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Rice University, MS-140
Attn: Neuroscience Administrator
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Email: neuroscience@rice.edu


Q.  Are students allowed to take courses pass/fail to fulfill their minor requirements?

A.  No. If students were to take a course pass/fail and later decide to pursue the minor, the grade would be uncovered. 

Q.  What is the Rice Neuroscience Program?

A.  The Rice Neuroscience Program is a composition of courses, research opportunities, and seminars that seek to provide an education experience that can lead to exciting and rewarding career paths directly in, or related to, neuroscience.  Currently, we have a neuroscience minor program that is an official part of the Rice curriculum, which involves participation in core and elective courses at Rice, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center as well as research in active faculty laboratories throughout the Texas Medical Center.  The Neuroscience Program is in a state of growth, with working efforts to build a shared graduate degree in Neuroscience, and next, a neuroscience major at Rice.

Q.  Is it beneficial to have the Neuroscience Minor as part of my graduation record?

A.  Yes.  If you plan to have a career in graduate education in neuroscience, as a doctorate, medicine, administration, or industry, obtaining a minor degree will greatly benefit your success.  There are several majors at Rice that can provide a broad education, with a specialization that is focused on neuroscience.  Having the Neuroscience Minor credentials will significantly augment your resume and training.   

Q.  Does Rice have a department of neuroscience?

A.  No.  Currently, there is only the Neuroscience Program, however, discussions of whether a department of neuroscience would satisfy the needs of the University are ongoing. Beginning in the Fall of 2016, the Neuroscience minor will be administered by the Department of BioSciences at Rice University.

Q.  Does the Program offer a graduate degree (e.g., a Ph.D.)?

A.  No.  Currently, there is only the Neuroscience Minor degree.  However, plans are currently being formed to create the mechanisms necessary to build a graduate degree in Neuroscience, in conjunction with our partner Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center institutions.

Q.  Who do I contact to receive information about the neuroscience program?

A.  There are a number of faculty that can guide you into the program.  First, the current Neuroscience Program Co-Directors are Dr. J. David Dickman ( david.dickman@rice.edu or dickman@bcm.edu) and Dr. James McNew ( mcnew@rice.edu), both of whom are primary contacts.  Neuroscience Minor Advisors are Dr. Simon Fischer-Baum ( simon.j.fischer-baum@rice.edu) and Dr. James McNew ( mcnew@rice.edu).  

Q.  What course should I take as an introduction to the Neuroscience Minor?

A.  There is one required core course for the Minor (NEUR 380: Fundamental Neuroscience Systems, offered in the Spring) and two elective core courses (NEUR 362: Biopsychology) and (NEUR 385: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience) offered in the Spring.  Any of these would be appropriate first courses.   

Q.  Is it possible for Neuroscience Minor and other related Majors to receive credit for research? 

A.  Yes, we offer a NEUR 310 course in Neuroscience Research.  One 3 credit course can count toward the minor, but you may take the course as often as you wish toward overall credits to graduate.  Please be advised, that to be competitive for graduate education in a PhD or MD program, you should do research for at least all semesters in your last 3 years of study at Rice.  It is fine to do research in different labs, but if you find a lab you like, stick with it so you may be able to accomplish a project and have your name on a scientific journal article.

Q. I noticed that only 2 electives  could count toward the major requirements. What about the core courses? For example, would NEUR 380 and NEUR 362 (which are both cross-listed as PSYC classes) count toward both a neuroscience minor and a psychology minor, with counting against the max of 2 from the electives?

A. It depends upon the major. In the past, the cores for the minor also count toward the major, but that would be contingent upon approval from the PSYC dept. For the minor, you need the 2 cores and 4 electives. 2 electives count for the major and minor. The other 2 electives have to be independent.

Q. When picking a track, does it have to be a 3/1 split regarding electives? For example, if I chose the Humanities track, would it be okay to take 2 electives from the HS track and 2 from the SE track? Or would I have to take 3 electives from the HS track and 1 from the SE track?

A. You would need to take 3 electives for the HS track and 1 from the SE track. Note that NEUR 485 can count for either the HS or SE track.

Q.  Is it possible to have NEUR 485 / NEUR 310 fulfill the requirement that one elective come from the other track? 

A.  No, NEUR 485 / NEUR 310 cannot be used to fulfill the requirement for an elective from the other track; but we do allow NEUR 485 / NEUR 310 to be one (and just one) of the electives within the declared track. 

Q.  Can  the Core Elective for the HS track be used as the alternative elective for the SE track (and vice versa)?

A.  Yes, if you are in the Social Sciences/Humanities track, NEUR 385 can be used to meet the requirement that you take one course from the Natural Sciences/Engineering track (and vice versa). In fact, that's the course we recommend.