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Field of Study: Neuroscience


Neuroscience programs teach people how the brain and nervous system work.



Neuroscience programs include topics such as:

  • Molecular and cellular neuroscience
  • Brain science
  • Anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system
  • Brain and body communication
  • Effect of medicine, drugs, and alcohol on brain function
  • Specific diseases including depression, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's
  • Neural systems and circuits

In neurosciences programs, students may be able to specialize in:

  • Neurobiology and anatomy
  • Neurobiology and behavior

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in neuroscience. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in neuroscience. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.


College preparation

For this program, schools recommend that you know how to use a computer and the Internet.

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

  • Pre-Calculus
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Advanced Biology courses
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Advanced Chemistry courses


Graduate admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Undergraduate degree in a science-related field that includes significant course work in inorganic and organic chemistry, biology, physics, and anatomy
  • Undergraduate courses in calculus and statistics


Typical course work

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Anatomy of the Brain
  • Biodiversity and Evolution
  • Cell Biology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Human Behavior
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuroscience and Drug Use
  • Physiology of the Brain
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Systems Neuroscience

Most of your courses will require significant laboratory and research time.

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

  • Required courses
  • Clinical practicum
  • Thesis (master's degree)
  • Preliminary exams (doctoral degree only)
  • Dissertation and dissertation defense (doctoral degree)


Things to know

With a bachelor's degree in neuroscience, you can usually work as a researcher or lab assistant. You can work for medical centers, universities, or drug companies.

Some people with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience choose to go to graduate school in psychology or counseling.

A background in neuroscience is considered good preparation for medical school or graduate school in physiological psychology, pharmacology, and additional study in neuroscience.

Most people with doctoral degrees in neuroscience become professors or researchers.


Similar fields of study

Careers you may qualify for

College Biological Science Teachers
Medical Scientists
Natural Sciences Managers



Society for Neuroscience

Schools that offer program

Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.

Carleton College - Northfield, Located in Southeast
Macalester College - St. Paul, Located in Metro
Mayo Clinic - Mayo School of Health Sciences - Rochester, Located in Southeast
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Located in Metro
University of St. Thomas - St. Paul, Located in Metro