Elective Courses

For the NBB major, elective courses are offered from different programs, departments and schools. While this distinction is not critical for your progress through the major, it is important to know that because of the interdisciplinary nature of the NBB Program, elective courses might not be offered on a regular basis or might be added to the elective list at the last moment. Thus, students should refer to the most recent posting of the elective course listing, which will be found on the Current Course Offerings page.

Electives offered from the NBB Program

Elective courses offered from the NBB Program

NBB 270R - Special Topics in NBB
NBB 299 - Explore NBB Research
NBB 300 - The Musical Brain (Crosslisted as MUS 309)
NBB 317 - Human Social Neuroscience
NBB 319 - The Anthropology of Fatherhood (cross-listed as ANT 319)
NBB 321 - Behavioral Neuroendocrinology of Sex (Cross-listed as PSYC 321)
NBB 361W - Neurophysiology Laboratory
NBB 370 - Variable topics in NBB
NBB 404W - Roots of Modern Neuroscience Seminar
NBB 414 - Brain and Cognitive Development (Cross-listed as PSYC 414)
NBB 424 - Medical Neuropathology
NBB 425 - Brain Imaging (Cross-listed as PSYC 425)
NBB 426 – Neuropharmacology & Placebo (Cross-listed as PSYC 426)
NBB 460 - Building Brains (Cross-listed as BIO 460)
NBB 470R - Special Topics in NBB
NBB 471R - Global Topics in NBB
NBB 481 - Neuroeconomics (Cross-listed as ECON 481)
NBB 490 - Clinical Neurology Study
NBB495A - Honors Research
NBB495BW - Honors Research
NBB499R - Undergraduate Research

Course Descriptions:

NBB 270R Special Topics in NBB

Variable topics of special interest in the field of Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology

NBB 299 Explore NBB Research This class is designed for first- and second-year students who are looking for a broad understanding of the breadth of what NBB actually is. This class would be excellent preparation for students who have recently joined a research lab/team or who are considering joining a research lab/team. We will explore practical questions about research with discussions, cases and guest speakers. Grading will be based on class participation, reflections in a seminar journal, short investigative papers, and a professional portfolio. NBB299 is an elective for the NBB major.

NBB 300 The Musical Brain (crosslisted at MUS 309)

This course examines the subjective experience and neural substrates of music perception and performance. Each week the class participates in a dialog between musicians and neuroscientists that examines both the experiential and mechanistic approach to music by asking questions such as "What makes something musical and how are the complex sounds of music processed by the brain?" The relationships of music to language, emotion and memory will be examined in detail. Theories of motor learning will be discussed and applied to musical performance. The course explores the development of the musical mind from infancy to adulthood and asks the question, "How are the brains of composers, conductors, and performers different?" Evidence of the efficacy of music therapy and the impact of music on mental health are evaluated. Finally the evolution of musicality in animals and humans is examined.

Prerequisites: Any one of the following courses: Biol 120; Biol 141,142; OR Music 114; Music 121-122.

Particulars: NBB 301 is highly recommended and basic knowledge of neuroscience is expected

NBB 317 Human Social Neuroscience (crosslisted as ANT 317)

Neurobiological substrates supporting human social cognition and behavior. Review and sythesis of relevant research in neuropsychology, psychiatry, neuroimaging, and experimental animal research.

NBB 319 Anthropology of Fatherhood (crosslisted as ANT 319)

This course will explore fatherhood from an anthropological perspective. It will describe an attempt to explain variation in male parental care across species, across cultures and across individuals within a culture. Emphasis will be placed on hormonal and neurobiological foundations of paternal care, evolutionary theory, ethnography and developmental psychology.

NBB 321 Behavioral Neuroendocrinology of Sex (crosslisted as PSYC 321)

Explores hormonal contributions to the development and expression of gender and sexual behavior in animals and humans.

NBB 350 Animal Welfare (No longer offered)

In this course we will explore the ethical issues which arise when humans interact with other animals. Particular focus will be placed on concerns relevant to neuroscientists and other researchers. We will analyze the philosophical debates about the moral status of animals and examine the existing scientific evidence that we can bring to bear on animal welfare issues. Our overall objective is to achieve open and critical thinking about animal welfare issues.

Texts: Textbook and other readings.

NBB 361W Neurophysiology Laboratory

Record intracellularly and extracellularly from invertebrates to examine sensory and motor circuits, synaptic plasticity, and ionic bases of potentials. Part of the semester is devoted to student-designed projects. Special attention is given to scientific writing and presentation of data.

