Why Study Neuroscience?

The ultimate goal of neuroscience is to understand the biology of the mind; how the complex interactions of genes, proteins, neurons, and circuits can lead to the individuality of consciousness and behavior.

Recent advances have deepened our understanding of how the brain functions, and today neuroscientists from an vast array of disciplines (including biology, psychology, genetics, chemistry, computer programming, physics, engineering, linguistics, medicine, ethics, law, and philosophy) employ a powerful arsenal of techniques to address the biology of the mind, and to provide insight for treating the more than one thousand known associated medical disorders with the brain.

Why Study Neuroscience at Luther?

Luther College’s neuroscience major provides a broad understanding of the discipline by combining foundational courses in biology and psychology with supporting courses in chemistry, computer science, and philosophy that allow students to explore specific interests of the field. Further, the major draws on the expertise of multiple faculty members with research and teaching expertise across neuroscience, including neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Coupled with this coursework is experiential learning through hands-on experimentation and observation, an emphasis on critical examination of scientific literature, a culture of discussion involving faculty, students and visiting speakers, and opportunities for research in faculty laboratories.

The neuroscience major is supported by Luther’s outstanding liberal arts program, which ensures that students graduate with strong communication skills, an emphasis on ethics, and the ability to think critically and make connections across disciplines. These skills are essential to prepare students to excel in their careers and become leaders in their field, regardless of what occupation they pursue. Employment opportunities within neuroscience are vast, as illustrated below, and Luther’s Neuroscience major will provide students with the tools needed to enter their profession with a strong preparation.

Venn diagram representing how biology and psychology intersect for neuroscience.

Related Career Fields

  • Academia: Teaching at the graduate school, professional school (e.g., medical or dental school), undergraduate or elementary through high school levels
  • Medical and allied health professions: this includes not only physicians and psychologists but also a wide array of allied health professions such as dental, optometry, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy and health technicians
  • Research: biomedical research, pharmaceutical research and drug development, biomedical and pharmaceutical sales
  • Veterinary science
  • Business, law and public policy: economics, marketing, biotechnology companies, patent lawyer, neurolaw, government positions for public policy, grant administrator, global health organizations, consulting