Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary science dedicated to understanding how nervous systems are built and function at different scales, from molecules and cells to circuits and systems. Neuroscientists are involved in work to improve the human condition with new discoveries that could prevent or treat neurodevelopmental defects and disorders, psychiatric disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

A neuroscience major is an excellent starting point for a career in human or animal medicine, psychology, medical research, pharmaceuticals, public health or science writing. Entry level jobs for students with a bachelor’s degree include positions as assistants in hospitals and private healthcare clinics; as technicians in academic, governmental, or commercial research laboratories; in pharmaceutical sales and marketing; and in government agencies and nonprofits in roles related to grant writing, regulatory management, or technical assistance. Many of these occupational areas are projected to grow faster than average in the next decade. The average annual salary for a neuroscientist with a BS degree is $66,975 (as of 2021). The major is also excellent preparation for students pursuing doctoral degrees in medicine, medical research, or professional counseling.

The courses for the major come primarily from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Psychology.  Students will learn about the structure and function of nervous systems, from the cellular level to the systems level; the connections between the brain and behavior; experimental design and research methods; and data analysis, interpretation, and use. Within the major students can take coursework in neuroscience subdisciplines such as cognitive, cellular and molecular, or computational neuroscience.

Requirements

Course of Study – Bachelor of Science Degree

Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses and 30 of those 36 credits in designated Advanced Natural Science courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.

To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.

University General Education Requirements (GER)

Oral and Written Communication
Part A
Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:
ENGLISH 102College Writing and Research (or equivalent)
Part B
Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Quantitative Literacy
Part A
Earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course, or achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department)
Mathematical Literacy for College Students II
Contemporary Applications of Mathematics
Introduction to College Algebra
Algebraic Literacy II
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
College Algebra
Or equivalent course
Part B
Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Select 6 credits6
Social Sciences
Select 6 credits6
Natural Sciences
Select 6 credits (At least two courses including one lab)6
UWM Foreign Language Requirement
Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
Or equivalent
UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement
One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement

College of Letters & Science Requirements

I. English Composition Requirement

Students must satisfy the English Composition Requirement with one of the following options:

1) Completing ENGLISH 102 with a grade of C or higher; or

2) placing beyond English 102 on the English Placement Test (EPT) (or other assessment as determined by the English Department); or

3) transferring a course of at least 2.5 equivalent credits from another institution that is equivalent to English 102, or a UWM higher-level expository writing course, with a grade of C or higher.

Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.

II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning

To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, Bachelors of Sciences degree students must satisfy the following two requirements:

1. Complete one of the following courses or an equivalent course:

MATH 211Survey in Calculus and Analytic Geometry I4
MATH 213Calculus with Life Sciences Applications4
MATH 221Honors Calculus I5
MATH 231Calculus and Analytic Geometry I4

2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:

Complete one of the following:
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies
Introduction to Anthropological Statistics
Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
Biostatistics
Economic Statistics
Quantitative Analysis in Geography
The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Elementary Statistical Analysis
Elementary Logic
Political Data Analysis
Survey Research
Psychological Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology

Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BS, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. Not all of the courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.

III. Foreign Language Requirement 

Two courses (minimum of 6 credits) in a language (including American Sign Language) other than English at the 100 level or above are required.

Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.

Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.

IV. International Requirement 

See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.  

Completed in one of the following ways:9
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.

V. Breadth Requirement

Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.

Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *12
Social Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *12
Natural Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including laboratory or field courses from three different curricular areas. *12
Cultural Diversity
Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **3

 VI. The Major

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments. Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.

Research Requirement

Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty. A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.

VII. The Minor

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. 

Degree Requirements

The program requires at least 120 credits, which include University-wide General Education Requirements, 24 credits of mandatory preparatory courses, 23-24 credits of required core courses, 11 credits of elective courses within the major, a research experience course at the end of the coursework, and additional elective courses to fulfill the overall credit requirement.

An overall GPA of 2.000 on all coursework attempted at UWM is required for this degree. In addition, students must achieve a 2.000 GPA on all coursework attempted, including transfer work. A minimum 2.000 GPA must be earned on all 300-level and above courses taken to satisfy the advanced requirements. Students satisfy the residency requirement for the degree at UWM by completing at least 15 credits in the upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in the major.