Prerequisite: NBB 301 (BIOL 360)

Taught every spring; 2 hours lecture and 3 hours lab (4 credits)

NBB 370R Special Topics in NBB

Variable topics of special interest in the field of Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology

NBB 404W  Roots of Modern Neuroscience Seminar

Using a combination of literature, film, and laboratory demonstrations, this course will trace contemporary issues in neuroscience from their origins in the 18th and 19th centuries to new frontiers.  Among the topics treated will be localization vs. holism, visionaries and their models, conflicts and controversies between scientists and their students, and philosophical concepts vs. instrument-based inquiry.  Some examples of the readings are papers by Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Hermann von Helmholtz, Sir Charles Sherrington, and Sigmund Freud; the novels Frankenstein and Neuromancer; and the film Pi

NBB 414 Brain and Cognitive Development (crosslisted as PSYC 414)

The course examines developmental changes in brain function and organization linked to different aspects of sensory, language, and non-language cognitive processes during the first three years of life.

NBB 424 Medical Neuropathology

The primary focus of this course will be to provide an overview of the organic foundations of selected neurological disorders. The first part of the course will be an introduction to the functional neuroanatomy of the "normal" brain. The second part of the course will introduce some clinical aspects related to damage/degeneration in these areas; such as stroke, ischemia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Epilepsy, amnesias/dementias paying attention to traditional neuropsychological assessment/tests that differentiate among them.

NBB 425 Brain Imaging

This course will focus on the application of imaging technology to the study of brain function and anatomy. We will cover the history of the development of brain imaging methods, the technical basis for various imaging methods, and learn to apply imaging methods in the realms of both basic and clinical science.

NBB 426 Neuropharmacology & Placebo (same as PSYC 426; formerly Drug Development)

Students will learn about pharmacology and the randomized clinical trials process for psychoactive drugs.  The neuroscience of and impact of placebo effects on new psychotherapeutic drug approvals will be studied by reading and writing about the relevant primary literature.

Co- or pre-requisites: NBB/ANT317 or NBB301 or BIOL336 or PSYCH103 or PSYCH323

NBB 460 Building Brains (crosslisted as BIO 460)

Course will explore the current understanding of the mechanisms that regulate development of the nervous system. Topics covered include neurogenesis, axon guidance, programmed cell death, and synapse formation.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142.

NBB 470R Special Topics in NBB

Variable topics of special interest in the field of Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology

NBB 471R Global Topics in NBB

Study of variable topics in neuroscience and behavioral biology in a context outside the US.  May be repeated when topics vary.

NBB 481 Neuroeconomics (crosslisted as ECON 481)

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the field of neuroeconomics. Upon completion of the course, students will have a basic understanding of the tools used to study the neurobiology of decision making. Topics will include an introduction to brain anatomy, how neurons function, and key neurotransmitter systems associated with valuation. A core topic will be an introduction to functional MRI and how to use fMRI to measure neurobiological processes of decision making. Practical applications will be covered including the use of fMRI to predict choice, lie detection, social preferences, and neuromarketing.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 212, or NBB 301 and 302, or consent of instructor.

Particulars: Midterm “white paper” (20%), final research proposal or business plan in which the student proposes a use of fMRI in an economic or business application (paper – 40%, presentation – 40%).

NBB 490 Clinical Neurology Study

This is course is offered in the Fall, Spring, and in the summer as NBB 490/MD Summer Experience at Emory (MD-SEE)

Spring and Fall

Students will act as a "patient assistant" helping patients who may have partial paralysis or loss of sensation.  Students will choose an individual patient to present and will conduct research on the patient's neurological problem. Pre-requisites: NBB 301 and permission of instructor.

Summer (MD-SEE program)

Much more than a shadowing program, the MD-SEE offers genuine clinical experience, classroom guidance on presentations, and a vigorous look at current issues and practices in medicine.  This course will cover variable topics of special interest in the field of Clinical Neurology.  Undergraduates will have an opportunity to correlate experience with actual patients with the science behind the diagnosis.  During their time in the clinics, students will act as a "patient assistant." helping patients who may have partial paralysis or loss of sensation.  They will learn the basics of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and will record patients' history and neurological findings in compliance with HIPAA while observing real-life patient examinations.  Students then will choose a neurology patient each week on whom to conduct research and will present the case to peers in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Each student will be assigned a Clinical Neurology faculty mentor who will help develop the writing and poster projects.  Toward the end of the six-week course, students will select the one de-identified patient encountered that embodied their greatest interest and will formally present the case in the format of a scientific meeting.  Each student will observe and practice the techniques of both platform and poster presentations. Publication of student work will be encouraged, co-authored by the faculty mentor. Pre-requisites: Introductory Biology, Human Physiology and/or and Introductory Neuroscience course.  Rising juniors and seniors preferred.

NBB495A Honors Research - Open only to seniors qualified for the Honors Program. Must commit at least 12 hours a week to the project. In general, these students should be highly independent and making significant intellectual contributions to the research. NBB495 students will attend regular meetings with other students in NBB495, form a thesis committee, report on progress, write and defend a thesis, and present a poster in the NBB symposium at the end of the spring semester.  Eight credits of NBB499R or NBB495 can count as 2 electives for the NBB major.

