Major and minor
Esther Penick, Biology, chair
Heather Hoffmann, Psychology
Judy Thorn, Biology
Cooperating staff from other programs
John Dooley, Computer Science
Janet Kirkley, Biochemistry
James Mountjoy, Biology
Jennifer Templeton, Biology
Neuroscience is one of the most fascinating and rapidly growing fields in science today. This interdisciplinary field unites psychology, biology, and biochemistry (as well as in some instances chemistry, computer science, mathematics, philosophy, and linguistics) in the study of nervous system function. Neuroscience research spans multiple levels of analysis and includes basic and applied research problems. Just a few of the many topics addressed include the development of drug and other therapies to help people with brain injury or disease, the investigation of neural systems responsible for consciousness, and the exploration of cellular/molecular processes that underlie memory or drug addiction. Neuroscientists are employed in diverse settings including in research at universities or for pharmaceutical companies, in medicine as neurologists, clinical neurologists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists or psychiatrists, in policy-making bodies in the government and in the criminal justice system.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - BIOL 210 and NEUR 399 serve as writing-intensive courses for majors
- Speaking Key Competency - BIOL 210 and PSYC 282 serve as speaking-intensive courses for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Majors will learn how to use online databases (e.g. PubMed, PsycInfo) to gather neuroscience literature, how to analyze and graphically represent data (using, e.g. Excel and SPSS), and how to professionally present research projects (using, e.g. PowerPoint and Adobe InDesign). Key courses for acquiring these skills include the research methods courses, advanced electives, and senior research.
Departmental Learning Goals
Neuroscience majors will:
- Be able to describe how neurons and the nervous system function and how such function can relate to behavior.
- demonstrate research skills that are both broad (i.e. scientific and statistical methods and how to critically read the literature and use it as a basis for developing an independent research project) and specific (i.e., techniques in cellular biology and/or behavioral research).
- Be able to to communicate about their research in a professional manner, both in written and oral form.
Requirements for the Major and Minor
Neuroscience Course Descriptions