Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview
Biological Foundations of Behavior

Behavior is manifest in the function of neurons, the cells that comprise the nervous system. The networks of a few to many million neurons that underlie the simple and complex behaviors exhibited by humans and animals are shaped by biological, environmental, ecological, evolutionary, social and psychological influences. To develop an understanding of the complex interactions among these factors that generate normal and abnormal behavioral states, critical thinking, reading and writing skills across disciplinary boundaries are required. The Biological Foundations of Behavior Program is offered jointly by the departments of Biology and Psychology. It presents students the opportunity to complete an interdisciplinary major with a focus on either animal behavior or neuroscience.

Neuroscience is an integrative discipline that utilizes knowledge and tools from biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology to study the nervous system across several levels of analysis from molecules to the behavior of individual organisms. Despite the amazing advances that have been made in neuroscience to date, the human brain is a frontier that we’ve only begun to chart. Understanding how it works, how to protect it from disease and how to fix it when it becomes damaged or diseased is one of humankind’s greatest challenges.

Animal Behavior — Behavior is a fundamental property of all living things. Indeed, whether animals survive and reproduce often depends on how they behave. Studying individual variation in behavior can reveal the role of natural selection in shaping behavior. Comparative research with many species provides animal models for studying development, sensation, perception, life history evolution, reproductive behavior, learning and cognition as well as providing a broader context for better understanding the influences affecting human behavior and the mind. In addition, studying how individuals behave in response to varying environmental conditions can help predict effects of climate change and the fate of populations. Conservation efforts and resource management depend upon ecological and evolutionary studies of the relationship between animal behavior and the environment.

The Neuroscience and the Animal Behavior majors begin with core courses in biology, chemistry, physics and/or mathematics, that create a solid foundation upon which to begin the research-intensive coursework that follows. Following cornerstone courses at the introductory level in neuroscience and biopsychology, Neuroscience students choose elective courses in neuroscience and related areas. After foundational, research-intensive training in animal behavior, Animal Behavior students select from a series of core and elective courses in animal behavior. The Neuroscience and the Animal Behavior majors each culminate with capstone research experiences, typically through independent study, that may be defended for honors in the major during the senior year.

A major in Neuroscience requires the completion of 15 courses:

Biology Core (two courses)
    BIO 110. Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Heredity.
    BIO 220. Principles of Physiology and Development.

Physical Sciences and Mathematics Core (six courses)
   CHM 111, 112, 211, 212; PHY 111; MAT 109.

Fundamentals of Neuroscience (two courses)
    BFB 240. Neuroscience.
   BFB 302. Biopsychology.

Research Methods and Statistics (one course)
   PSY 230. Experimental Design and Statistics.
   or
   BIO 210. Biostatistics.

Area Studies Electives (Three courses distributed across at least two areas are required; one must include a lab.)

Area 1: Neural and Physiological Mechanisms
   BFB 301. Sensation and Perception.
   BFB 330. Advanced Neurobiology. (BWR)
   BFB 341. Neurochemistry. (BWR)
   BFB 343. Functional Human Neuroanatomy. (BWR)
   BIO 327. Vertebrate Anatomy.
   BFB 328. Physical Biology.
   BFB 375. Cognitive Neuroscience.
   BFB 487. Collaborative Research in Biological Psychology.
Topics courses in neuroscience, physiology or perception may serve as Area 1 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Area 2: Behavioral and Cognitive Processes
   BFB 250. Animal Behavior.
   BFB 306. Evolution of Mind and Intelligence.
   BFB 310. Conditioning and Learning.
   BFB 337. Behavioral Ecology.
   PSY 304. Developmental Psychology.
   PSY 305. Cognitive Psychology.
   BFB 37x Brain Evolution.
   BFB 37x Animal Social Learning.
   BFB 375. Cognitive Neuroscience.
   BFB 480. Collaborative Research in Comparative Cognition and Behavior.
   PSY 481. Collaborative Research in Developmental Psychology.
   PSY 483. Collaborative Research in Human Cognition.
   PSY 485. Collaborative Research in Human Perception and Action.
Topics courses in behavior or psychology may serve as Area 2 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Area 3: Cellular and Molecular Approaches
   BFB 341. Neurochemistry. (BWR)
   BIO 230. Cell Biology.
   BIO 305. Genetics.
   BIO 306. Developmental Biology. (BWR)
   BIO 334. Metabolic Biochemistry.
   BIO 335. Advanced Molecular Biology Seminar.
   BIO 371. Topics in Cell Biology.
   Topics courses in cell and molecular biology/biochemistry may serve as Area 3 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Advanced Research (Required of all students. Take one of the following.)
   BFB 390. Directed Research in Animal Behavior or Neuroscience.
   BFB 490. Independent Research in Neuroscience or Animal Behavior,
      or approved Biology “BWR” laboratory course,
      or approved Psychology “Collaborative Research” course, including PSY 360.
An area studies course may not be double-counted as an advanced research course and vice versa.