NBB495BW Honors Research - Open only to seniors in the Honors Program who have completed 495A. NBB495BW students will attend regular meetings with other students in NBB495, report on progress, write and defend a thesis, and present a poster in the NBB symposium at the end of the spring semester.  Eight credits of NBB499R or NBB495 can count as 2 electives for the NBB major

NBB499R Undergraduate Research - This course is designed for students who are more-or-less ‘up and running’ and gaining independence on a specific research project. Students are expected to be familiar with the project and techniques before the semester starts so they will be able to ramp up productivity and independence quickly during the semester. NBB499 may be taken for 3-4 credits per semester. NBB499 students should be working on a specific research question with growing independence and responsibility. NBB499 students will attend regular meetings with other students in NBB499, write a research proposal and/or research report each semester, and present a poster in the NBB symposium at the end of the spring semester. Eight credits of NBB499R or NBB495 can count as 2 electives for the NBB major.

Electives offered from the Anthropology Department

Elective courses offered from the Anthropology Department

ANT 210 - Human Biology: A Life Cycle Approach
ANT 302 - Primate Behavior and Ecology
ANT 304 - Primate Social Psychology (cross-listed as PSYC 325)
ANT 305 - The Human Brain
ANT 306 - Primate Mating Strategies
ANT 307 - Human Evolution
ANT 310 - Communicastion in Primates
ANT 311 - Nutritional Anthropology
ANT 316 - Evolution: Human Brain and Mind
ANT 317 - Human Social Neuroscience
ANT 319 - The Anthropology of Fatherhood (cross-listed as NBB 319)
ANT 321 - Anthropology of Human Reproduction
ANT 323 - Sex Differences: Biological Bases
ANT 333 - Disease and Behavior
ANT 334 - Evolutionary Medicine
ANT 338 - Global Health: Biosocial Model
ANT 339: Defining Health: Biocult.Persp
ANT 385 - Variable Topics on Anthropology (✪ Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
ANT 450/450W - The Evolution of Childhood

Course Descriptions:

ANT 210 Human Biology: A Life Cycle Approach

Human biology from conception to senescence, in an evolutionary and cross-cultural context, emphasizing neural and neuroendocrine processes underlying behavior and reproduction. Conception, fetal development, birth, infant growth, puberty, pregnancy, adult sexuality and aging.

ANT 302 Primate Behavior and Ecology

This course surveys the social behavior, behavioral ecology, and adaptations of nonhuman primate species, the extant prosimians, monkeys, and apes.

ANT 304 Primate Social Psychology (crosslisted as PSYC 325 and BIOL 325)

Recent progress in the field of primate social behavior, particularly the role of cognition in complex social strategies.  The course will evolve into an understanding of the actions of several drugs in the brain and consequent effects on behavior.

ANT 305 The Human Brain

This course introduces principles and findings relevant to the understanding of behavior, especially social behavior.  The phylogenetic range of the course will be as wide as is appropriate to elucidate a given principle, but the focus will be on the human species.  The approach will be to bring evolutionary, physiological, and developmental principles to bear on a given question about behavior.

Prerequisite:  Anthropology 201 or Anthropology 210 or Biology 142. 

ANT 306/306W Primate Mating Strategies

Comparative study of primate mating strategies and sexual behavior.

Prerequisite: Anthropology 302. (as 306W will fulfill writing requirement)

ANT 307 Human Evolution        

Integrates data and theory from genetics, geology, and paleoanthropological evidence.  Opposing theories regarding the interpretation of data will be the focus of evaluation.

ANT 310 Communication in Primates

This course examines human as well as non-human primate communication systems from an evolutionary perspective.  Topics covered include signal structure and function, information content of signals, honesty, deceit, and the evolution of language in humans.

ANT 311 Nutritional Anthropology

Introduction to the evolution, diversity, and social significance of human diet and nutrition.

ANT 316  Evolution of Human Brain and Mind

Evolutionary modifications of the human rain as evidenced by the fossil and archeological record; by comparisons between human and non-human brains with respect to anatomy, function, and development; and by comparisons between human and non-human cognition.  Special emphasis will be placed on the evolved neural bases of human language, cooperation, morality, social cognition, and pair bonding.

ANT 317 Human Social Neuroscience (crosslisted as NBB 317)

Neurobiological substrates supporting human social cognition and behavior. Review and synthesis of relevant research in neuropsychology, psychiatry, neuroimaging and experimental animal research.

ANT 319 Anthropology of Fatherhood (crosslisted as NBB 319)

This course will explore fatherhood from an anthropological perspective. It will describe an attempt to explain variation in male parental care across species, across cultures and across individuals within a culture. Emphasis will be placed on hormonal and neurobiological foundations of paternal care, evolutionary theory, ethnography and developmental psychology.

