Muskingum College
Interdisciplinary Major in Neuroscience

brain      Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field in which scientists investigate the full spectrum of structure and function in the brain. Scientists with interests ranging from the microscopic structure of the neuron and its biochemical processes to the macroscopic organization of the brain and its relation to emotions, cognitions, and behavior work together toward a common goal—to provide answers to our most pressing personal and societal problems. Presently, neuroscience is the fastest growing area in basic scientific research. To acknowledge the importance of neuroscience and its rapid growth, Congress declared the 1990s as the Decade of the Brain, challenging researchers to be more aggressive and creative in their important work.

     Neuroscientists capitalize on this diversity of disciplinary approaches to enrich their own perspective on a particular problem. This interdisciplinary team philosophy enlivens discussion and often results in exciting and novel approaches to research problems. The nervous system and its relationship to behavior and mental processes presents many complex problems for investigators to explore. We believe a multifaceted approach provides the best strategy for understanding a subject as complex as the brain. The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Major offered by Muskingum College is designed to provide the undergraduate neuroscience student a basic core of courses which serve as the foundation for common seminar experiences and advanced research opportunities with the neuroscience faculty. The student becomes a part of the team and engages in scientific inquiry rarely experienced by undergraduate students.

     The neuroscience major would be an appropriate choice for anyone interested in a psychiatric health-care career including general medicine or nursing, but especially psychiatry, pharmacology, psychiatric nursing, clinical psychology, or cognitive rehabilitation. This major would also provide a good undergraduate foundation for further training in a graduate program in neuroscience or psychobiology. Additionally, majoring in neuroscience at Muskingum College would also provide a solid college education in the finest Liberal Arts tradition for any individual interested in understanding the human condition and their place in the world, regardless of career aspirations.

     The major consists of three components. In the Basic Science Core, students are provided a grounding in the physical, life, behavioral, and computational sciences. In the Neuroscience Core, students gain an in-depth understanding of brain organization and function. They do so in a combination of formal lecture and laboratory courses, informal seminar experiences, participation in an international forum on the brain (the annual meeting of the Society For Neuroscience), and the conduct of a year-long individual research project which serves as the capstone for their undergraduate experience. In the Neuroscience Distribution component, students can individualize and fine-tune their program by selecting from a group of specialty courses designed to provide either a behavioral, cognitive, computational, or molecular flavor to the basic major.

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