BCS Advising

Brain and cognitive science (BCS) advisors can assist students in a variety of areas:

Advice About the Discipline

Our faculty welcome contact with students curious about the brain and cognitive sciences discipline. If you would like to know more about the department and what we do, and know a faculty member who might be able to help, you should approach that person directly. If not, feel free to contact the chair of the BCS department.

The BCS undergraduate program administrator is also available to help you with a range of issues, including general advising, registration questions, academic policy questions, future course planning, study abroad, and major/minor declaration.

Students interested in BCS may also wish to join the BCS/NSC Undergraduate Council.

Declaring the Major

A student who is ready to declare a brain and cognitive sciences (BCS) major should make an appointment with the BCS undergraduate coordinator, Melinda Adelman, via her appointment calendar.

Together with the undergraduate program administrator, you will make a semester-by-semester course plan and be assigned to a BCS faculty advisor. Both you and your new advisor will receive a copy of the course plan via email.

The next step is to meet with your BCS faculty advisor. Together, you will discuss the courses you have chosen to take, your career goals, and options for independent research should you be so inclined. Finally, you must complete the online major declaration form. The course plan you made with the undergraduate program administrator will be a useful guide to the courses you should include on the major declaration form.

The director of the undergraduate program will review your online declaration submission and match it against your plan. Your declaration form will be rejected if you have not yet met with the undergraduate program administrator. Plan ahead as appointment slots can fill quickly. You will receive an email notifying you of either your declaration acceptance, or a request for modification and resubmission.

The major in BCS fulfills the natural science requirement of the Rochester Curriculum. There will be space on the declaration form to select your clusters in social sciences and humanities. If you plan to complete an additional major or minor, you must submit a separate declaration form for each one.

As a BCS major, you must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the major. Individual courses may have a grade below C as long as the major GPA remains above 2.0. It is recommended that you meet with your advisor at least once a year.

Making Changes to your Major

It is common to make changes to your course plan after your major is declared. You do not need to submit a new major declaration form, but you should work with your faculty advisor and the undergraduate program administrator to be sure that the changes are appropriate and that they are noted in your advising record.

Course Overlap Policies

Some courses for the BCS major may also be applicable to other programs of study. A maximum of three courses may overlap between majors, two courses between a major and a minor, or one course between a major and a cluster. A small number of courses are exempt from these limits. See the College Center for Advising Services page on overlap policies for more details and a current list of exempt courses.

Preparing for Medical School

Both BA and BS BCS graduates have been successful in being accepted info a variety of health graduate programs, including:

  • Medical school
  • Nursing school
  • Pharmacy programs
  • Veterinary school
  • Dental school
  • Physician’s assistant programs
  • Physical therapy programs

For more information about how to prepare for medical school see the premed page

Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer credits from domestic colleges and study abroad programs are permitted for the BCS major with approval from the appropriate department(s). Incoming transfer students should seek course approval as soon as possible after receiving an offer of admission. All other students must obtain approval for transfer credits before the course is taken.

You will need a transfer course approval form and the syllabus for each course you plan to take. Email the form and syllabus to a representative of the department that would teach that content if the course was offered at UR. The College Center for Advising Services maintains a list of transfer credit approvers for each department. Once the approval form is signed, email it to both the registrar’s office and the BCS undergraduate program administrator.

No more than two transfer courses may be used as part of your BCS elective track. Additional transfer credits may be applied to other parts of your major at the discretion of the department. The lab and senior seminar requirements may not be transferred under any circumstances.

Incoming transfer students must complete at least 50% of their major requirements at UR. No more than 5 courses for the BA degree and no more than 9 courses for the BS degree can be satisfied by transfer credit regardless of course equivalencies.

AP, IB, and A-Level Credit Policy

For BS degree students, AP or IB credits for chemistry and physics may satisfy allied field or open elective requirements. AP or IB credits for computer science and calculus may satisfy general science foundation requirements for programming and math. Students with 8 AP credits from the BC calculus exam may satisfy both a general science foundation requirement and one allied field or open elective requirement.

AP credits for statistics satisfy the formal methods requirement of the BCS major for both BA and BS degree students. However, students with AP statistics credits are strongly encouraged to take an additional statistics course such as STAT 216 prior to taking their BCS lab course. BS students may use STAT 216 or a similar course to satisfy one of their allied field or open elective requirements.

AP or IB credits for biology do not satisfy any requirement for the BCS major. Students with AP/IB biology credits may elect to take BIOL 112L instead of BIOL 110 or 110L to fulfill the cell biology requirement of the BS degree.

Note that IB credit is awarded for higher-level (HL) courses only.

Credit is not automatically awarded for A-levels. Students with A-levels should see an advisor for the specific department(s) and ask for credits to be awarded via a transfer course approval form or memo to the College Center for Advising Services. A-level credits, if awarded, will be accepted similar to the AP credits outlined above.

All AP, IB, and A-level credits are considered transfer credits and count toward the limits noted above.