Neuroscience Major

Neuroscience Major

Neuroscience, the scientific study of the nervous system, has become one of the most rapidly growing academic and research disciplines.

As a neuroscience major at Merrimack, you will engage in an integrated and multidisciplinary study of the nervous system, from form to function. You may be intrigued by the brain, love conducting experiments or want to better understand neurological disorders.

What is Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of the nervous system. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines theories and learning in psychology, biology and chemistry. Neuroscientists explore how people think by focusing on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. The world of neuroscience crosses many industries, from understanding mental health issues, to studying psychopharmacology and pharmaceutical science.

Why Study Neuroscience

As a neuroscientist, you’ll become part of a rapidly growing and widely sought after industry where your diverse set of skills, combined with an interdisciplinary foundation, provides a range of job opportunities. Our neuroscience degree adds value through its:

Strong Faculty Relationships

You’ll study neuroscience in small classes led by attentive, highly engaged instructors. Meet our faculty members and learn more about who you will be working with. 

Concentration Options

You’ll get to choose a concentration that best meets your educational and career aspirations. Select from neuroscience concentrations in psychology, neurobiology or neurochemistry.

Marketable Skills

As a neuroscientist, you’ll have a wide range of skills that are of interest to future employers, including data and project management, data analysis, oral and written communication, critical thinking, computer and technical skills, ethical treatment of human subjects and understanding of mental health issues.

Job Growth Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes the neuroscience career paths of geneticist, occupational therapist and statisticians as some of the fastest-growing occupations projected for 2026.

Neuroscience Degree: What You’ll Learn

As a neuroscience major, you will demonstrate foundational knowledge of neuroanatomy and nervous system function at the cellular, molecular, systems, cognitive and behavioral levels.

  • You’ll explore a number of neuroscience subfields including cognitive neuroscience, cellular and molecular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, social neuroscience and computational neuroscience.
  • You’ll follow neuroscience news and stay on top of the latest trends in neuroscience.
  • You’ll critique primary literature of neuroscience research within cellular, molecular, systems, cognitive and behavioral subfields.
  • You’ll apply research methodologies and statistical techniques to design ethically responsible experiments and collect, analyze and interpret experimental data.
  • You’ll sharpen your written and oral skills to best communicate neuroscience information to both specialized and broad audiences.
  • You’ll identify professional goals and engage in experiential educational opportunities, such as neuroscience research and neuroscience internships, in preparation for postgraduate careers.

Neuroscience Jobs

What can you do with a neuroscience degree? The answer is you can do a lot. As an integrative discipline, neuroscience allows you to engage in a diverse array of opportunities following graduation. Many students enter graduate school to pursue a masters or a doctoral degree in neuroscience. Others start their neuroscience careers in offices, laboratories, clinics, schools, hospitals and other facilities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median pay earned by medical scientists, the category under which neuroscientists fall, was $88,790 per year. The Bureau also rates the job outlook from 2018 to 2028 as faster than average. Potential career paths for neuroscience majors upon graduation include:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Robotics
  • Biochemical Researcher
  • Biomedical Engineer/Technician
  • Biostatistician
  • Biotechnology/Medical Technology or Biotechnology Assistant
  • Clinical Psychologist (with Behavioral Neuroscience Specialty)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Data Scientist
  • Genetic Engineering Research Assistant, Geneticist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Mental Health Worker/Crisis Intervention Worker
  • Neurochemist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist/OT Assistant
  • Research Analyst/Scientist
  • Research Technician
  • Science Publishing/Writing
  • Scientific Advisor/Consultant
  • Speech & Language Therapist
  • Statistician

Neuroscience Major: What You’ll Take

You will be required to take a common core of classes across multiple departments, as well as foundational neuroscience classes. In addition, you will select one of three neuroscience concentrations: psychology, neurobiology or neurochemistry. Within these concentrations, you will choose additional elective courses to further explore this field of study. Total requirements for each degree option, between the core courses and the concentration electives, are 19 courses for a total of 76 credits.

Neuroscience Major Requirements
(17 courses - 68 credits)

Required Courses

PSY 1000: Introduction to Psychology

PSY 1100W: Psychological Inquiry and Methodology
PSY 2110: Statistical Methods in Psychology**
PSY 3150: Behavioral Neuroscience
PSY 3450: Biological Basis of Abnormal Behavior
CHM 1110: General Chemistry 1
CHM 2210: Organic Chemistry 1
CHM 2220: Organic Chemistry 2
BIO 1027: Principles of Biology
BIO 2018: Genetics
BIO 3050: Human Physiology and Anatomy 1: Neurobiology and Endocrinology
BIO 3037: Cellular Biochemistry
PHY 2201: General Physics 1 or PHY2211: Physics 1 (Requires Calculus 1) 
PHY 2202: General Physics 2 or PHY2212: Physics 2 (Requires Calculus 2)
Statistics can be taken either in the track major (e.g. PSY2110 for Psychology) or through the math department (MTH 1111)
NEU 4000: Team taught upper level Neuroscience course - with project based learning component.
Research (2 semesters, or 1 semester + 1 semester of internship). This research can be conducted in track major, or in a Neuroscience-related department or lab.

Neuroscience Concentrations(2 courses - 8 credits) 

Psychology Concentration

Neuroscience students concentrating in psychology will take two additional courses from
the following electives:

PSY 3120: Cognitive Psychology
PSY 3410: Abnormal Psychology
PSY 2300: Developmental Psychology
PSY 2200: Social Psychology
PSY 2270: Group Dynamics
PSY 3340: Developmental Psychopathology
Neurobiology Concentration

Neuroscience students concentrating in neurobiology will take two additional courses from
the following electives:

BIO 3040: Cell Biology
BIO 3045: Microbiology
BIO 3012: Immunology
BIO 3063: Animal Behavior
BIO 3031: Embryonic Development
BIO 3038: Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
Neurochemistry Concentration

Neuroscience students concentrating in neurochemistry will take two additional courses from
the following electives:

CHM 1120: General Chemistry II (required)
CHM 2320: Inorganic Chemistry
CHM 3410: Analytical Chemistry
CHM 3570: Biophysical Chemistry
CHM 4350: Medicinal Chemistry
CHM 4260: Instrumental Analysis