ANT 321 Anthropology of Human Reproduction

This course examines biological, cultural and behavioral determinants of human reproduction

ANT 323 Sex Differences: Biological Bases

Examination of the biological bases of sex differences and their development

ANT 333 Disease & Human Behavior

Biological and cultural adaptations to disease, the role of specific diseases in evolution, social epidemiological patterns related to culture, contemporary issues in disease control, and economic development. Considers a variety of diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, diabetes, and depression.

ANT 334 Evolutionary medicine

Survey of the application of Darwinian evolutionary principles to human vulnerability to a variety of disease (e. g. cancer, depression, atherosclerosis). The evolution of defenses against disease is reviewed.

ANT 338/338W Global Health: Biosocial Model

This course surveys the global landscape of challenges to physical and mental health that confront us today, and traces the emergence of biosocial approaches to both explaining and tackling these challenges. (As 338W, can fulfill writing requirement)

ANT 339 Defining Health: Biocultural Perspective

Evolutionary perspectives provide a background for understanding the limitation imposed by biomedical frameworks and out understanding of human biological variability. Flexibility in gene expression and human phenotypes reflect the importance of bicultural influences on health.

ANT 385 Various Topics (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

Rotating topics in Anthropology.  Not all ANT 385 courses will count as NBB electives.  Check the Current Course Offerings tab to determine if a given course is considered an NBB elective.

ANT 450/450W The Anthropology of Childhood

This course will cover the evolutionary and anatomical foundations of psychological, especially social and emotional, development, as well as comparative socialization and cross-cultural varieties of enculturation. We will read the instructor’s book on the subject, which has four major sections (evolution, maturation, socialization, enculturation) and a concluding section. Among the topics covered will be relevant parts of: life history theory, evolution of ontogeny, evolutionary developmental psychology, neural and neuroendocrine development from fetal life through puberty and parenthood, comparative socialization with an emphasis on primates and other mammals, early experience effects, stress responses in animal models and children, hunter-gatherer childhood as the human cultural baseline, cross-cultural comparisons of childhood and childrearing, theories of culture and personality, cultural evolution, human universals, and a proposed “culture acquisition device” common to all (normal) human brains and minds. Among the questions we will consider are: How did parent-offspring conflict figure in human evolution? What in social and emotional development depends as much or more on “postnatal neuroembryology” as on experience? How do socialization and enculturation differ? What are our legacies from mammalian, primate, ape, and earlier hominin development? Is “maternal sentiment” a human universal? Is culture unique to humans? How do genetic and cultural evolution interact? Are there commonalities of process at varied levels of analysis such as evolution, brain development, learning, socialization, and enculturation? And, finally, what are the unique features of human childhood?

Special/Variable Topics Courses: Across the College, “special/variable topics” courses (often XXX 385) or "Seminar" courses may change topics from semester to semester. Some special topics are pre-approved by the NBB Director, DUS or NBB CC, and listed as NBB electives; others have not been.  When advising students, please confirm with the NBB DUS that a particular special topics courses fulfills NBB elective credit.  Please let NBB know if you want a course you teach to be listed as an NBB elective.

Electives offered from the Biology Department

Elective courses offered from the Biology Department

BIOL 241 - Evolutionary Biology (offered as BIOL 341 on study abroad)
BIOL 320 - Animal Behavior (cross-listed as PSYC 320)
BIOL 325 - Primate Social Psychology
BIOL 336   Human Physiology
BIOL 348 - Mechanisms of Animal Behavior
BIOL 402 - Neuroscience Live
BIOL 434 - Physical Biology
BIOL 440/440W - Animal Communication (cross-listed as PSYC 440)
BIOL 450 - Computational Neuroscience
BIOL 475 - The Biology of The Eye

Course Descriptions:

BIOL 241 Evolutionary Biology

A study of the factors that cause genetic change and of the evolutionary consequences of such changes.  Topics include population genetics, adaptation and natural selection, evolution of genes, proteins and genomes, sexual selection, kin selection, speciation, and diversification of taxa. Emphasis on molecular, genetic, ecological, and evolutionary factors related to variation and adaptation to environment, and constraints on adaptation of human physiology.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142.  Also taught as a summer study abroad program in conjunction with Biology 349-SAF (Ecology of Invasions).

BIOL 320 Animal Behavior (crosslisted as PSYC 320)

Provides an overview of major research areas in the field of animal behavior.  The behavior of animals will be analyzed from an evolutionary and comparative perspective.  Some topics included are orientation and migration, genetic and environmental influences on behavior, population regulation, courtship and mating strategies, and parental behavior.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142

BIOL 325 Primate Social Psychology (crosslisted as ANT 304 and PSYC 325)

Covers recent progress in the field of primate social behavior. Topics range from aggression and dominance to affiliation, sex, and peaceful coexistence.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142, Psychology 320 is recommended.

