College of Humanities and Social Sciences


The concentration in neuroethics offers students the opportunity to study ethical issues arising from recent scientific and medical advances in conjunction with advanced training in neuroscience. The curriculum helps students develop their skills in critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking and to make well-founded ethical decisions. Students will become familiar with the basic theories of current neuroscience, as well as the philosophical issues raised by these theories.

The degree is intended for students interested in doctoral work in neuroscience, cognitive science, or bioethics. It also can help students who will work on medical and scientific research projects in government or the private sector.

This concentration is offered jointly by the Department of Philosophy  and the Neuroscience Program .

Admission to the neuroethics concentration is open to students with undergraduate degrees in any field. All students should have taken the following basic courses in life science and philosophy (or their equivalents) before admission to the program or should complete them shortly thereafter: PHIL 173, BIOL 213, BIOL 482, CHEM 314.

Students without the biology and chemistry pre-requisites can fill these requirements once admitted to the program by taking NEUR 600 and other courses recommended by the concentration director. These courses cannot be applied to degree requirements.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2014-2015)

One required course of proseminar (1 credit)

MAIS 796 - MAIS ProSeminar Credits: 1

Six core courses in ethics and neuroscience (18 credits)

NEUR 602 - Cellular Neuroscience Credits: 3
NEUR 741 - Introduction to Neuroimaging Credits: 3
NEUR 742 - Cognitive Neuroscience Credits: 3
PHIL 640 - History of Ethical Theory Credits: 3
PHIL 642 - Biomedical Ethics Credits: 3
PHIL 645 - Research Ethics Credits: 3

12 credits of electives chosen from:

Students must take at least 3 credits of philosophy and 3 credits of science. Other philosophy or neuroscience courses may be used to meet this requirement with prior written approval of the director of the program.

PHIL 621 - Philosophy of Science Credits: 3
PHIL 643 - Environmental Ethics Credits: 3
PHIL 733 - Current Issues in Cognitive Science Credits: 3
PSYC 527 - Introduction to Neurobiology Credits: 2
PSYC 531 - Mammalian Neurobiology Credits: 3
PSYC 557 - Psychometric Methods Credits: 3
PSYC 685 - Cognitive Neuroscience Credits: 3
PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior Credits: 3
PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior Credits: 3
BIOL 572 - Human Genetics Credits: 3
NEUR 702 - Research Methods Credits: 3

Proposal (1 credit)

MAIS 797 - Interdisciplinary Studies Proposal Credits: 1

Project or thesis (4 credits)

Students cap their study of neuroethics by writing a master’s thesis or completing a two-semester project in neuroethics. The project involves student observation and involvement in scientific research, clinical work, or policy setting.

MAIS 798 - Interdisciplinary Studies Project Credits: 1-5 or MAIS 799 - Interdisciplinary Studies Thesis Credits: 1-5

Total: 36 Credits

Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

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