Lecture Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday | 9:30 A.M. – 10:50 a.m.
Faculty: Scott Chandler | Neuroscience IDP, Integrative Biology and Physiology, Coordinator
Barbara Knowlton | Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology
Marcia Meldrum | Medical History
Hans Barnard | Cotsen Institute
Librarian: Nisha H. Mody | Biomed Library
Writing Consultant: Dana Cairns Watson | Writing Programs
Inquiry Specialist: Jacy Black

The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe and the last major organ system to be understood. Our brains give us the power to see and hear, learn and remember, interpret others behaviors, and act purposefully in our environment. This cluster course looks at brain function from historical, biological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives to enable students to better understand the organ responsible for all our mental processes and behavior in health and disease. Students will gain a solid foundation in neuroscience that last beyond their academic career in order to make knowledgeable decisions about scientific policy.

What are the Benefits?

  • Satisfy 4 GEs requirements
  • Satisfy Writing II requirement
  • 18 units toward degree
  • College Honors units including Honors Collegium
  • Priority Enrollment in Eng. Comp. 3

Writing II and Foundation Area General Education Credit

Upon completion of the yearlong cluster, students will fulfill the Writing II requirement and satisfy 4 GE course requirements:

  • 1 course in Arts and Humanities (Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis)
  • 1 course in Society and Culture (Historical Analysis)
  • 2 courses in Scientific Inquiry ( 2 in Life Science without laboratory credit)

I have learned SO MUCH! I am a business economics major but I feel like I'm in a neuroscience PhD program whenever I enter this class. It is very advanced. I really like how everything comes together - the instructors all did an excellent job in giving students a holistic understanding of the material.Course Format

Fall and winter quarters feature large lectures for the entire class with smaller discussion sections. Some questions that will be covered in this cluster include:

  • What methods and approaches have scientists and physicians used to try to understand the workings of the brain?
  • How has our understanding of how the brain works evolved?
  • How do neurons communicate within and between themselves?
  • How does the nervous system take information from the physical world and transform it into our sensory experience?
  • What methods and approaches have creative writers and filmmakers used to depict brain functions and mental states?
  • How have novelists, play writes, and filmmakers explicitly addressed neuroscience as a theme in their works?
  • Does the brain respond differently to a fictional as opposed to a non-fictional experience?
  • Why is film a privileged artistic medium with which to convey mental illness?
  • Is the brain hard-wired to produce varied movement patterns?
  • Can the brain exhibit plasticity after injury?
  • If our actions are determined by the brain, do we really have free will and should we be punished for our wrongdoings?

Spring Seminars

During spring quarter, students choose a seminar that allows them to explore a particular topic in greater depth. Previous seminar titles have included:

  • Diseases and Injuries Affecting Learning and Memory
  • Historical, Biological, and Philosophical Perspectives on Mental Illness
  • Neuroscience in Popular Culture
  • How We Decide: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Decision-Making
  • Mind Games: How Neuroscientists and Psychologists Reimagined the Brain in the Early 20th Century