What can you do with a neuroscience degree?
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. Since neuroscience involves lots of different disciplines, including psychology and chemistry, neuroscience majors often learn that they can choose from plenty of different career options after they graduate.
First things first
What is neuroscience, anyway? It’s an interdisciplinary field that studies the human brain and the rest of the nervous system, which control not only thoughts and emotions, but also bodily functions. Neuroscientists work to answer questions like, How does the brain work? What causes disorders like Alzheimer’s? How can we improve mental health and learn more about stress, memory, and learning? The National Institutes of Health report that humans suffer from more than 1,000 nervous system disorders, so there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact on this field. In fact, according to Medical News Today, as many as one billion people across the globe may suffer from neurological disorders.
Is there a lot of math in neuroscience?
It depends what you consider to be “a lot.” Most students enrolled in a neuroscience degree program at a college or university need to understand statistics, probability, and linear algebra. Undergraduate degree programs (as well as graduate programs) will combine studying and analyzing data with working in a laboratory, so be ready for some educational variety in your academic career. You’ll take a variety of lecture- and lab-based courses in math and science, including but not limited to brain sciences and neuroscience courses.
You may study:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Animal behavior
- Animal physiology
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Cells and systems
- Cellular biology
- Clinical neuropsychology
- Clinical psychology
- Cognitive psychology
- Computer programming
- Data analysis
- Drugs and behavior
- Molecular biology
- Organic chemistry
- Research design
Through hands-on experience in a laboratory setting, you’ll study molecules, nerve cells, and networks to better understand how the nervous system interacts with other elements of life. While studying behavioral neuroscience, you will be exposed to several disciplines such as the various types of chemistry and the different types of psychology, for example.
Is neuroscience a good career choice?
If you have a knack for science and math, and feel the need to know how things work, this could be a great field for you. After you graduate, neuroscience holds plenty of promise in terms of career options, both now and in the foreseeable future. Chron reports: “Career opportunities in medical science, including neuroscience, should increase at a solid 13 percent over the next decade, according to a 2016 report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the majority of occupations.”
What can you do with a neuroscience degree?
You may choose to pursue a neuroscience career in research, clinical work, or academics. However, you should know that many of the jobs most commonly associated with degrees in neuroscience – like neurologist, neurochemist, and neurological surgeon – will require you to attend graduate school for an advanced degree. You’ll need a Ph.D. in neuroscience to work in many research and higher education settings, for instance. And you’ll need a medical degree to work in many clinical areas.
Some neuroscience career options that may be open to you if you pursue one or more advanced degrees (such as master’s degrees, medical degrees, or other graduate degrees) include:
- Clinical psychologist
- Food or research scientist
- Genetic counselor
- Neural engineer
- Neuroimaging technician
- Nurse practitioner
- Occupational therapist
- Research scientist
- Speech-language pathology expert
As you can see, the opportunities are endless! While studying behavioral neuroscience, you can learn different specialties such as how to become an occupational therapist and what are typical OT school requirements? Wondering how a neuroscience degree translates into a veterinarian or dentist? We have an explanation!
There are also plenty of opportunities for graduates holding bachelor’s degrees. These jobs include:
- Advertising or marketing representative
- Clinical research assistant
- EEG technologist
- Elementary or secondary school teacher
- Forensic science technician
- Health educator
- Lab animal care technician
- Laboratory technician
- Medical and healthcare manager
- Medical technician
- Natural sciences manager
- Orthotic or prosthetic technician
- Patient care assistant
- Pharmaceutical sales representative
- Pharmacy technician
- Regulatory affairs specialist
- Sales engineer
- Science writer or editor
- Special education assistant
Think neuroscience might be for you? Consider earning your bachelor’s in neuroscience at North Central College’s School of Arts and Sciences, where you'll exceed your personal best as you prepare for a career in neuroscience.
You’ll work closely with faculty members and conduct your own original research. You may participate in North Central’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program and present your findings at local, regional and national conferences. You might also join Nu Rho Psi, the international honor society in neuroscience.
Lauren Ford works with North Central College’s marketing and communications office. An award-winning writer, she also runs her own communications firm, serving a variety of not-for-profit organizations across the United States. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and her master’s from the University of Chicago.