Our Program and Courses
Neuroscience is a major at F&M. Using a blend of knowledge and tools taken from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and psychology, you’ll develop a rich understanding of both the physical and behavioral functions of the brain. You will study the nervous system, learning about the basics of a normal, functioning brain, as well as what happens when a brain is damaged or diseased and how we are able to fix it. Our neuroscience program focuses on the smaller scale aspects that drive behavior; if you are interested in the larger-scale ramifications of behavior, explore our animal behavior program.
Hands-on learning is a critical focus of the neuroscience curriculum. Many of our students work directly in the laboratory on challenging research projects designed by students and funded by federal research grants. Along with your professors, you will have the opportunity to work on original research projects that may be presented at conferences or in journals.
By the time you graduate, you will be able to demonstrate:
- A knowledge of the biological foundation of the brain and nervous system.
- A complex understanding of how the biological and psychological facets of the brain are interrelated.
- The ability to understand, perform, and report on the results of experiments and research.
- An eye for identifying areas of research that would benefit from additional support or data, and follow through with collecting that data.
- Critical and analytical thinking and the ability to communicate observations and discoveries through the printed and spoken word.
- The ability to collaborate effectively in a manner that translates to the professional
Wondering what neuroscience courses are like? Explore our course catalog to see what classes are available to you.
Our Faculty and Staff
Learning Outside the Classroom
It’s important to expand your educational horizons, especially when you’re studying complex scientific processes. With our many research and study-abroad opportunities, you’ll have plenty of chances to step outside the classroom and embark on your own explorations in neuroscience.
Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. Our neuroscience faculty are engaged, accomplished scholars who conduct groundbreaking
work and weave their ongoing research into their courses. You’ll uncover myriad opportunities
to conduct research — including in our on-campus vivarium — on the neural mechanisms
that create behavior.
Explore research at F&M
Honors in Neuroscience
Completing research or an independent study could also lead you to earn honors in neuroscience. To be considered for honors, you must first complete an advanced research project and be sponsored by a professor. You will then present your research findings to faculty and students.
Off-Campus StudyTo push the boundaries of the learning experience, students regularly choose to study abroad. Previous neuroscience students have visited Australia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Tanzania, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Galápagos, Hungary, and Denmark.
Explore off-campus study at F&M
The William M. Hackman Physical Sciences Laboratories
The Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building (LSP) gives you access to state-of-the-art
resources for studying neuroscience, including access to the teaching and research
laboratories in neuroscience, cell and molecular biology, and physiology. LSP houses
multiple advanced microscope systems (including a recently-acquired laser confocal
microscope) and an advanced neurochemistry lab.
F&M’s Vivarium, housed in LSP, is a research facility that houses a variety of rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, invertebrates, and nonhuman primates that supports student-focused learning and scientific research in neuroscience. Students from a wide diversity of backgrounds work with BFB faculty and Vivarium staff to gain hands-on experience with numerous areas of neurological and behavioral research. The Vivarium houses components of several of our BFB-faculty’s laboratories, including those focused on evolution, pharmacology, genetics.
Success Beyond F&M
Once you have completed your degree, you might wonder what’s next. F&M students graduate with all the skills they need to succeed after college, whether your next step is graduate school, medical school, or a career. The intellectual and analytical activities that make up the work of neuroscience — including experimental research, data gathering, collaborating with others, and critical thought — help you develop useful and productive skills valuable for any post-college plan.
Many neuroscience graduates go onto medical school or to pursue advanced degrees in related fields such as neuroscience, biomedical science, neurobiology, and behavior. They’ve attended institutions such as:
- Columbia University
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Georgetown University
- Harvard Medical School
- Johns Hopkins University
- Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
- Rutgers University
- Yale University School of Medicine
Healthcare and scientific research and development are popular career paths for neuroscience graduates. They hold positions such as:
- Cognitive Therapist
- Clinical Research Associate
- Market Researcher
- Naturopathic Physician
- Research Scientist
- Veterinarian Surgical Assistant
A Unique Journey to NeurologyKat Gunther '23 is intrigued by "how we think and why we think that way." She crafted an educational experience that allowed her to explore this by majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology. Though Kat wasn't initially sure what career she wanted to pursue, an experience with migraines and her volunteer work with a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) camp illuminated a path. Gunther now envisions a future in neurology, working with kids like those she engaged with at the camp. "It was so fulfilling, helping them out," she said.
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Aspiring Neuroscientist Tackles Cutting-Edge ResearchBeta Cai '23, a neuroscience major from Shanghai, spent a summer conducting biomedical research in the pharmacology department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. "I did research on designing and constructing a FRET (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer)-based Biosensor, and using it to study a specific enzyme's interactions in multiple contexts," he said. "I became interested because I thought this technique could be useful in my future research as a neuroscientist."
Read More »
Related Fields of Study
The biological sciences expand and advance frontiers of knowledge about all forms of life. From molecules to ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, from the distant past to present day, biology gives you insights into other species, ourselves, and our world.
Embark on a journey of the mind and learn all about why we do the things we do. From non-human animal behavior to language development and neurological impairment, your time spent studying psychology at F&M will unlock a whole new world of understanding of how the brain works.
Begin your career in an essential, effective, and rewarding field. When you pursue F&M’s pre-medical program — offered as a supplement to your chosen major — you’ll find all the guidance and support you need to build a sturdy foundation for a successful future in medicine.
Neuroscience at F&M in Action
September 2, 2022
Aspiring Neuroscientist Tackles Cutting-Edge Research in Chicago
The Franklin & Marshall student experience doesn't stop when the academic year ends. From internships in Lancaster to travel around the world and research across the country, our students...Senior neuroscience major shares his experience conducting biomedical research in the pharmacology department at the University of Illinois-Chicago
May 25, 2022
From Florida to F&M: Kat Gunther's Path to Neurology
When Franklin & Marshall College rising senior Katherine Gunther was searching for colleges, she knew she wanted three things: an academically rigorous experience, a college near family but out...Neuroscience major and psychology minor shares how financial aid helped her check all the boxes on her college wishlist.
October 14, 2021
Research Fair: Learning English Online During the Pandemic
Franklin & Marshall College junior Lauren Chen was coding survey results for a lab when a particular aspect of her work caught her eye. Neuroscience major researches COVID-19 and its impact on adult English language learners' interest in taking an online English class in the future.