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Future Students


Modern neuroscience is a highly interdisciplinary field that brings together ideas and methods from a variety of disciplines such as biology, chemistry, computer sciences, mathematics, philosophy, physics, and psychology. 


The Honors Tutorial College program in Neuroscience provides students with a solid interdisciplinary foundation and allows them to pursue their individual interests in areas such as Cell and Molecular Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Quantitative Neuroscience, and Neuroethology. 


The program is designed to provide maximum flexibility while ensuring that students are fully prepared for admission into the graduate or professional school of their choice.

Program Areas

Cell and Molecular Neuroscience focuses on the structure and function of the individual neurons and glia that are the building blocks of nervous systems. These studies include the expression and regulation of genes during nervous system development and the molecular bases of nervous system diseases.


Cognitive Neuroscience weaves together ideas and approaches from psychology, biology, and philosophy to better understand the neural basis of complex processes, such as perception, emotion, language, consciousness, memory, attention, and decision-making, which compose the mental experience of humans.


Quantitative and Systems Neuroscience encompasses the development of computational models of neuronal processes as well as an analysis of neural circuits and pathways as complex, dynamic systems. These approaches make extensive use of ideas and methods developed in mathematics and physics.


Neuroethology is the study of the neural basis of naturally occurring behaviors. This approach combines concepts from biology and evolutionary psychology; it involves observing animals in their natural habitats and identifying how their nervous systems have adapted to produce appropriate natural behavior.

Program Overview

The following list of required courses is a guide for students. Upon consultation with the Director of Studies, this curriculum may be modified to suit each individual's interests and goals. The Director of Studies must approve all coursework; however, student input is the critical component in designing curriculum under the Tutorial System.


Entry and Freshman Year. Students entering the program will vary in their level of preparation. Applicants are encouraged to take Advanced Placement exams for which they feel qualified. Advanced Placement test scores may lead to granting of academic credit. Conversations with the Director of Studies, advanced placement scores, and placement tests during orientation will determine the appropriate entry-level courses for each individual. 


During their first year, all students take foundational courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics (see below). Tutorials in the first year introduce students to a number of Neuroscience topics and faculty. These tutorials will provide a foundation for pursuit of individual interests in subsequent years.


Sophomore Year. Students generally complete their foundational courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. In addition, students begin to concentrate on their particular areas of interest through a combination individual advanced tutorials and courses. Students are strongly encouraged to take tutorials with at least two different faculty. The format of the advanced tutorial is determined by discussion between the student and the faculty tutor. There are no limits to the field of study, and the format may include directed readings, laboratory research, field research, etc.


Junior Year. Students will become increasingly immersed in their specific area of Neuroscience by taking advanced courses and tutorials. In spring semester, students do their tutorial with their prospective faculty research mentor (Senior Thesis Advisor). The student will work with their Senior Thesis Advisor and the Director of Studies to identify an appropriate research project in the student?s area of interest. Before the end of spring semester, an HTC Senior Prospectus and a separate Research Proposal must be submitted to the Director of Studies and College.


Senior Year and Thesis. Students may chose to take advanced or graduate level courses in their discipline. However, the majority of their time will be devoted to their Senior Thesis. Each student will engage in a substantive independent research project and will write a formal thesis describing their research, including an abstract, introduction and background, materials and methods, results, and conclusions. The thesis must be approved by the Senior Thesis Advisor and the Director of Studies. 


Seniors must present their results in a seminar during their final semester at Ohio University. Presentation of the results at scientific meetings or in professional journals is highly encouraged. Detailed senior thesis guidelines can be obtained from the Director of Studies.


For a complete listing of courses in the HTC Neuroscience program, please consult the Ohio University undergraduate catalog.


Applicants are expected to rank in the top ten percent of their high school class and to have earned a composite ACT score of 30 or equivalent SAT score. Two letters of recommendation from high school teachers and an on-campus interview are required. Students wishing to transfer from other colleges at Ohio University should contact the Director of Studies early in fall semester of their freshman year regarding the application process. The student must have taken coursework comparable to a freshman HTC student and have at least a 3.7 cumulative GPA. The transfer application is due by November 15th.

Further Information

Dr. Janet Duerr

Department of Biological Sciences 

Ohio University Life Sciences Center 241 

Athens, OH 45701 


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