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Overview

The fist-sized hunk of fatty tissue weighing about three pounds that is the human brain is one of the most complicated systems known. It transmits our every thought, motion, and emotion through complex processes neuroscientists spend most of their time trying to understand. (Of course, humans aren’t the only subjects of neuroscientific research. Animals play a large role in the field as means to understanding human neurology--as well as that of animals themselves.)

Neuroscience is inherently interdisciplinary. Molecular genetics, biochemistry, pharmacology, neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, molecular biology, computational neuroscience, psychology, and even physics help neuroscientists unlock the mysteries of sensation and perception, learning and memory, movement, sleep, stress, aging and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Because of this, graduate programs in neuroscience involve multiple departments, and may be "housed" in psychology, biology, or other departments, and courses of study after the master’s degree become highly specialized and individual.

Degree Information

Programs that do offer Master’s of Science degrees tend to consider them primarily as a step towards Ph.Ds. or combined M.D./Ph.Ds. As such, master’s degrees can sometimes be completed in one year.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • Do the different departments associated with the program work well with each other?
  • What research has the faculty conducted?
  • Is the program well-funded and equipped?
  • What is the level of student-faculty interaction?

Career Overview

Most graduates become teachers and researchers in academic institutions, industry, or government. Particularly for those in academia, government, and private grants play a large role in funding research.

Career/Licensing Requirements

Licensing is not required for a career in neuroscience.

Salary Information

While the average annual earnings of all postsecondary teachers in 2002 were $49,040, the Society for Neuroscience reports that those with a doctorate in neuroscience working in medical schools, higher education, or industry average an annual starting salary of $68,900 to $75,000.

Related Links

Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (ANDP)
The goal of the national organization of leading training programs in the neurosciences is to improve training programs in the field. Site has great information for prospective students.

Society for Neuroscience
An organization of basic scientists and physicians that promotes information exchange via this web site and the scholarly The Journal of Neuroscience.

Women in Neuroscience
An organization created to foster the development of women in the field of neuroscience.




SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Spinal Cord Injury: A Course In Critical

  • Advanced Electrophysiology: Potential And

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Biochemical And Molecular Neuroscience

  • Channel Physiology

  • Comparative Cellular Neurobiology

  • Developmental Neurobiology

  • History Of Neuroscience

  • Neuroscience And Human Behavior

  • Reading

  • Teaching In Neuroscience