Jul 22, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Behavioral Neuroscience, BS

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Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

112-120 credits


Behavioral neuroscience explores the role of the nervous system in normal and abnormal behavior, thought, and emotion. This major emphasizes an understanding of nervous system structure and function from the molecular/cellular level to the systems level. For example, behavioral neuroscientists study the neurobiological basis of normal learning and memory, psychiatric illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and drug abuse and neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Why Consider a Behavioral Neuroscience Major?

This interdisciplinary field provides students with the specialized preparation and technological sophistication critical for success in a variety of graduate-training programs, including neuroscience, psychology, pharmacology, mental health, and neurobiology; and in health care, including medicine and dentistry. For those students who do not anticipate pursuing post-graduate education, the degree program provides an excellent platform for entry-level positions in such areas as biomedical research and the pharmaceutical industry.

 Contact Information

Program Director
Kelly Jantzen
Academic Instructional Center 584


Faculty Advisors
Janet Finlay, Jeff Carroll, Jeffrey Grimm, Kelly Jantzen, Joshua Kaplan, Mike Mana, Jacqueline Rose.

 Sample Careers

Neuroscientist | Biomedical Researcher | Psychiatrist | Medical Doctor | Dentist | Pharmacist | Veterinarian | Physician Assistant | Pharmaceutical Sales

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Students interested in the BNS major declare a BNS pre-major while they are completing the required prerequisite courses for application to the major. Students must have a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) of 2.60 or higher. In the absence of a Western GPA, a GPA of 2.60 or higher from an equivalent four-year institution (based on at least 12 credits) or a cumulative GPA from a completed Associates degree may substitute for the Western GPA. Students meet with the BNS Program Coordinator to declare a BNS pre-major. Admission to the BNS pre-major does not guarantee admission to the BNS major.

Students are eligible to apply to the BNS major once they have completed the following requirements:

  • Complete at least 75 undergraduate credits.
  • Complete the following courses with an average grade point of 2.9 or higher: CHEM 161, CHEM 162, CHEM 163; BIOL 204, BIOL 205, BIOL 206; PSY 101, PSY 220.
  • After completing the above, submit an online application via the BNS Program website at wp.wwu.edu/bnsprogram. The online application includes a series of essay questions. For assistance with your application, see the BNS Program Coordinator in AI 574. This is a competitive application process. Admission to the BS-BNS major is space-limited.

Application deadlines: Students can declare a BNS pre-major at any time. The application deadline for consideration of BNS major status is the end of the second full week of classes fall, winter, and spring quarters.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major courses.


Basic Requirements

Seminar Requirements (5 credits)

Electives Under Advisement (10 credits)

Credits from PSY 319, PSY 321, and PSY 324 can only be applied once.

Additional Information

A maximum combined total of 3 credits in BNS 300, 400 or BIOL 395, 494, 495 can be applied to the major.

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