BIOL 336 Human Physiology

A study of human physiology emphasizing integrated body functions.  Topics include respiration, circulation, contractility, osmoregulation, endocrinology, and neurophysiology.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 348 Mechanisms of Animal Behavior

A survey of current topics in neural development and neural basis of behavior.  Emphasis is on research work that uses a combination of physiological, genetic, cellular, and molecular techniques to understand neural systems and their evolution and development.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142, Biology 336 or 360, Chemistry 141 and 142, or permission of instructor.

BIOL 385 Special Topics in Biology (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

Rotating topics in Biology.Not all BIOL 385 courses will count as NBB electives.  Check the Current Course Offerings tab to determine if a given course is considered an NBB elective.  Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142.

BIOL 402/402W Neuroscience Live (occasionally taught)

This seminar covers current topics of neuroscience research. Students will learn how to read and critique research papers and how to write and prepare a research grant proposal; and will also interact in a ‘live’ format with authors of the research papers.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142; Pre- or Corequisite: NBB 301 or Biology 360 (As 402W, can fulfill Writing Requirement).

BIOL 434 Physical Biology (crosslisted as PHYS 434)

This course explores the physical and statistical constraints on strategies used by biological systems, from bacteria to large organisms and to entire populations, to sense external environmental signals, process them, and shape a response.

BIOL 440/440W  Animal Communication (crosslisted as PSYC 440)

Functions, evolution, ecology, and significance of animal communication systems in a wide taxonomic range from insects to primates.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142 (As 440W, can fulfill Writing Requirement.)

BIOL 450 Computation Neuroscience

Exploration of single neurons and biological neural networks with computer simulations. Each class consists of an introductory lecture followed by computer tutorials using GENISIS software under UNIX. Specific topics include passive cable theory, compartmental modeling, voltage gated and synaptic conductances, motor pattern generation, and cortical networks.

Prerequisites:  Biology 141 and 142

BIOL 460 Building Brains (crosslisted as NBB 460; no longer offered)

Course will explore the current understanding of the mechanisms that regulate development of the nervous system. Topics covered include neurogenesis, axon guidance, programmed cell death, and synapse formation.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142.

BIOL 475 Biology of the Eye

A course designed for juniors, seniors, and graduate students who are interested in a basic understanding of the eye. This course will review basic principles and state-of-the-art information on ocular anatomy, embryology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, and pathology.

Prerequisites: Biology 141 and 142

Electives offered from the Psychology Department

Elective courses offered from the Psychology Department

PSYC 103 - Brain and Behavior
PSYC 209 - Perception and Action
PSYC 215 - Cognition
PSYC_Ox 222 – Intro to Clinical Neuroscience
PSYC 302 - Human Learning and Memory
PSYC 303 - Evolution of Acquired Behavior
PSYC 309 - Brain and Language
PSYC 313 - Neuropsychology and Developmental Disabilities
PSYC 320 - Animal Behavior (cross-listed as BIOL 320)
PSYC 321 - Behavioral Neuroendocrinology of Sex (cross-listed as NBB 321)
PSYC 322 - Biological Bases of Learning and Memory
PSYC 323 - Drugs and Behavior
PSYC 325 - Primate Social Psychology (cross-listed as ANT 325)
PSYC 335 - Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 350 - Behavioral Modification
PSYC 385 - Special Topics in Psychology (not all Special Topics courses will count as NBB electives. Contact your major advisor for guidance.)
PSYC 414 - Brain & Cognitive Development (cross-listed as NBB 414)
PSYC 415 - Sleep and Dreaming
PSYC 420/420W - Psychobiology of Visual Perception
PSYC 425 - Brain Imaging
PSYC 426 - Neuropharmacology & Placebo (cross listed as NBB 426)
PSYC 427 - Biological Foundations of Behavior: Hormones, Brain and Behavior
PSYC 440/440W - Animal Communication
PSYC 473/473R - Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psyc ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
PSYC 474/474R - Seminar: Developmental Psyc (✪ Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
PSYC 475/475R - Seminar: Personality & Social Psychology (✪ Requires written approval from NBB)
PSYC 476/476R - Seminar: Biological Foundations of Behavior (✪ Requires written approval from NBB)

Course Descriptions:

PSYC 103  Brain & Behavior

This is a course about the biology of behavior. Special attention is given to sex, eating, drinking, sleeping and waking. Other topics include: the influence of drugs on behavior, recovery of function after brain damage, and the neural and chemical substrates of pleasure and behavioral activation.

PSYC 209  Perception and Action

Perception of the world through the senses, gathering information about one’s surroundings by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and acting.

