B.S. in Neuroscience
Combining molecular, genetic, cellular, network and behavioral levels of analysis, neuroscience is one of the hottest fields of science today. A degree in neuroscience can propel you into a rewarding career in science, medicine, government or private industry, either with or without a postgraduate degree. As you earn your degree, you will learn about what makes the nervous system the most amazing organ of the body, how it senses and processes information from the real world and how it uses this information to guide the organism to respond in an adaptive manner.
Neuroscience is a rapidly growing STEM field that focuses on the biology and function of the brain. A Bachelor of Science in neuroscience at WVU provides you with a foundation across the broad range of research areas within neuroscience and gives you an appreciation of the nature of neurons, neural networks and how the nervous system takes in sensory information about the external world, compares it with prior knowledge and formulates complex behavioral responses.
The undergraduate neuroscience major prepares students planning to apply to graduate programs in the broader filed of neuroscience or to professional schools and programs including medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, physical, occupational and behavioral therapy, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, physician assistant programs and chiropractic studies. A degree in neuroscience prepares students for a wide range of careers in the biological sciences including medicine, biotechnology and bioengineering, genetics and genomics and other neuroscience-related technical fields in government and private industry. A student with a neuroscience degree may also enter the fields of law, journalism, education, business, healthcare administration and pharmaceutical sales or work for a variety of federal agencies.
Areas of Emphasis
This program is structured to meet the foundational needs of
all students who are interested in a career in the broad area of neuroscience.
Pre-medical and other tracks are available in the degree program.
Behavioral Neuroscience: an area of neuroscience focusing on the role the nervous system plays in generating behaviors.Cellular Neuroscience: an area of neuroscience focusing on the cellular and molecular basis of nervous system function and development.
After completing the initial five-semester core sequence of introductory neuroscience courses, students in the neuroscience B.S. are required to take at least two courses from each of the two advanced neuroscience course blocks to ensure an advanced, broad-based knowledge of neuroscience and a minimum of one semester of Neuroscience Capstone (NRSC 320). Students will experience a wide variety of classroom environments from large lecture sections to small group discussions and intensive laboratory-oriented courses. Laboratory courses include Neuroscience Independent Research (NRSC 486) in one of the several neuroscience laboratories across campus, the Neuroscience Capstone (NRSC 320) as well as a host of internship opportunities.
Students who earn a degree in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences must also complete the University requirements, the College requirements for their specific degree program and their major requirements.
Many students with a B.S. in neuroscience are interested in pursuing a medical degree or an advanced research degree. You will be provided with superior training, which makes you highly competitive for medical school or an advanced degree in neuroscience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts massive growth across the fields of employment, for which students with a B.S. in neuroscience or with a B.S. plus an advanced degree will be qualified.
Specifically, it is predicted that over the next decade the field of neuroscience will experience a 19 percent increase in academic jobs (i.e., graduate assistantships, postdoctoral fellowships and professorships). In addition, significant growth is predicated in the following career fields that students with a B.S. in neuroscience will commonly find employment:
- Physical therapy: 28 percent
- Laboratory technician: 10 percent
- Medical health services management: 20 percent
- Nursing, psychiatric and home health aides that
are specifically trained to care for Alzheimer’s and other age-related
dementias: 24 percent
- Community health: 16 percent
- Audiology: 21 percent
- Home health aides and personal care aides are
generally expected to grow by 1,208,800 jobs, representing a 41 percent
Students graduating from WVU with a B.S. in neuroscience will be competitive for those jobs or the advanced training programs needed to be competitive for those jobs.
Research and Academic Opportunities
Through collaborations with neuroscience faculty in the Department of Biology, Department of Psychology and Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, neuroscience students can conduct original, basic and/or clinical research with individual faculty mentorship. Neuroscience students also network through the Undergraduate Neuroscience Club.
Neuroscience students have access to cutting-edge research technology from the latest genomics and DNA sequencing equipment, to 2-photon and laser confocal microscopy for structural and functional neural imaging, to live neurophysiological recordings in behaving animals. Faculty also use state-of-the-art techniques, such as optogenetics and other transgenic tools, to systematically interrogate neural circuit function, as well as FMRI to identify foci associated with specific neural functions in humans.