A major in Animal Behavior requires the completion of 15 courses:

Biology Core (two courses)
   BIO 110. Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Heredity.
   BIO 220. Principles of Physiology and Development.

Physical Sciences and Mathematics Core (three courses from among the
following)
   CHM 111, 112, 211, 212.
   PHY 111, 112.
   MAT 109, 110, 116, 216, 323.
   CPS 150, 210, 260.
   ECO 410.
   PSY 360.

Research Methods and Statistics (one course)
   PSY 230. Experimental Design and Statistics.
   or
   BIO 210. Biostatistics.

Fundamentals of Behavior (four courses)
   BFB 250. Animal Behavior. (required)
   One of: BFB 306. Evolution of Mind and Intelligence.
                BFB 337. Behavioral Ecology.
                BFB 37x. Brain Evolution.
   One of: BFB 240. Neuroscience.
                BFB 302. Biopsychology.
   One of: BFB 301. Sensation and Perception.
                BFB 310. Conditioning and Learning.
   PSY 312. Embodied Cognition.

Area Studies Electives (Required of all students. Four courses, with no more than two courses chosen from any one area. Students with permission of the BFB Program Chair may substitute no more than one area elective course with one semester of BFB 390 or 490.)

Area 1: Mechanisms of Behavior. Courses that emphasize the neural, endocrine and physiological basis of behavior and cognition.
   BFB 240. Neuroscience.
   BFB 302. Biopsychology.
   BFB 330. Advanced Neurobiology. (BWR)
   BFB 341. Neurochemistry. (BWR)
   BFB 375. Cognitive Neuroscience.
   BFB 375. Collaborative Research in Neuroscience.
   BFB 487. Collaborative Research in Biological Psychology.
   BIO 334. Biochemistry.
   Topics courses in neuroscience or biochemistry may serve as Area 1 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Area 2: Organismal and Comparative Approaches. Courses with an emphasis on functional organization and integration within individual organisms.
   BFB 301. Sensation and Perception.
   BFB 306. Evolution of Mind and Intelligence.
   BFB 310. Conditioning and Learning.
   BFB 328. Physical Biology.
   BFB 337. Behavioral Ecology.
   BFB 343. Functional Human Neuroanatomy.
   BFB 37x. Brain Evolution.
   BFB 37x. Animal Social Learning.
   BFB 480. Collaborative Research in Comparative Cognition and Behavior.
   BIO 326. Comparative Physiology.
   BIO 327. Vertebrate Anatomy.
   PSY 485. Collaborative Research in Human Perception and Action.
   Topics courses in biology or psychology may serve as Area 2 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Area 3: Ecological and Population Perspectives. Courses with an emphasis on ecological factors primarily at the population level.
   BIO 323. Ecological Concepts and Applications. (BWR)
   BIO 325. Marine Biology.
   BIO 336. Evolution.
   PSY 312. Embodied Cognition.
   Topics courses in ecology, environmental studies or ecological psychology may serve as Area 3 courses upon approval of the BFB Chair.

Area 4: Cognate Studies. These courses complement courses from Areas 1 – 3 and
often serve as a pre- or corequisite for other advanced courses.
   BIO 230. Cell Biology.
   BIO 305. Genetics.
   BIO 306. Developmental Biology.
   BIO 322. Microbiology.
   BIO 332. Molecular Biology.
   PSY 304. Developmental Psychology.
   PSY 305. Cognitive Psychology.
   PSY 307. Personality Psychology.
   PSY 308. Psychopathology.
   PSY 309. Social Psychology.

In Area 4, students may, with permission of the BFB Chair, elect to take a course above the introductory level in a cognate area (e.g., Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Philosophy and Computer Science).

Advanced Research (Required of all students. Take one of the following.)
   BFB 390. Directed Research in Animal Behavior or Neuroscience.
   BFB 490. Independent Research in BFB.
   or, approved Biology course with investigative/collaborative research required (BIO 323 – 342).
   or, approved “Collaborative Research” course in Psychology (PSY 360, 480 – 488).
   An area studies course may not be double-counted as an advanced research course and vice versa.

To be considered for honors in BFB, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must possess a cumulative GPA in the major of 3.33 or greater and complete no less than two semesters of independent research in neuroscience or animal behavior. Normally, prospective honors students will enroll in two semesters of BFB 490.

The writing requirement in the Biological Foundations of Behavior major is met by completion of the normal courses required to complete the major.

The indication as to when a course will be offered is based on the best projection of the BFB Program Committee and the departments of Biology and Psychology and is subject to change.

Majors in the Biological Foundations of Behavior Program have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: University of Melbourne, Australia; School for Field Studies (various countries); Danish International Study (DIS), Copenhagen; Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University programs (various countries); La Suerte Biological Field Station, Costa Rica. See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.