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The Neuroscience Department

Degrees Offered
Two different degrees are offered. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Neuroscience provides students with a general background in Neuroscience and provides flexibility with fewer requirements. The Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience is an intensive option that provides students with a strong background in several areas of neuroscience and is recommended for students pursuing a career in research. 

The Neuroscience Curriculum
All neuroscience majors will demonstrate knowledge of the basic electrical, anatomical and dynamic properties of neurons and the way they function in networks.

Major topics include:

  • the structure and function of ion channels
  • the way in which channels produce neural activity
  • the properties of neurotransmitter systems and their pharmacology
  • the properties and anatomical location of brain circuits responsible for particular functions
  • the properties of synapses and the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity that underlie learning
  • the developmental principles that lead to the formation of brain networks
  • the basis of neural codes by which neurons communicate
  • the causes and mechanisms of various neurological disorders
  • the basic properties of memory, perception and motor control

Skills:

Students who major in neuroscience will have the opportunity to acquire skills in:

1. Experimental laboratory work. Examples of general skills include pipetting and gel electrophoresis. More specific skills may be acquired by working in a research laboratory. These skills include brain dissection, tissue culture of neurons, techniques in optical and electron microscopy, and techniques in electrophysiology.
2. Quantitative methods. The ability to select and carry out appropriate statistical tests is necessary for any scientific research. Students interested in pursuing a research career should be able to use the scientific programming language, Matlab, to analyze data.
3. Critical thinking. The ability to form a hypothesis and then devise experiments to test that hypothesis is an important aspect of the scientific method. Students will also learn how to search, select from and evaluate scientific literature.
4. Presentation of ideas. Students will learn how to produce convincing written/oral arguments.