Earlham’s neuroscience program provides the opportunity for students to explore the complexities of the brain and nervous system and how they affect human behavior, thought, emotion and psychiatric disease.
You will have the opportunity to work closely with biology and psychology faculty who are devoted to helping you develop your research interests, establish professional networks and find your career path.
Neuroscience majors can pursue graduate study in human or veterinary medicine, healthcare, as well as highly specialized neuroscience programs in biology and psychology.
Recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees at University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan and University of Edinburgh, to name a few. Our alumni pursue a wide variety of careers, including medicine, healthcare, scientific research and physical/occupational therapy.
After thorough grounding in the fundamentals of biology and psychology followed by exploration of special topics in advanced courses, the capstone experience for the neuroscience major is the completion of an original research topic that integrates psychology and biology.
For example, student projects have investigated the impact of peppermint on attention and performance.
Another student examined the impact of stress, isolation, and decision making in mice.
A third project examined how exposure to humorous stimuli influenced physiological stress responses.
As a Senior Research (PSYC 486) student, you can work with an animal if you:
- have substantial previous experience with your study species, to the point where you can work independently or with minimal guidance;
- and a faculty member with the species expertise has agreed on working together and on funding for the animals (even if a small cost is paid by you);
- have your research project designed and approved by IACUC prior to the beginning of their Senior Research course term;
- have completed all the training requirements for animal research at Earlham (Moodle Page: Animal User Guide), including medical evaluation, before the beginning of your Senior Research course term; and
- have the approval of one of the Senior Research (PSYC486) professors for the term you will be doing the research.
To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience, you must complete 44 credit hours (12 courses plus a 1-credit seminar), in addition to general education requirements:
At least two of the following courses, totaling at least seven credits:
These courses are also recommended depending on your interest, but not required:
Additional notes to keep in mind:
If you’re interested in post-graduate study, including medical school, you should review entrance requirements of the programs in which you’re interested, since many programs require physics, calculus and additional chemistry courses.
If you’re interested in taking biochemistry, remember the prerequisites for this course are CHEM 111, 221, 321 and 331.
If you’re interested in animal behavior, ornithology, biology of insects and/or vertebrate zoology, remember that BIOL 111 Ecological Biology is a prerequisite.
With approval from neuroscience faculty, specialty courses that are offered on an occasional basis may substitute for one or more of the elective courses.
94% of recent neuroscience graduates were working or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
93% of work seekers who majored in a cross-divisional major between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.
Recent graduates have been admitted to graduate programs in neuroscience, nursing, public health, biomedicine and integrative physiology.
Top job industries for neuroscience majors include research, lab work and healthcare services.
What kind of research experience and internships are available?
Many Earlhamites have interned at the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute of the Indiana University School of Medicine, and funding is available for these interns through the Earlham Center for Global and Career Education.
Other neuroscience majors have interned as research assistants at the Shanghai Mental Health Center, Schepens Eye Research Institute, the Regenstrief Institute, the University of Chicago and many other locations.
Information for first-year students
If you’re planning to major in neuroscience you should speak with a faculty member in biology or psychology early in your undergraduate career.
Faculty will help lay out a four-year plan that includes required courses, elective courses that support the specific neuroscience area of interest, opportunities for off-campus study and possible internships.
Early consultation is important to the sequencing of several courses so study remains an option off-campus.
In general, your four-year plan should consist of the following:
- CHEM 111 in your first semester
- CHEM 221 and BIOL 112 in your second semester
- BIOL 341 in the fall of your sophomore year
- BIOL 242 in your sophomore or junior year
- Begin taking courses in psychology by the end of your sophomore year.
- A summer research experience is highly recommended. Faculty and staff from the Center for Global and Career Education will work with you to identify appropriate opportunities.
Can I do off-campus study
Yes! We strongly encourage first-year students who are considering a major in neuroscience to speak with their faculty adviser as early as possible about their interest in off-campus study. This allows your adviser to help you create a four-year plan that incorporates an off-campus semester into your coursework.
Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.