All Neuroscience majors take many courses outside the major. Neuroscience has the largest number of requirements of any major at Amherst — 14 without senior honors thesis, 17 with thesis — but that is still only about half of the 32 courses students take at Amherst. So, there is plenty of opportunity to take courses in other areas, and Neuroscience majors rarely take more than the required number of courses for their major since they are required to take so many.
Caution regarding double majoring
We advise caution about actually majoring in a second subject, with all the implications re: courses and other requirements such as senior comprehensive exams. If a student majors in a second department with, e.g. 10 courses required for the major (a typical number of courses for some majors), and if the student does a senior thesis in neuroscience, that would be a total of 27 courses, leaving only 5 courses in the student's whole Amherst education outside the two majors. That would be a fairly narrow set of courses among the more than 30 departments and programs at Amherst. Also, there are a limited number of class times at which courses are scheduled, and it sometimes happens that a course the student needs for neuroscience and another course the student needs for a second major meet at the same hour, leading to a conflict. We want students who major in Neuroscience to be firmly committed to completing the major without making exceptions about required courses. Also, each major has other requirements than courses, e.g. attendance at guest speaker seminars and senior comprehensive exercises, and these can lead to additional scheduling conflicts with requirements for a second major.
Rules regarding double majoring
- The only courses you may "double count" for Neuroscience and also for another major are courses that are specifically required for both majors. For example, not one Biology course above BIOL-191 can count for both Biology and Neuroscience, and not one Psychology course can count for both Psychology and Neuroscience.
- If a course you need for another major meets at the same time as a required Neuroscience course, it is not possible to alter the requirements for the Neuroscience major.
- A requirement for another major is not an exception for missing the senior seminar and comprehensive requirement (i.e., scheduled Neuroscience seminars and Comprehensive presentations).