PSYC 215  Cognition

Theories and research addressing the nature of higher mental processes, including such areas of cognition as categorization, attention, memory, knowledge representation, imagery, Psycholinguistics, and problem solving.

PSYC 222_OX Clinical Neuroscience (crosslisted as NBB 223_OX)

An introduction to the neurobiology of mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. (Oxford Only)

PSYC 302  Human Learning and Memory

Research and theory concerning the way information about the world is acquired and remembered.

PSYC 303  Evolution of Acquired Behavior

The evolutionary basis of learning to adapt to the environment. Detailed analysis of the mechanisms of learning and their evolutionary function.

PSYC 309  Brain and Language (crosslisted as LING 309)

This course examines the relationship between brain mechanisms and language behavior.  Topics include aphasia and language disorders, aphasia in the deaf, critical periods in children, and gender differences in brain organization.

PSYC 313  Neuropsychology and Developmental Disabilities

The effects of conditions such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy on information processing behavior and psychological development in children.  Complex disorders such as learning disabilities, childhood psychoses, and mental retardation are examined in the light of what has been learned about the simpler disorders.

PSYC 320  Animal Behavior (crosslisted as BIOL 320)

Provides an overview of major research areas in the field of animal behavior.  The behavior of animals will be analyzed from an evolutionary and comparative perspective.  Some topics included are orientation and migration, genetic and environmental influences on behavior, population regulation, courtship and mating strategies, and parental behavior.

PSYC 321  Behavioral Neuroendocrinology of Sex (crosslisted as NBB 321)

This course examines the role hormones, particularly steroid hormones, play in the development and activation of reproductive behaviors in animals and humans.  In addition, the role of hormones in the development of sex differences in the brain and behavior will be explored.

PSYC 322  Biological Basis of Learning and Memory

Biological factors influencing memory with the attention to the findings from both animal and human research.

PSYC 323  Drugs and Behavior

A review of the behavioral and neurobiological actions of all the major psychoactive drugs, focusing on how drugs alter behavior by influencing brain mechanisms.

PSYC 325 Primate Social Psychology (crosslisted as ANT 304 and BIOL 325)

Recent progress in the field of primate social behavior, particularly the role of cognition in complex social strategies.  The course will evolve into an understanding of the actions of several drugs in the brain and consequent effects on behavior.

PSYC 335 Cognitive Neuroscience

An in-depth survey of the brain systems and mechanisms involved in perception, memory, awareness, communication, and other cognitive phenomena. 

Prerequisite: Psychology 110 or equivalent.

PSYC 350 Behavior Modification

Use the principles of behavior to enhance human functioning. Application of basic research and theory from experimental psychology to personal, social, and educational problems.

PSYC 414  Brain & Cognitive Development

This course examines developmental changes in brain function and organization linked to different aspects of sensory language, and non-language cognitive processes during the first three years of life.

PSYC 415 Sleep & Dreaming

Study of the neural mechanisms and phenomenology of sleep and dreaming in humans and other animals as a basis for discussing implications for behavior, cognition, evolution, and related philosophical issues.

PSYC 420/420W Psychobiology of Visual Perception

Theories and research about how the brain interacts with mind in generating perceptions.

Prerequisites:  Psychology 110 and 111 or Biology 141 and 142. (As 420W, can fulfill Writing Requirement)

PSYC 425 Brain Imaging (crosslisted as NBB 425)

This course will focus on the application of imaging technology to the study of brain function and anatomy.  We will cover the history of the development of brain imaging methods, methods, the technical basis for various imaging methods, and learn to apply imaging methods in the realms of both basic and clinical science.

PSYC 426  Neuropharmacology & Placebo (crosslisted as NBB426)

The focus will be drug development, namely the process by which a condition to be treated is identified and then medications are developed, tested, and finally distributed to patients.

Prerequisites:  Biology 141 and 142, Chemistry 141 and 142. 

PSYC 427  Biological Foundations of Behavior: Hormones, Brain and Behavior

The goal of this course is to explore the biological basis of behavior in a writing intensive, peer-oriented environment. We will read and discuss classic and current primary literature, and practice writing in style characteristic of scientific discussion.

Prerequisites: Prior completion of at least ONE of the following: PSYC 110, 103, NBB 201 or NBB 302. PSYC 320 is highly recommended.

PSYC 440/440W Animal Communication

Functions, evolution, ecology, and significance of animal communication systems in a wide taxonomic range from insects to primates. (As 440W, can Fulfill Writing Requirement.)

PSYC 473/473W Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psychology (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

PSYC 474R Seminar: Developmental Psychology (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

PSYC 475R Seminar Personality & Social Psychology (Requires written approval from NBB)

PSYC 476R/476RW Biological Foundations of Behavior ( Requires written approval from NBB)

Special/Variable Topics Courses: Across the College, “special/variable topics” courses (often XXX 385) or "Seminar" courses may change topics from semester to semester. Some special topics are pre-approved by the NBB Director, DUS or NBB CC, and listed as NBB electives; others have not been.  When advising students, please confirm with the NBB DUS that a particular special topics courses fulfills NBB elective credit.  Please let NBB know if you want a course you teach to be listed as an NBB elective.

