Bachelor in Neuroscience
What is Neuroscience?
Neuroscience is the study of brain and nervous system and includes the study of sub-disciplines such as development, sensation and perception, behavior, cognition, learning and memory, movement, sleep, stress, aging and neurological and psychiatric disorders. The discipline of neuroscience also includes the study of molecules, cells, and genes responsible for nervous system functioning.
What do you do with a major in Neuroscience?
Approximately 33% of the students who graduate with a major in Neuroscience from Allegheny College continue their neuroscience education in graduate school, 28% enter medical, veterinary, or physical therapy school, 14% find employment as research technicians at major research universities, 7% work as counselors or teachers, and 4% work in medical or pharmaceutical sales.
The faculty in the Neuroscience Program are committed to helping students acquire: 1) a knowledge of basic facts, concepts, and theories in neuroscience, 2) the ability to critically interpret this knowledge and to relate it to other subject areas in the Liberal Arts, 3) the ability to add to the body of knowledge through independent research, and 4) the ability to communicate their understanding to others both within and outside of the field of neuroscience.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing a major in Neuroscience are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate a broad understanding of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry in relation to sensory processing, behavior, cognition, and health.
- demonstrate a depth of knowledge in both cell and molecular neurobiology and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.
- understand the tools and methods used in neuroscience research and critically analyze the primary literature in specific sub-disciplines within neuroscience.
- design, conduct, and interpret results of neuroscience experiments and to effectively communicate these results in both oral and written form.
Key Allegheny Benefits
- Excellent foundation for graduate study.
- Critical and analytical thinking skills.
- Ability to design and implement research studies.
- Recognition of the ethical dimensions of scientific research.
- Understanding of the connections between scientific and other disciplines.
- Required individual Senior Project demonstrates to graduate schools and prospective employers the ability to complete a major independent research assignment.
- Numerous opportunities for student research in off-campus environments such as the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Alumni are actively sought after by some of the best graduate programs in the country.
- Recently, Allegheny was one of 52 institutions selected from among 189 applicants to receive a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The $600,000 grant is funding expansion of the neuroscience major through faculty and research support.
- “These [grant-winning] colleges and universities do an excellent job of preparing students for careers in scientific research, teaching, medicine and related fields.”- Purnell W. Choppin, president, Hughes Medical Institute.
- “Allegheny faculty teach you how to ask a question, how to capitalize on what is known to figure out what is not known, how to break out of that textbook mode. ‘Get online, make the call, write the proposal, go after the information’-that’s what they tell you.” – Ted Carpenter-Smith ’88, technical specialist, Arthur Andersen & Co.’s Center for Professional Education.
- A $400,000 grant from the Keck Foundation permitted the development of new interdisciplinary neuroscience courses: “Neuroscience of Dance and Movement”; “Neuroscience and the Visual Arts”; “Mind and Brain “; and “History of Neuroscience.”
- Allegheny was one of fifteen institutions to receive a FOCUS grant from the Verizon Foundation. This grant provided $30,000 to fund a summer science camp outreach program targeting underrepresented students and women.
- Student access to all departmental facilities and equipment is the rule at Allegheny, producing research opportunities usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions.
- Our state of the art biology building features combined laboratory/classroom spaces, with student and faculty research areas adjacent to faculty offices.
- All equipment is available for student use, including ultracentrifuge, UV-visible spectrophotometers, tissue culture facilities and equipment, optical microscopes (real-time fluorescent imaging facilities, Nomarski, phase contrast, etc.), liquid scintillation counter, PCR thermacycler, ultra-low temperature freezers, electrophoresis equipment, cryostat, intra-extracellular electrophysiology equipment.
- Extensive computer facilities, including powerful workstations, in both biology and psychology departments and in the Pelletier Library. Biology and psychology faculty have created custom programs for the workstations which are an integral element of both introductory and advanced courses.
- Allegheny’s psychology laboratory complex gives students opportunities far advanced over those offered by most undergraduate colleges. Recently, over $500,000 was invested in lab renovations to provide the latest equipment and instrumentation. The complex includes a physiological psychology teaching lab, an operant conditioning teaching lab, a psychopharmacology research lab for animal work, an animal colony with a full-time caretaker, a human psychophysiology research lab, and suites for student projects.
Student Research and Special Projects
Every Alleghenian completes a Senior Project in his or her major field. The Senior Project is a significant piece of original work, designed by the student and a faculty advisor, that demonstrates the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information and to write and speak persuasively.
Students may participate in research prior to the Senior Project by taking advantage of the Independent Study or Research Internship options available in the neuroscience curriculum. Both options are credit-bearing courses that can be taken during any semester. Independent Study students explore research hypotheses of their own creation.
Independent study & research internships
- Students may participate in research prior to the Senior Project by taking advantage of the Independent Study or Research Internship options available in the neuroscience curriculum. Both options are credit-bearing courses that can be taken during any semester. Independent Study students explore research hypotheses of their own creation.
- Research internships provide the opportunity for students to get involved as active participants on research projects defined by faculty supervisors. Students also can participate in summer research internships at Allegheny and at other off-campus research facilities.
Students who demonstrate superior performance in certain lab courses may be invited to serve as teaching assistants. Duties may include actual instruction of students in neuroscience laboratory procedures and tutoring of students enrolled in neuroscience and related courses.
Students are encouraged to present their research findings at a variety of local and national conferences including the Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Research Conference, Sigma Xi, the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting and others.
- Approximately 70% of students majoring in neuroscience seek admission to graduate schools following graduation.
- Approximately 90% of this group are admitted to programs of graduate study in the neurosciences.
- Recent schools include:
- Boston University
- Dartmouth College
- Emory University
- Louisiana State University
- State University of New York, Buffalo
- University of Arizona, Tucson
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Colorado, Boulder
- University of Connecticut
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Rochester
- University of Virginia
- University of Washington
- West Virginia University
Approximately 95% of students who have earned graduate degrees in the neurosciences are employed in academic or industrial neuroscience positions.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated December 6, 2017