NSCS Expected Student Learning Outcomes

The design of the NSCS major reflects a tiered approach. Students develop proficiency in the following abilities in core courses and enhance their competency in emphasis courses. We have developed three student learning outcomes for the NSCS program. Below we have listed these three, along with the overall approach to assessment for each.

Core knowledge-specific content

Students will develop a firm understanding of the theories, fundamental principles and concepts, and technologies of brain organization and function from both neuroscience and cognitive science perspectives.

  • Foundation, core and upper-division core courses provide the theoretical and conceptual knowledge and the technological skills that form the basis of the field of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
  • Each course in the core builds on pre-requisite courses and on lower-level courses in the curriculum. Concepts are explored in greater depth at each level and course discussions, exams, and projects require increasing levels of knowledge, culminating at the upper-division level in assignments and exams that require synthesis, integration, critical evaluation, and experimental design. Assessment is primarily course-specific measures designed by the instructors but also includes pre- and post-program exams.

Scientific inquiry

Students will develop the capacity to think critically and with cognitive flexibility about complex problems involving the brain and mind, and will develop the capacity to skillfully communicate concepts and research results to professionals and to the public.

  • Students acquire a solid foundation of content knowledge about the nervous system and cognitive processes through core courses; these courses address the distinction between popular beliefs about the brain and mind and what can be concluded on the basis of current scientific knowledge.
  • Upper-division core and elective courses introduce students to current research issues, and course assignments require critical analysis of situations and research, in both written and oral formats, and including statistical analyses. Assessment is accomplished primarily through direct measures as developed by course instructors.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to take on a project in a research lab or to complete independent studies/directed research with faculty, and to present their work in one of several forums (e.g., Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) poster sessions, NSCS research presentations, lab meetings.)

Ethics and professionalism

Students will apply ethical and professional standards to their evaluation of brain and mind-related research and technical development in the context of their own work and in the context of issues in the larger societal community.

  • Students will successfully complete the CITI online course on the principles of scientific research (required as part of NSCS 315B.)
  • Course-work throughout the curriculum includes discussion of ethics and science policy questions relevant to the course topic; assessment is accomplished primarily through direct measures as developed by course instructors.
  • Students are required to attend ethics and science policy seminars.