University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Neuroscience Program

Discover of the "last frontiers"

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and how it regulates behavior. Often described as one of the "last frontiers", neuroscience is an exciting and challenging interdisciplinary field in which scientists share an interest in studying the anatomy, physiology, and function of the nervous system. Psychology and Biology have been the traditional disciplines that share this interest, but fields such as Communication Sciences, Physics, Computer Science and other diverse fields are also interested in neuroscience. The interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience requires an understanding of a broad range of methods of inquiry, ranging from laboratory methods associated with basic "bench" sciences such as cell and molecular biology to clinical methods associated with the study of medical disorders or disease states.

Central to neuroscience are questions such as: How do we respond to stimuli in our environment, process information, form new memories, make decisions, and use language? What are the underlying causes of disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, aphasias, and Parkinson's disease? How does the nervous system respond to traumatic injury or drugs? What is consciousness? The very nature of these questions continues to expand as we learn more about the nervous system and illustrates the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of neuroscience. The coming decades will be tremendously exciting for those who dare to unravel brain-behavior relationships and diseases that disrupt those relationships.

Why Study Neuroscience at UVM . . .

The Undergraduate Neuroscience Program at UVM is a cooperative effort by faculty in the Departments of Biology, Psychological Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Neurological Sciences, and a number of other neuroscientists at UVM. The challenging curriculum of the major (and minor) at UVM is driven by the nature of the field of neuroscience and by the unique opportunities provided by course offerings and by faculty expertise. It features a strong life science foundation, research methods and experiences, and a strong core of neuroscience courses.  The curriculum also gives students the freedom to select advanced courses that will prepare them for a wide variety of post-graduation career options, including (but certainly not limited to) graduate study, medical school and other health-care career options, laboratory technician positions, and science writing.

More specifically, the curriculum provides a comprehensive introduction to topics of high interest to the field of neuroscience and many of the professional skills needed for post graduation career options. The following are just a few examples of topics the neuroscience student will be given the opportunity to learn:

  • molecular, cellular, physiological and biochemical processes underlying nervous system functioning, psychological processes, and behavior as well as clinical phenomena associated with nervous system dysfunction.
  • an understanding of scientific methods including experimental design and associated statistical methods used by neuroscientists to study brain-behavior functions.
  • oral and written skills needed to communicate with professional and nonprofessional people.
  • an awareness of and an ability to consider ethical issues associated with neuroscience.

Research experience is an emphasis of the neuroscience major and undergraduates are encouraged to gain laboratory experience as part of a research program of a UVM faculty member. With nearly 100 neuroscience faculty at UVM, there are many opportunities for students to become involved in cutting edge research. UVM has a strong Neuroscience Graduate Program and an active, energetic neuroscience research community within the University.

Last modified March 21 2016 11:50 AM