Physiology and Neurobiology

The physiology and neurobiology (PNB) major is intended for students interested in how humans, animals, and nervous systems function. Coursework spans the fields of comparative physiology, neurobiology, molecular endocrinology, reproductive endocrinology, developmental neurobiology, and neurochemistry.


To review graduation requirements for the major, please refer to the Undergraduate Catalog and the Major Requirements Worksheet for your catalog year. To look up your catalog year and keep track of graduation requirements, review your Academic Requirements Report in Student Admin. Catalog year is found at the top of your Academic Requirements Report.

Students can earn a BS degree in this major.

Major Requirements

Students must complete at least 24 credits of 2000-level or higher courses in PNB. The 24 credits must include courses from the major requirements below.

Notes: Students who have not completed 24 credits in the PNB major after satisfying the above requirements may take additional course(s) from the above categories, or any other PNB course at the 2000 level or higher. However, no more than three credits of PNB 3180, 3296, or 4296 may be applied toward the 24-credit requirement.

Introductory Biology Courses

Complete all of the following:

  • BIOL 1107. Principles of Biology I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 1201Q, 1202Q and 1230. General Physics I & II and General Physics Problems (11 credits total); or PHYS 1401Q and 1402Q. General Physics with Calculus I & II (8 credits total); or PHYS 1601Q and 1602Q. Honors Fundamentals of Physics I & II (8 credits total)

Core Group

Complete all of the following courses:

  • PNB 2274. Enhanced Human Physiology & Anatomy I (4 credits)
  • PNB 2275. Enhanced Human Physiology & Anatomy II (4 credits)
  • PNB 3251. Biology of the Brain (3 credits)

Physiology Group

Complete at least one of the following courses:

  • PNB 2250. Comparative Animal Physiology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3252. Physiological Model Systems (3 credits)
  • PNB 3262. Mammalian Endocrinology (2 credits)
  • PNB 3265. Comparative Endocrinology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3270. Molecular Endocrinology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3350. Membrane Transport in Health and Disease (3 credits)
  • PNB 3500. Cardiorespiratory Physiology (2 credits)

Neurobiology Group

Complete at least one of the following courses:

  • PNB 3255. Human Neuroanatomy (2 credits)
  • PNB 3260. Stem Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3275. Biology of Synaptic Transmission (2 credits)
  • PNB 3700. Sensory Physiology (3 credits)
  • PNB 4400. Biology of Nervous System Diseases (3 credits)

Experiential Group

Complete at least one of the following courses:

  • PNB 3120W. Public Communication of Physiology and Neurobiology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3180. Field Study in Physiology and Neurobiology (1-4 credits)
  • PNB 3263WQ. Investigations in Neurobiology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3264W. Molecular Principles of Physiology (4 credits)
  • PNB 4297W. Senior Research Thesis in Physiology and Neurobiology (3 credits)

Writing in the Major

Complete at least one of the following courses:

  • PNB 3120W. Scientific Writing in Neurobiology (1 credits)
  • PNB 3263WQ. Investigations in Neurobiology (3 credits)
  • PNB 3264W. Molecular Principles of Physiology (4 credits)
  • PNB 4296W. Senior Research Thesis in Physiology and Neurobiology (3 credits)

or any other W course in PNB.

Related Courses

Complete all of the following:

  • MCB 2000. Introduction to Biochemistry (4 credits) or MCB 3010. Biochemistry (5 credits)
  • MCB 2400. Human Genetics (3 credits) or MCB 2410. Genetics (3 credits)
  • CHEM 2443 (3 credits) and CHEM 2444 (3 credits); or CHEM 2241 (3 credits) and MCB 2210 (3 credits) or MCB 2215

Additional Notes and Restrictions

  • Use the PNB Requirements Worksheet, General Education Audit Sheet, and major sample sequence (below) to keep track of general education requirements and major requirements. These forms list the specific requirements for each catalog year. Visit the Forms page.
  • Honors students: refer to the honors page for honors requirements in your major.
  • Take additional PNB courses to meet the 24 credits of 2000-level or higher courses in PNB requirement.
  • Students may apply no more than three independent study credits of PNB 3180, 3295, 3299 toward their 24-credit requirement.
  • A maximum of one credit of PNB 3279 can count towards the 24 credits in the major.

Sample Course Sequence

Students majoring in physiology and neurobiology earn a BS degree. Candidates must complete the CLAS requirements for a BS to receive their degree. While no sample program can apply to every student, the following example assumes that the student has met the foreign language requirement in high school.


First Semester (Fall)

BIOL 1107 (4 credits)
CHEM 1127Q (4 credits)
English 1007 or 1010 or 1011 (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
UNIV 1800 (FYE) (1 credit)

Total credits: 16

Second Semester (Spring)

MCB 2400 or 2410 or BIOL 11081 (3-4 credits)
CHEM 1128Q (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Total credits: 13-14

Third Semester (Fall)

PNB 22742 (4 credits)
MATH 1131Q (4 credits)
CHEM 2443 3 (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)

Total credits: 14

Fourth Semester (Spring)

PNB 2275 (4 credits)
CHEM 2444 (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
MATH 1132Q (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)

Total credits: 17

Fifth Semester (Fall)

2000+ PNB course (3 credits)
PHYS 1401Q or 1201Q (4 credits)
2000+ PNB course (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 16

Sixth Semester (Spring)

PHYS 1402Q or 1202Q (4 credits)
PNB 3251 (3 credits)
MCB 2000 (4 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)

Total credits: 14

Seventh Semester (Fall)

PNB writing (W) course4 (1-4 credits)
PHYS 12305 or CHEM 24456 (3 credits)
2000+ PNB course (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 13-17

Eighth Semester (Spring)

2000+ PNB course (3 credits)
2000+ PNB course (2-3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Gen Ed (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Total credits: 14-15


1Students interest in dentistry should take BIOL 1108.

2PNB majors must take 24 credits of PNB coursework including all of the following core courses: PNB 2274-2275. Enhanced Human Physiology and Anatomy; PNB 3251. Biology of the Brain. Students may apply no more than three credits of PNB 3299 toward the 24-credit requirement.

3Related group requirement: MCB 2400. Human Genetics, or MCB 2410. Genetics, and MCB 2000. Introduction to Biochemistry, or MCB 3010. Biochemistry. CHEM 2443-2444. Organic Chemistry, or CHEM 2441, Organic Chemistry, and MCB 2210, Cell Biology.

4W course options in the PNB major include PNB 3120W. Scientific Writing in Neurobiology; PNB 3263WQ. Investigations in Neurobiology; PNB 3264W. Molecular Principles of Physiology; and PNB 4296W. Senior Research Thesis in PNB.

5The PNB major requires physics with calculus. PHYS 1230 is required if PHYS 1201Q-1202Q is taken.

6Students interested in pursuing medicine or dentistry should also take CHEM 2445. Organic Chemistry Laboratory.