, 203, or 204
Advanced placement credit for math is assessed according to the standards of the Math Department

Note: The math prerequisites will no longer be required beginning with the Class of 2017.

Neuroscience Requirements:

NEU201/PSY 258 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
NEU 202/PSY 259 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

In addition to these two core courses, all students are expected to take at least four neuroscience electives. Students should consult the neuroscience certificate website for the list of neuroscience electives. In recognition that neuroscience is an interdisciplinary program whose excitement lies in new and changing areas at the interface of biology, psychology, and other related disciplines, alternative programs of study may be arranged at the discretion of the program directors and the Neuroscience Curriculum Committee.

Independent Work

Junior and Senior Independent Research

Independent research topics can be laboratory or theoretical research projects. All neuroscience certificate students must have their topic approved in advance by the program directors, in consultation with faculty advisers.

Juniors: Requirements for junior independent work are determined by each student's home department.

Seniors: A senior thesis in neuroscience is an important component of the neuroscience certificate program and is supervised by a faculty member affiliated with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. For students concentrating in departments that make it impossible to do senior thesis research that fulfills both departmental and certificate program expectations, an additional research report will be required. This report must be co-advised by a faculty member affiliated with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

Note: Beginning with the Class of 2017 Independent Work is no longer be required.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate in neuroscience upon graduation.