The study of the relations between brain and behavior is one of the most exciting frontiers in biology. The neuroscience concentration within the biology major encourages students to take courses covering the cellular and subcellular levels (molecular and genetic properties, cell and membrane physiology, neurochemistry), systemic levels (neuroanatomy, sensory and reflex function, brain disorders), and integrative levels (memory, behavioral genetics, evolution of brain and behavior). 

Students fulfilling the requirements of the Concentration in Neurobiology will receive a note on their official transcript. Also available is an undergraduate major in Neuroscience.

Area Advisor

Area Advisor Area Faculty
Dr. Nina Sherwood, BioSci Room 371D
phone: 919-684-8658
Approval by the area advisor is required for Independent Studies.



  • CHEM 101DL Core Concepts in Chemistry OR
  • CHEM 110DL Honors Chemistry: Core Concepts in Context OR
  • CHEM 21 General Chemistry Credit


  • CHEM 201DL Organic Chemistry

NOTE: CHEM 202L and CHEM 210DL are also recommended for pre-med, pre-vet, biochem and pharm students.


  • MATH 111L Laboratory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 121 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • MATH 21 Introductory Calculus I OR
  • BOTH MATH 105L/106L Laboratory Calculus and Functions I and II


  • MATH 112L Laboratory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 122L Introductory Calculus II OR
  • MATH 22 Introductory Calculus II OR
  • STA 102 Biostatistics OR STA 101 or above OR
  • BIOLOGY 304 Biological Data Analysis (cannot also count as an elective)


  • PHYSICS 141L General Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 151L Introductory Mechanics OR
  • PHYSICS 161D Fundamentals of Physics I OR
  • PHYSICS 25 (AP credit)


  • PHYSICS 142L General Physics II OR PHYSICS 26 (AP credit)

Biology Major Requirements (minimum 11 courses)

Gateway Courses (2 or 1 courses)

The gateways are not sequenced and can be taken in either order.

  • BIOLOGY 201L Molecular Biology (prerequisite: Chem 101D or equivalent)
  • BIOLOGY 202L Genetics & Evolution


  • BIOLOGY 203L Molecular Biology, Genetics & Evolution (prerequisite: Biology AP 5 and Chem 101D or equivalent)

Biology Area Requirements (3 courses)

Select 1 course from EACH of the following three areas. Courses listed in more than one area may only be used to meet one area requirement.

  • 1 course - Organismal Diversity (see course listings)
  • 1 course from the Biological Structure & Function area:
    • BIOLOGY 220 Cell Biology OR
    • BIOLOGY 223 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
  • 1 course - Ecology (see course listings)

Neurobiology Concentration Electives (5 or 6 courses)

  • 3 courses from the following list:
    • BIOLOGY 220 Cellular Biology (cannot be double counted if taken for the Biology Area requirement above) (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 221D Developmental Biology (usually Spring)
    • BIOLOGY 223 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (cannot be double counted if taken for the Biology Area requirement above) (usually Spring)
    • BIOLOGY 224 Fundamentals of Neuroscience (B) (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 268D Mechanisms of Animal Behavior (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 278LA Physiology of Marine Animals (Duke Marine Lab)
    • BIOLOGY 293  Research Independent Study, to be taken with a concentration area faculty member or approved by the concentration area advisor. May also include registration in NEUROBIO 393
    • BIOLOGY 493 Second semester continuation Ind Study, to be taken with a concentration area faculty member or approved by the concentration area advisor. May also include registration in NEUROBIO 393
    • BIOLOGY/BIOCHEM 301 Intro Biochemistry
    • BIOLOGY 321D Primate Sexuality (usually Spring)
    • BIOLOGY  329D / 329L Principles of Animal Physiology (Fall - 329D/ Spring 329L)
    • BIOLOGY 373LA Sensory Physiology and Behavior of Marine Animals
    • BIOLOGY 385L Integrative Neurosciences Lab (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 412S Sensory Signal Transduction (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 414LS Experiments in Developmental and Molecular Genetics (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 415S Developmental and Stem Cell Colloquium (usually Spring)
    • BIOLOGY 422LS Neurodegenerative Disease Lab (usually Fall)
    • BIOLOGY 427S Current Topics in Sensory Biology (usually Fall, sometimes Spring)
    • BIOLOGY 454S Physiological Genetics (usually Spring)
    • On hiatus/no longer offered: Bio 322, 330L, 416L, 421S, 423S, 426S
  • 2 courses from the following list:
    • PSY 106/NEUROSCI 101 or PSY 107/Neurosci 102 Biological Bases of Behavior: Introduction and Survey
    • PSY 257 / NEUROSCI 212 / PHILOS 249 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
    • PSY 273 / NEUROSCI 363 Behavior and Neurochemistry
    • PSY 274 / NEUROSCI 360 Drugs, Brain, and Behavior
    • PSY 276 / NEUROSCI 211Brain and Behavior
    • PSY 277 / NEUROSCI 277 Looking Inside the Disordered Brain
    • PSY 279 / NEUROSCI 373 Behavioral Neuroimmunology: Brain and Behavior in Health and Disease
    • PSY 302 / NEUROSCI 383 Brain Waves and Cognition
    • PSY 303 / NEUROSCI 382 Functional Neuroimaging
    • PSY 355S / NEUROSCI 355S Visual Perception and the Brain
    • PSY 376S / NEUROSCI 366S Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
    • PSY 461S / NEUROSCI 461S Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
    • PSY 471S / NEUROSCI 471S Reward and Addiction
    • PSY 473S / NEUROSCI 473S The Neurobiology of the Pain System: Its Function and Dysfunctions
    • PSY 681S Genetics and Environment in Abnormal Behavior
    • PSY 684S Hormones, Brain, and Cognition
    • PSY 686S / NEUROSCI 686S Principles of Neuroimmunology
    • NEUROSCI 288S Music as Biology
    • NEUROSCI 289 Music and the Brain
    • NEUROSCI 301L Bioelectricity
    • NEUROSCI 353S/PSY 353S Neuroplasticity and Disease
    • NEUROSCI 376 / PSY 313 Contemporary Neuroscience Methods
    • NEUROSCI 380L / PSY 375L Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain
    • PHARM 350 / NEUROSCI 350 Pharmacology: Drug Actions and Reactions
    • PHARM 533 / NEUROSCI 533 Essentials of Pharmacology and Toxicology
    • Cell Bio 451 (if Bio 329L not taken above)
    • No longer offered: Cell Bio 503 (if Bio 329L not taken above)
  • If using Bio 203L, 1 course listed or cross-listed in Biology at the 200-level or above or 1 approved alternate elective course

Lab Experience Requirement

From among the area and elective courses, you must complete 2 full lab courses in addition to the gateway courses. Courses must be at the 200 level or above. A max of one independent study course may be used to fulfill this requirement.

Capstone Course Requirement

You must take at least 1 full 400-level or higher biology 'Capstone' course or other approved capstone course. Independent study can count towards this requirement if it is a second semester continuation.