Questions about NSB?
• Prof. Peter Balsam (Department Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about Major declaration
- Questions about Senior Thesis
• Prof. Kara Pham (Departmental Representative) email@example.com
- Questions about Major declaration
- Questions about NSB major requirements
- Questions about lab courses
- Questions about transfer credits for the NSB major
- Questions about summer courses
- Questions about seminars
- Questions about Chemistry Department courses
• Prof. Liz Bauer firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about Biology Department courses
• Prof. Russell Romeo email@example.com
- Questions about Psychology Department courses
• Prof. John Glendinning firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about Summer Research Institute (SRI)
• Dr. Michele Miozzo (Department Administrator) email@example.com
- Can help you find the best faculty member when you are not sure how to get your questions answered or problem solved
- Can help in finding research opportunities
- Questions about Independent Studies
Questions about the NSB Major
Students should first meet with their pre-major academic advisor to discuss their intention for declaring the NSB major and for reviewing the accuracy of their degree audit, including transfer credits. If a student has an NSB advisor in mind, it is recommended that she contacts this faculty member directly to discuss whether he or she is taking new advisees. Students should also make an appointment to meet with the Department Representative, Prof. Kara Pham, to discuss their plans for majoring in NSB. You can sign up for a one-on-one appointment at https://calendly.com/karapham. A student must initiate her major declaration form.
Any faculty member in the NSB department can serve as your advisor. You should pick somebody whose area of interest overlaps with yours and/or somebody with whom you feel comfortable. Make sure you confirm that the faculty member you selected is accepting new advisees at this time. If you do not have an advisor in mind, the department will assign you one. You should realize that selecting an advisor is an important decision, but not a momentous one. You can always change your advisor, and you are welcome to consult with other faculty members.
Students are not permitted to double count a class for a major/minor or a double major. For example, NSB senior thesis may not be used to satisfy a requirement for any other major/minor.
The rule that prohibits double counting of major/minor classes means that a student who elects to add a major or minor in addition to NSB typically chooses a second discipline that has no overlap at all with the NSB major, i.e., majoring in NSB and minoring in English.
If you simply want experience doing research for degree credit (and not NSB major credit), then you should talk to your mentor or your major advisor and determine what the appropriate independent research course would be for your interests.
Consult the Senior Thesis page on this website. Once you have identified several possibilities, discuss them with your advisor and/or the NSB Chair. The earlier you start, the better, but no later than February of the Junior year.
Questions about signing up for courses
There are several introductory courses offered by the Biology Department here at Barnard. Please visit the Department's website for course descriptions and information on signing up for lectures and labs.
For questions about Biology Department courses please contact Prof. Liz Bauer firstname.lastname@example.org
All upper-level Biology labs are limited to 16 students. When you register for one of these labs, you will automatically be put on the wait-list. Seniors will be taken off the wait-list first, followed by juniors. Please note that if you receive a seat in a lab, you must attend the first lab. If you are absent from this lab meeting, you will be dropped from the course and your seat will be filled by another student.
If you do not get into your first choice lab course, then you will be placed on the wait-list automatically. The most important thing to do is to attend the first session of the lab class. Many students are accepted at that time. You could also contact the instructor and ask about your chances of getting off the wait-list.
To enroll in a lab or statistics course in Psychology, students must enroll during the semester before the course is offered. Note that all students initially go on the wait list and are only approved to be in the course once the instructor determines the class roster. This is somewhat like a "place holder" and it is then a student's responsibility to attend the fist class meeting of both the lab and its adjoining lecture to secure her seat. Students are encouraged to take their lab courses during their early years at Barnard. If a student has any questions or problems with enrollment she should contact the Department Administrator for Psychology as soon as possible.
This is a question we receive a lot: "I am a sophomore and I would like to major in Neuroscience and Behavior. Are PSYC BC1101 Statistics or Columbia’s STAT UN1101 Introduction to Statistics an acceptable swap for NSB Statistics & Research Design?"
