Updated 8/15/2011

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Course URL: http://www2.gsu.edu/~biopsk/bio6102

Fall Semester 2011

Biol 6102 (CRN 80159) / Neur 6010 (CRN 86400)


Course Description | Grading | Policies


Dr. Paul S. Katz
Office: Petit Science Center 816 
Office Hours: Available by appointment
Tel: 404-413-5398
E-mail: pkatz@gsu.edu  

Lecture Time and Location:
Tues Thurs 1:00 – 2:45
Classroom South 310

Neuroscience, Exploring the Brain
Third Edition

Bear, Connors and Paradiso
Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, publisher
ISBN: 978-0-7817-6003-4

Purchase from the following places:
GSU Book Store
Publisher’s site

Course Description:
This course provides an introduction to how the nervous system functions. It will be tailored to master’s students in biology. It should be of interest to anyone who wants to study how the brain works. The importance of understanding the brain and nervous system goes beyond the quest for a general understanding of ourselves and the animals around us. In order to keep apace of medical advances for treatment of mental illness or to understand current research into the role of genetics in determining behavior, a person must be well grounded in basic neuroscience. The course discusses the facts about brain science, the history of discoveries, and the methods used for making those discoveries. It also tries to give a perspective on what the unanswered questions are.

The course begins by explaining the molecular basis for signaling in the nervous system: how action potentials are produced, how neurotransmitters are released, and how they evoke their effects. The 2nd Unit is on the sensory systems.  The 3rd Unit of the course is about the output of the nervous system (behavior).  The final Unit deals with how the nervous system changes during development, as a result of experience, and as a result of evolution.

Students will do quantitative exercises, perform literature searches, and read primary research literature.  There will be a discussion component to the course as well.

Learning Outcomes


General Goals:

Specific Goals:

Three Exams: 20% each (60% total)

Final Exam: 20%

Weekly Assignments: 10%

Term Assignment 10%

The tests and exam are not graded on a curve. There is a certain amount of material that you are expected to understand when you complete this course.

A+ > 95%
A   90-95%
A-  88-89%

B+ 86-87%
B   80-85%
B-  78-79%

C+ 76-77%
C   70-75%
C-  68-69%

D   60-67%
F   < 60%

How to do well in this class:
Read the book, attend class, and do the assignments!
The tests will cover material gone over in class. The book will provide a more detailed account of this material and should be used as a supplement for lectures. If you do not read the book, you will be unlikely to do well on the tests. You should read the book prior to coming to class for the lecture.  Take notes in class.  Read your notes and go over the chapter again. Find a partner to study with.  It helps to quiz each other. The expectation is that you spend more time outside of class learning the material than in the class.

Please arrive in class prior to 1:00.  It is disruptive to your classmates to have people arriving late. Attendance will not be taken in class.  However, the tests will cover material presented in class, not all of which is in the textbook. If you choose not to attend classes, then you will probably not do well on the exams. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to make up the missed material from classmates and from lecture notes on the web.   If you know in advance that you will have a legitimate conflict with an exam, notify the professor as soon as possible.  Make up exams will not be the same format as the regular exam and may include essay questions or an oral examination.  Please read the University policy about attendance.

Academic honesty.
Please read the University policy about academic honesty. When you hand in an assignment to be graded, it is expected to be your OWN work.  While it is permitted to seek help for homework assignments, you are supposed to do the assignment yourself.  If your name is on the paper, then this indicates that you have produced this work.  If you sign your name to someone else's work, you are making a false claim.  If you copy or paraphrase someone else's work and pass it off as your own work, you are committing plagiarism.  The penalty for plagiarism can be expulsion from the university.  DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!!!!!

Special Accommodations

Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to the instructor of all classes in which accommodations are sought.

Cell phones and pagers.
Please turn off your cell phones and pagers while in class.  If a cell phone rings, then the professor reserves the right to answer it.

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