Differences Between The Two Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Majors

n          p            b

Have you heard students saying they are part of the new Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB) major? Did you know there was a new NPB major? As of Fall 2016, the College of Biological Sciences introduced a new NPB major, which has significant differences from the old NPB major. Therefore, it is very important that a student knows which requirements they are to expected to follow because you cannot combine the requirements from both majors. Some students have the choice of choosing between the two majors while other students must complete requirements for the new major. A student that has been enrolled in UC Davis prior to Fall 2016 has the option of choosing which major they would like to pursue. However, a student that started UC Davis Fall 2016 or later must follow the new NPB requirements, unless they are a transfer student. If the student is a transfer student they have the option of choosing between the two majors if they started college prior to Fall 2016. This blog will further explain the differences between the two majors and provide suggestions to students who are deciding which requirements to follow.

Pre-Fall 2016- “Old” NPB Major

We will start with first going over the old NPB major. The first two years are exactly the same in both majors because students are taking their major prscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-5-23-49-pmerequisites courses (BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, MAT 17ABC/MAT 21AB, CHE 118 ABC/CHE 8AB, and PHY 7ABC). Other courses that both majors require are STA 100, BIS 101, and either BIS 102 and 103 or BIS 105. After these courses, these two majors have differences in the courses required. For the Pre-Fall 2016 major, a student would need to take BIS 104, NPB 100, 101, 102, NPB lab, and an evolution course (ANT 151, GEL 107, EVE 100). Then, the student has to take at least 12 units from the depth courses list. The depth courses list has many different classes, which allows students to explore and create a unique schedule that would best fit them.

Fall 2016-“NEW” NPB Major

As mentioned before, this major also requires the major prerequisites courses (BIS 2ABC, CHE 2ABC, MAT 17ABC/MAT 21AB, CHE 118 ABC/CHE 8AB, and PHY 7ABC) and STA 100, BIS 101, and either BIS 102 and 103 oscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-5-24-17-pmr Bis 105. The main difference for this major is that it has a new series (NPB 110ABC) and you get to choose a track: Physio, Neuro, or Organism-Environmental Interactions (OEI).  This major no longer requires BIS 104 or an evolution course because curriculum from these courses are already included in NPB 110ABC with a focus on how it connects to behavior. Each track has its own set of requirements, such as taking a certain NPB lab and then having to take at least 12 units from the approved list of classes provided. Finally, you have to take at least 3 units from the “Extra Elective” column and that completes the major. This new major allows you to have a more in depth knowledge of either Physio, Neuro, or Organism-Environmental Interactions by taking classes that are more specific to that field, while also allowing you to create your own unique schedule because of the many courses you have to choose from.

Additional Considerations:

  1. How far along are you on the old vs. the new requirements? Would it be a smooth transition?
    • If you are a first or second year, the transition would be very smooth. However, if you are in your third or fourth year you should consider which classes you have already taken.
  2. Can the classes you have already completed for the old major be used to satisfy requirements for the new major?
    • For example, if you already took NPB 100, NPB 101, and BIS 104 it would be best to stick with the old major instead of re-taking the NPB 110 series and receiving limited units. Since the courses (NPB 100 & 101) are very similar to to NPB 110B & C, you will only receive 2 units per course instead of the 5 units.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. I’m a first year/second year student, and I could easily do either major. Which set of major requirements do you recommend? Which one is better?
    • Neither is better, and each has its own advantages. For example, the core classes (100, 101, 102) for the old major can be taken out of order, allowing for some more flexibility (NPB 110 ABC must be taken in order).
  2. Will NPB 110C satisfy requirements for health professions such as PT, RN, or PA school?
    • Yes, both NPB 101 and NPB 110C would satisfy the requirement because graduate schools that require a physiology course should accept any upper division physiology course intended for science majors.
  3. Can I mix and match the old and new major requirements?
    • No, and that is why it is very important to figure out which major you want to pursue and stick with it.

The new NPB Major was created because faculty members decided to update the major requirements because of science advantages. However, both majors provide students with a broad NPB education and a rewarding academic experience. If you have any other questions or still having a hard time choosing between the to majors, please do not hesitate to visit the BASC website or a peer/staff advisor at the Biology Academic Success Center!

Rufa Pazyuk
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Religious Studies Double Major

Why Major in NPB?

Human neuroanatomy diagram

What is NPB?

While some might think that NPB means “no peanut butter,” “no paper bills,” or “no problem, Bob,” ask any NPB student and they will tell you its true meaning – Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior.

With a yearly average of over 966 students, NPB is the third largest major in the College of Biological Sciences1. So why is this elaborately named major so popular?

N = Neurobiology

This aspect of the major focuses on the lovely gray matter in your skull and how this singular organ coordinates perception, sensory and motor function, cognition, learning, memory, and basic reflex pathways. Did you know that about 50% of your brain is dedicated to vision? Do you ever wonder how a pain in your toe – the furthest body part away from your brain – can almost instantaneously transmit sensory information up into your nervous system? This occurs through various neural circuits that integrate information in the brain from environmental signals at different parts of the body. You will learn more about this circuitry in NPB 100 (Neurobiology), which is a required course for the major.

P = Physiology

This aspect of the major focuses on the physiological mechanisms that regulate basic functions, such as growth, reproduction, movement, response to stimuli, and the maintenance of homeostasis. These functional mechanisms occur at the level of the cell, organ system, and whole organism and are common to all animals. There is also an emphasis on human physiology and the systematic functions of major organ systems. The amount of interconnection within the human body may surprise you! For example, nerve impulses to and from the brain can travel as fast as 170 miles per hour and the human body is estimated to have up to 60,000 miles of blood vessels! This intricate and extensive circuitry is essential for overall physiological function. You will learn more about the human body in NPB101 (Systemic Physiology), which is a required course for the major.

Human body systems diagram

B = Behavior

This aspect of the major focuses on how the nervous system (neurobiology) and the endocrine system (physiology) integrate to determine behavior and the interaction between organisms and their environments – both physical and social. Wouldn’t you be curious to find out how nerve impulses can release specific hormones that can influence your mood or behavior? For example, do you ever wonder why you might feel pain from a sports injury hours after you’ve stopped exercising? This is due to a “runner’s high” which is a secretion of endorphins that may inhibit pain during physical activity..

N + P + B = NPB

As a whole, the NPB major provides a multifaceted approach to how organisms regulate basic and complex functions, the mechanisms underlying these functions, and how neural and physiological information is integrated to influence behavior. Continue reading “Why Major in NPB?”