Answer: PSYC BC1101 Statistics or Columbia’s STAT UN1101 Introduction to Statistics or NSB Statistics & Research Design all meet the requirement. NSB Statistics & Research Design course emphasizes experimental design and places less emphasis on statistics than BC1101 or UN1101. NSB Statistics & Research Design is more relevant to thinking about how to understand brain and behavior and is the course introduced in the new NSB curriculum.
Questions about labs
Finding a lab may require some effort. Labs may not have openings; while busy in wrapping up projects, research teams may not have the resources to train a new student; and overflowed with requests, PIs may be slow to respond. In these circumstances, you might need to persevere -- and plan a bit.
• Homework. There are many neuroscience labs at Barnard, Columbia, Columbia Medical School, and the Zuckerman Institute -- and in NY at large. Read the lab profiles available online to find labs investigating themes that align with your interests in the Departments of Psychology and Biology at Barnard, the Departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences at Columbia University, the Zuckerman Institute, CU Medical Campus, NY State Psychiatric Institute, and nearby universities, including NYU, Rockefeller University and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai..
• Take a chance. You join a lab to get experience in research and science. Any lab could do it! You may not find a lab matching perfectly to your interests. But all labs offer the exposure to research and science you look for.
• Seek help. Your advisor and NSB faculty can offer valuable suggestions. Ask their advice. Furthermore, on the NSB site you find a list of labs with openings or where NSB students worked in the past. This is a useful resource.
• Be strategic. There are a few things you may want to write in your email to the lab PI to make it more effective. Tell why you are interested in that particular lab. Describe what you know -- especially knowledge and skills you acquired in lab courses that could turn very useful in wet labs. Mention if your advisor or any NSB faculty recommended that lab. In essence, include anything that would make your request less anonymous and generic and more personal and specific. But be concise. Short emails that go straight to the point are particularly effective.
• Ask a friend. If a friend of yours works in a lab that interests you, she can introduce you to the PI – if the PI trusts her, the PI may trust her recommendation as well.
For more information visit the page Research Opportunities on our website.
Questions about transferring credits
The Department Representative (Prof. Kara Pham) has to approve if a neuroscience course taken outside Barnard College or Columbia University counts toward the major. Students are required to contact Prof. Kara Pham and provide a copy of the syllabus along with information about the readings and the grade(s) related to the course. Important note about required NSB courses offered in other departments (e.g., introductory Biology courses): For such courses, students need first to acquire approval from the relevant department. For example, students should contact the Biology department to evaluate the course equivalency of Biology classes completed elsewhere. Once the Biology department provides the course equivalency, the NSB department will accept the relevant course towards the NSB major.
You need to contact the organization that administers the AP (Advanced Placement) tests, Educational Testing Service (ETS), and ask them to send your AP scores to the Barnard Registrar's office. More info can be found here.
It is strongly recommended that you obtain approval prior to enrolling and/or completing the course. For NSB courses, you can get approval from the NSB Departmental Representative (Prof. Kara Pham) once you have completed the appropriate form. Note that you will need to provide the Program Director with a syllabus and class description before she/he will be able to approve the course.
It is required that you discuss your intentions to study abroad with the Barnard Global office, as well as your NSB major advisor before enrollment. You will need to plan ahead so as to make sure that you can complete your GER and major requirements in time for graduation. Generally, students study abroad during the Spring semester of their junior year. For NSB courses, you can get approval from the Department Representative (Prof. Kara Pham) once you have completed the appropriate form. Note that you will need to provide Prof. Pham with a syllabus and class description before she will be able to approve the course. It is strongly recommended that you obtain approval for courses taken abroad prior to enrolling and/or completing the course.
The Department of Neuroscience and Behavior does not approve requests for study abroad during the senior year because study abroad would prevent the completion of the NSB major requirements of the senior year.
Students who want to spend the junior year abroad need to have a lab and a project all lined up before they go away for the junior year (especially if they want to go abroad during the spring semester).
The senior requirement is a year-long research/seminar experience that must be taken in the Fall-Spring sequence. If you plan to graduate in January, the senior thesis must be done in the Fall and Spring of your Junior year.