Preparatory courses
Chemistry
CHEM 102General Chemistry5
CHEM 104General Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis5
CHEM 343Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 345Organic Chemistry3
Physics
PHYSICS 120General Physics I (Non-Calculus Treatment)4
or PHYSICS 209 Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
PHYSICS 122General Physics II (Non-Calculus Treatment)4
or PHYSICS 210 Physics II (Calculus Treatment)
Total Credits24
Required courses
Biological Sciences
BIO SCI 150Foundations of Biological Sciences I4
BIO SCI 152Foundations of Biological Sciences II4
BIO SCI 315Cell Biology3
BIO SCI 455Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology3
Psychology
PSYCH 101Introduction to Psychology3
PSYCH 254Physiological Psychology3
One of these courses in statistics:3-4
Biostatistics
Elementary Statistical Analysis
Psychological Statistics
Total Credits23-24
Required research experience (select one of the options below)
BIO SCI 672Undergraduate Seminar in Cell and Molecular Biology1
BIO SCI 697Independent Study in Cell and Molecular Biology1-3
BIO SCI 699Independent Study1-3
PSYCH 654Advanced Physiological Psychology4
PSYCH 656Psychophysiology4
Elective courses (select courses to complete 11 credits from the options below)
BIO SCI 203Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIO SCI 290Independent Study and Research:1-3
BIO SCI 316Laboratory in Genetics and Cell Biology2
BIO SCI 325Genetics4
BIO SCI 356Developmental Biology3
BIO SCI 370Mammalian Physiology3
BIO SCI 469Genomic Data Analysis2
BIO SCI 490Molecular Genetics3
BIO SCI 539Laboratory Techniques in Molecular Biology4
BIO SCI 542Biological Electron Microscopy3
BIO SCI 543Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory2
BIO SCI 544Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory3
BIO SCI 564Endocrinology3
BIO SCI 565Gene Regulation in Stem Cells and Regeneration3
BIO SCI 566Cell Biology of Human Disease3
BIO SCI 572Functional Genomics3
BIO SCI 672Undergraduate Seminar in Cell and Molecular Biology1
BIO SCI 697Independent Study in Cell and Molecular Biology1-3
BMS 610Pharmacology3
PSYCH 214Introduction to Conditioning and Learning3
PSYCH 290Undergraduate Research: Lower Division1-3
PSYCH 325Research Methods in Psychology4
PSYCH 433Neuropsychology3
PSYCH 454Psychopharmacology and Addiction3
PSYCH 503Perception3
PSYCH 506Perceptual Learning4
PSYCH 510Advanced Psychological Statistics3
PSYCH 514Conditioning and Learning4
PSYCH 551Learning and Motivation Theories3
PSYCH 610Experimental Design3
PSYCH 611Current Topics:3
PSYCH 623Perceptual Processes4
PSYCH 627Cognitive Neuroscience3
PSYCH 645Hormones and Behavior3
PSYCH 654Advanced Physiological Psychology 14
PSYCH 656Psychophysiology 14
PSYCH 657Neurobiology of Learning and Memory3
PSYCH 682The Aging Brain3
PSYCH 690Undergraduate Research: Upper Division1-3

Letters & Science Advising

The College of Letters and Science provides general academic advising for all students with a major in the College, particularly as it relates to campus' general education requirements and the College's degree requirements. We also provide specialized advising for pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.) regardless if their major is in Letters and Science or not. Prospective students, including high school students and students seeking to transfer to a program in Letters and Science may also receive advising from our admissions counselors. 

Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor in the College advising office. Academic advising is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Appointments outside of these times may be available and phone appointments are available for online students. The advising office is located on the first floor of Holton Hall. Current students should call (414) 229-4654 to schedule an appointment or use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor; online scheduling is only available if you already have a Letters & Science advisor assigned to you. Prospective students should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

When students declare a major, they will receive an additional faculty advisor located within the major department who will assist with requirements for that major. Students should read the "Declaration of Major" information on the website of the major that they are interested in. In some cases, the student will need to choose a faculty advisor as part of the declaration process.

All students are cautioned to consult their Letters & Science academic advisor AND their major advisor prior to each registration period to ensure they understand all requirements. Do not rely on pre-printed sample plans, as they are intended to be samples only and may not be right for your particular situation.

Honors in the College of Letters and Science

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.