The mission of the program is to support education, research, and service in Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) at Western Washington University (WWU). This endeavor began in 2005, with the initiation of an interdisciplinary undergraduate BNS major housed within the Psychology Department. Recognizing growing faculty, student, and public interest in this field, the Washington State Legislature provided ongoing support of the WWU BNS Program through the Biomedical Research Activities in Neuroscience (BRAIN) Initiative beginning in 2007.
The Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS) Program housed within the Psychology Department, administers a Bachelor of Science (BS) major in BNS. This academic curriculum integrates elements of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology, to study how nervous system structure and function produces normal and abnormal behavior. Students engage in the study of nervous system structure and function at all levels, from molecular/cellular to systems/whole organism.
A broad range of elective credits allow BNS majors and their academic advisers to create a curriculum that best meets the student’s future goals. Western Washington University’s Behavioral Neuroscience program prepares individuals to excel in a variety of professional industries. After completing a BS in Behavioral Neuroscience, students often pursue careers in research, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and academia. Regardless of postgraduate ambitions, BNS graduates are well equipped for positions in academic institutions, treatment centers, and biomedical laboratories.
Students applying to the Behavioral Neuroscience major must first meet the following requirements:
- Complete at least 75 undergraduate credits.
- Complete the following courses with an average grade point of 2.9 or higher: CHEM 161, CHEM 162, CHEM 163; BIOL 204, BIOL 205, BIOL 206; PSY 101, and PSY 220.
During 2019-2020 academic year the program accepted students that had an average prerequisite GPA of 3.54 and acceptance rate of 62.34%. Students can apply to the program Fall, Winter or Spring quarters, the deadline for each quarter is Friday at 5:00 PM, the end of the second full week of classes. Applicants will be notified of the admissions committee’s decision by the end of the fifth full week of classes. Successful applicants must declare their major upon acceptance, so that they can enroll in the program’s courses the following academic quarter. Students may apply to the major more than once, but to reapply they must meet with a neuroscience adviser as soon as possible after receiving their declination letter. Transfer students must complete one quarter at WWU before they can apply to this program. Letters of recommendation are not accepted.
Visit our major application page for additional information about the major.
The BNS program promotes original research and encourages undergraduate involvement in research both through independent research through our faculty research programs and through research-oriented laboratory classes.
Participating in faculty-mentored research can expose students to the true workings of the scientific method, enhance a student’s resume when applying to graduate school, as well as provide students with bench skills that make them great candidates for entry level positions in biomedical research. Student research presentation opportunities enable students to present their research in a variety of settings. Presenting original research is a great way to network, as well as practice presenting data and information to others.
Students interested in pursuing laboratory research should contact individual faculty in their areas of interest. Visit the web page to learn more about our Faculty Research Programs.
Thank you to everyone who participated in supporting BNS during WWU Give Day! Whether it was through your donation, your time, or even just reading our facebook posts about student research and scholarships, we appreciate your support! Because of your support, the program was successful in raising over $6,000 as part of WWU Give Day efforts, which will be used to directly provide undergraduate scholarships and provide paid undergraduate research assistant positions and travel to conferences. The BNS program wouldn’t be what it is today without the amazing donors, alumni, faculty, staff, and students that are part of the BNS family, and we are so thankful for your support for undergraduate research.
2020 Outstanding Graduate
Congratulations to Mason Hardy ’20, the Behavioral Neuroscience Program’s Outstanding Graduate from the school year 2019-2020. To learn what Mason is working on post-graduation please read on, “After graduating from Western, I started working as a temporary Animal Care Technician for Western’s Behavioral Neuroscience Program. Recently, I have transitioned to working as a temporary Molecular Extraction Technician at Northwest Laboratory. As part of their molecular team, I assist with clinical laboratory screening for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This has been an exciting opportunity to experience working in a clinical laboratory while helping address growing testing needs inside and outside of Washington. After Northwest Laboratory, I intend to transition into preclinical laboratory research and eventually pursue higher education through graduate school. I would like to thank all of the faculty who supported me throughout my undergraduate studies and who have motivated me to follow my ambitions. Lastly, I would like to encourage current and future BNS students to utilize the many great resources available to them through the program, and to reach out to faculty with questions or for advice.”