Electives offered from other Departments or Schools

Elective courses offered from other Departments

CHEM 468W - Perspectives in Chemistry ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
ECON 481 - Neuroeconomics
ECS 490W - Emory College Seminar ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
ENG 386/386W - Literature and Science ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective))
ENG 389/389W - Special Topics: Literature ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective))
ENVS 385/385W - Topics: Environmental Science ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
MUS 309 - The Musical Brain (cross-listed as NBB 300)
PHIL 316 - BioEthics
PHIL 425/425W - Philosophy of Science
PHIL 482W - Topics in Philosophy ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
PHYS 380 - Special Topics in Physics ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)
PHYS 434 - Physical Biology (cross-listed as BIOL 434)
REL 370 - Cognitive Science of Religion

Course Descriptions:

CHEM 468W. Persepctives in Chemistry (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

ECON 481. Neuroeconomics (crosslisted as NBB 481)

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the field of neuroeconomics.  Upon completion of the course, students will have a basic understanding of the tools used to study the neurobiology of decision-making.

Prerequisites: Economics 201 and 212, or NBB 301 and 302, or consent of instructor. 

ECS 490W Emory College Seminar ( Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

ENG 386/386W Literature and Science (✪ Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

Exploration of the ways in which literary writers have developed scientific ideas and scientists have expressed themselves through creative writing.

ENG 389/389W Special Topics: Literature (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

ENVS 385/385W  Topics: Environmental Studiess (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)

Variable topics that are offered as irregular courses. Past course topics have included: Finding Place: Technology, Stories, and the Environment; Introduction to Botany; Environment, Health, and Development; Conservation and Development; Earth Materials: Minerology and Petrology; Booms and Busts in Resources of Georgia; and Paleoecology, Perspectives on Sustainable Development, Spatial and Landscape Ecology, Green Business, Perspectives on Sustainable Development.

MUS 309  The Musical Brain (crosslisted as NBB 300)

The course will examine the subjective experience and neural substrates of music perception and performance. Each week the class will participate in a dialog between musicians and neuroscientists examining both the experiential and mechanistic approach to music by asking questions such as "What makes something musical and how are the complex sounds of music processed by the brain?" Relationships of music to language, emotion and memory are examined as well as development of the musical mind from infancy to adulthood.  Music therapy impact and evolution of musicality in animals and humans will be investigated.

Prerequisites: Any one of the following courses: Biol 120; Biol 141,142; OR Music 114; Music 121-122.

Particulars: NBB 301 is highly recommended and basic knowledge of neuroscience is expected

PHIL 205  Introduction to Biomedical Ethics (not offered)

PHIL 316 Bioethics

This course explores the central questions of biomedical ethics, such as end-of-life issues, abortion, and justice in the distribution of health care.

PHIL 425/425W Philosophy of Science

Examination of scientific rationality and scientific method; topics covered include intertheoretic relations and the character of scientific change, concepts, theories, and explanations.

PHIL 482W Topics in Philosophy (Requires written approval from NBB to be counted as an elective)

PHYS 434 Physical Biology (crosslisted as BIOL 434)

This course will emphasize that all living systems have evolved to perform certain tasks in specific contexts.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

REL 370 The Cognitive Science of Religion (Requires written approval from NBB to count as an elective)       

Special/Variable Topics Courses: Across the College, “special/variable topics” courses (often XXX 385) or "Seminar" courses may change topics from semester to semester. Some special topics are pre-approved by the NBB Director, DUS or NBB CC, and listed as NBB electives; others have not been.  When advising students, please confirm with the NBB DUS that a particular special topics courses fulfills NBB elective credit.  Please let NBB know if you want a course you teach to be listed as an NBB elective.

Limited Number Electives

From the list of courses below, one and only one can count as an NBB elective:

BIOL 205 - Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy with lab
BIOL 250 - Cell Biology
BIOL 264 - Genetics: A Human Perspective
BIOL 301 - Biochemistry I
CHEM 203 - Advanced Reactivity
CHEM 204 - Macromolecules
CHEM 221/221Z - Organic Chemistry I (with lab)
CHEM 222 - Organic Chemistry II (with lab)
CHEM 301 - Biochemistry I
CHEM 302 - Biochemistry II
CS 153 - Computing for Bioinformatics
MATH 207 - Probability and Stats w/ Applications
MATH 361 - Probability and Statistics I
MATH 362 - Probability and Statistics II

BIOL 205 - Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy with Lab

Comparative studies of phylogeny and anatomy of vertebrates from both an evolutionary and functional perspective. Cat and shark dissected in laboratory.

