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School of Science

Course IX -- Brain and Cognitive Sciences

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Course IX, is divided into four concentrations: Systems Neuroscience, Language, Experimental Cognitive Science, and Computation.

There are 60 undergraduate majors and 51 graduate students within the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

The average GPA is about 4.0 for course IX classes. Tutoring is available from the TAs or the professors themselves. Most higher level classes are small, with anywhere from 10 to 30 students.

The department consists of 27 faculty: 6 females and 21 males, with 18 tenured professors. Most faculty in the department offer UROPs, which are primarily funded through the UROP program, although some are funded by faculty themselves.

One requirement in Course IX is that every student in the major is required to do some sort of UROP for a grade. The department wants every student to have at least a semester of undergraduate research, although most students pursue longer research projects.

There is a reasonable balance between the graduate and undergraduate departments, as all faculty participate in undergraduate teaching, and most participate in graduate teaching. Both departments are strong, as this is the only department in the world that unites the 4 disciplines into core areas.

Undergraduate students are also encouraged to take graduate level courses. Flexibility within the major is valuable to students who know what aspects of the brain they like to study.

“Neuroscience is the hot topic for the 90s. A lot of new information is being found out right now and what can be more excited than studying how our brains work? It is simply fascinating,” said Susanna B Mierau ’00.

The department offered seven, 3-unit courses during the last IAP, including a class with different faculty presenting their research, as well as a class involving a sheep dissection. None of the IAP courses are required; they are geared more toward students interested in learning about something new and different which is not in the usual curriculum, and having fun doing so.

After graduation, most students move on to graduate school or medical school, while others pursue careers in disciplines as varied as research, financial analysis, or health care consulting.

An informed guess from the department concerning the average salary of students graduating with a S.B. is anywhere between $35,000 and $125,000, with the average falling around $50,000.

The department prides itself on the fact that every student who has applied to medical school has gotten into at least one within the past 15 years. Along with this 100% acceptance rate into medical school, they also have about a 90 percent acceptance rate for students applying to graduate school.

There are also 4 awards given to seniors within the major for notable contributions to research in brain science and cognitive science as well as academic accomplishment in these fields. -- Neena S. Kadaba