Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at UC Davis.

What is Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior?

Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior (NPB) is a major within the College of Biological Sciences that emphasizes the understanding of vital functions common to all animals. All animals perform certain basic functions - they grow, reproduce, move, respond to stimuli and maintain homeostasis. The physiological mechanisms upon which these functions depend are precisely regulated and highly integrated through actions of the nervous and endocrine systems to determine behavior and the interaction between organisms and their physical and social environments. Students in this major will study functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior that relates to those mechanisms. They do so at the level of the cell, the organ system and the organism.

The Undergraduate Major:

The major requires a strong foundation in the quantitative disciplines of math, chemistry and physics. During the freshman and sophomore years, students take courses in math, chemistry, physics, and general biology. As a part of the College of Biological Sciences, students then take a common upper division curriculum in genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology, disciplines essential for all students studying any area within modern biology. As NPB majors, students take an additional course in cellular neurobiology, a course in systemic physiology, and a course in behavior. Since Biology is an experimental science, the laboratory experience is essential. Students are required to take three laboratory courses, one in systemic physiology, another in cell physiology and neurobiology, and an advanced laboratory. After completing these required courses, students gain additional breadth and depth by taking courses in systemic or comparative physiology, neurobiology, or behavior. Neurobiology focuses on how single and multiple neurons and the neuroendocrine system function to regulate and control physiological processes within the animal, and induce learning and behavior in an animal's interactions with its social and physical environments. Behavior is the outcome of the ongoing and dynamic interaction between the animal's physiology and its external environment. This interaction is essential for an animal's growth and reproduction, its very existence. Within their focus, students are strongly encouraged to take additional laboratory courses and to work with individual faculty within the College in independent study. Independent study is a critical part of the undergraduate educational experience, giving students the opportunity to apply what they have learned and extend their understanding and problem solving skill through working with faculty in the research laboratory.

Post Graduate Opportunities:

The major of NPB provides excellent preparation for many post graduate opportunities. Students achieve outstanding preparation for post graduate studies in the health related professions and graduate programs in biology related disciplines. The laboratory experience gained within the major provide background and skills marketable for entry level positions in private and academic research laboratories. Students interested in teaching in high schools can enter teaching credential programs; others have gone to law school and entered business programs.

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