Prerequisites:  Biology 142 and Biology 142L

BIOL 250 - Cell Biology

We will explore the structure and function of cells at the molecular level. Major themes to be explored include membrane organization, protein trafficking and targeting, membrane transport, cytoskeleton structure and cell motility, cell adhesion, cell signaling, and the cell cycle. Where relevant, current medical issues associated with cellular dysfunction will be presented.

Prerequisites:  Biology 142 and Biology 142L.

BIOL 264 - Genetics: A Human Perspective (with Discussion Section)

This course provides a fundamental understanding of human genetics and builds on the concepts of genetics developed in Biology 142. This course is designed to provide a deep understanding of modern genetics as well as to foster critical thinking and analytical skills through problem solving and analysis of the primary scientific literature. The main focus of the course will be on molecular genetics, but we will also cover fundamental principles of classical genetics and population genetics. Course topics include modern analysis of the human genome, stem cell research, immunity and cancer and will be explored with special emphasis on how modern genetic research is changing the face of both medicine and agriculture. Note: Transfer students should take Biology 142 at Emory or talk with a Biology 264 instructor prior to enrolling in this class.

Prerequisites:  Biology 142 and Biology 142L.

BIOL 301 - Intro Biochemistry I

The cell is an amazing network of self-organizing machinery that drives life in all its forms. This course begins by defining the molecular wheels and cogs of the cell's machines and how their capabilities are defined by their chemistries. The chemistries of each component are then explored to understand how they contribute to the operation and control of the cellular machinery. We will further explore how all of the cellular components are governed, by kinetic and non-kinetic controls, to produce a coherent and responsive metabolism that efficiently creates and utilizes the energy stored in chemical compounds, such as glucose and fats. Human metabolic disorders such as diabetes will provide models of how metabolism is controlled at the systematic level in complex organisms using biochemical signaling pathways to coordinate metabolic pathways in different tissues.

Prerequisites:  Biology 142, Biology 142L, Chemistry 221, and Chemistry 221L.

CHEM 203 - Advanced Reactivity

CHEM 204 - Macromolecules


CHEM 221/221Z - Organic Chemistry I (with lab)

Organic Chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds and an essential ingredient in the education of scientists in a wide range of fields. This course provides a modern introduction to the vast subject. General principles are stressed in an attempt to make connections and to apply widely a set of organizing principles. First we acquire a qualitative understanding of Molecular Orbital Theory, which we use to readily predict the structure and reactivity of all organic molecules. We can then concentrate on the structural aspects of stereochemistry. With this background we can begin to apply these two new encompassing principles to learn the reactions of different classes of organic compounds. A mechanistic approach allows us to answer "why" these reactions proceed as they do. Finally, Organic Chemistry is not a subject confined to the lecture room. We, and most of the biological world around us are made largely of carbon. A keen eye will always be focused on this world.

Prerequisites: CHEM 142


CHEM 222 - Organic Chemistry II (with lab)

Nucleophilic substitution, elimination reactions, electrophilic additions, electrophilic substitution, carbohydrates, amino acids and proteins.

Prerequisites: CHEM 221 or 221Z


CHEM 301 - Biochemistry I

This one-semester biochemistry course gives an integrated approach to the synthesis, structure, and function of macromolecular biomolecules, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acid. The evolution of structural and catalytic diversity at a molecular level will provide a theme that underpins specific examples that will include: the energetics of catalysis, protein structure and folding, enzyme kinetics and mechanisms, protein engineering, DNA & RNA structure and synthesis, photosynthesis & oxidative phosphorylation, and metabolism. These concepts will then be applied to understanding cellular organization at the molecular level.

Prerequisites: CHEM 222 (or equivalent) and BIOL 141


CHEM 302 - Biochemistry II

Topics will include nitrogen and fatty acid metabolism, glycolysis, and respiration. The evolution of the pathways associated with these processes will be explored.

Prerequisites: CHEM 301.

CS 153 - Computing for Bioinformatics

An introduction to tools of computer science that are relevant to bioinformatics, with a focus on fundamental problems with sequence data. Practical topics will include Perl programming, data management, and web services. Computational concepts are emphasized with only a sketch of the underlying biology.


MATH 207 - Probability and Stats w/ Applications

Development and use of mathematical models from probability and statistics with applications.


MATH 361 - Probability and Statistics I

Finite and continuous probability theory, distribution models (binomial, geometric, uniform, normal, Poisson, and exponential), the Chebyshev inequality, expectation and variance, moment generating functions, the central limit theorem, and applications.

Prerequisites: Math 211 or 276


MATH 362 - Probability and Statistics II

Fundamentals of Statistical Inference: estimation, properties of estimators, methods for comparing estimators, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, regression, and analysis of variance.

Prerequisites: MATH 361