University faculty members voted unanimously on Monday afternoon in favor of creating a new concentration in neuroscience at a faculty meeting.
The new concentration could start admitting undergraduates into the department as early as this spring.
The University has offered a neuroscience certificate program since 2001, but faculty members proposed establishing a concentration in the field because of greater interest from current and prospective students and the existence of similar neuroscience concentration programs at peer institutions, according to a leaked department proposal dated June 24.
There was no previous public announcement of faculty intent to develop a concentration. At the faculty meeting, no faculty members commented on the proposal, instead going directly to a vote.
The proposal was first reported by The Daily Princetonian on Sunday. The proposal published by the ‘Prince’ is the same proposal that was voted on at the faculty meeting.
“With the creation of a concentration, we could relax some of the requirements of the certificate program, to accommodate a broader range of students interested in the program,” the proposal said.
University officials or faculty involved with the neuroscience concentration project did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. Dean of the College Valerie Smith, Assistant Director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute Tim Tayler, neuroscience professor Jonathan Cohen and molecular biology professor David Tank did not respond to requests for comment.
Prior to Monday’s faculty meeting, the proposal was approved by the Committee on the Course of Study on Oct. 7, the Academic Planning Group on Oct. 15 and the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy on Nov. 19.
The concentration will go to the University’s Board of Trustees for approval in January, according to Dean of the Faculty Deborah Prentice. If the concentration is approved by the trustees, Prentice said the program will begin to admit new concentrators this spring.
The curriculum change comes a year after the opening of two new neuroscience and psychology buildings on campus and nine years after an initiative of then-University President Shirley Tilghman led to the founding of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
According to the proposal, the certificate program is currently geared toward both students who have a primary interest in neuroscience and students who have only a secondary interest in neuroscience and are actively pursuing another field of study.
The establishment of a full concentration is intended to be able to better accommodate those students belonging to the former category.
Introductory courses in physics, chemistry, calculus, statistics, computer science and neuroscience are listed as requirements for the concentration in the proposal. A 300-level laboratory course on the modern methods in neuroscience, called NEU 350: Laboratory in Principles of Neuroscience, is listed as a required course.