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Neuroscience Major- What Can You Do With It

oomboo2oomboo2 Posts: 46Registered User Junior Member
edited October 2010 in Science Majors
So I really love brains. I read a lot about neurology and I've developed a huge interest in it. I am hoping to pursue a neuroscience major and eventually go to med school to become a neurologist.

My questions:
1. In the event that I don't get into med school, what can one do with an undergraduate degree in neuroscience? Are there jobs? Would I need to at least try to get a masters?

2. Seeing as many colleges actually offer a "neuroscience" major, is there an abundance of people hoping to become neurologists. Do a disproportionately large percentage of med school hopefuls want to be neurologists?
Post edited by oomboo2 on

Replies to: Neuroscience Major- What Can You Do With It

  • zapfinozapfino Posts: 2,717Registered User Senior Member
    1. No, there are not a lot of jobs specifically for a bachelor's-level neuroscience major. It's a liberal arts major so job opportunities are not a whole lot different from many other liberal arts majors. Possibly some opportunities in pharma sales, lab tech, etc. at the bachelor's-level. You would need a graduate degree, typically a doctorate, to do work specifically in neuroscience-related field.
    2. Neuroscience is a hot major, particularly among pre-meds. Although it might be a good prep for someone who wants to become a neurologist, I don't know why some people have the idea that it's necessarily some sort of a "pre-neurology" major because it's not. (It's probably not a good idea anyway for people to be picking a particular medical specialty until they've been exposed to them in the med school clinical rotations.)

    If you plan to get a graduate degree, neuroscience is an appropriate preparation for a number of fields (especially if one has the usual pre-med courses, too): psychology (neuroscience research, clinical neuropsychology, health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, general clinical psychology, general experimental psychology); medicine; biosciences (neuroscience research, neuro- & psycho-pharmacology), physical therapy (possible at master's level), speech pathology & audiology (possible at master's level), nursing (possible at master's level), special ed (brain injury---possible at master's level), brain injury rehab (applied behavior analysis---possible at master's level), gerontology. (For some of these fields, you can get admitted to graduate studies, but might have some undergrad pre-requisites to make up.)
  • babynigelbabynigel Posts: 18Registered User New Member
    You could become a professor and teach neurology too.
  • oomboo2oomboo2 Posts: 46Registered User Junior Member
    Would it be wiser to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering? It is also an interest of mine, and I know that there are more jobs available for biomed engineers in the event that I do not get into med school.

    Also, does it make a difference if it's a BS in neuroscience vs. a BA. SOme of the schools that I've looked into have both a biology-oriented version and a psychology-oriented version. The BS degree seems a little more challenging and useful.
  • PhoenixRPhoenixR Posts: 634Registered User Member
    ^^ Yes you can. BS will require you to take up a lot of maths classes which would be challenging. And you will have jobs available after graduation, but I'm not sure if recruiter would want a biomed engg graduate to an Electrical Engg. There are quite fewer biological oriented companies around.
    Another thing you can do is to take up some electrical engg classes along with the biomed classes so that you seem lucrative to your employer. Although this varies greatly.
  • premed4premed4 Posts: 944Registered User Member
    how much competition is their in this major? Also science is is a liberal arts major and not a science major would there be more of a curve?
  • LastThreeYearsLastThreeYears Posts: 480Registered User Member
    Neuroscience is like art history in terms of jobs and BME isn't much better at the undergrad level. If you want a real career, chemistry or electrical engineering.
  • premed4premed4 Posts: 944Registered User Member
    how hard is neuroscience in term of getting into med school? easier or harder than biology?
  • Lemaitre1Lemaitre1 Posts: 1,736Registered User Senior Member
    It does not matter what you major in, besides good grades in the Biology, Chemistry and Physics prerequisite courses all medical schools require, you need to a very high GPA in whatever you major in and good MCAT scores to have the best chance of admission to medical school.
  • AlexxxlAlexxxl Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    Hey I was just wondering, oomboo2, what and where did you end up going? I'm currently in my first year of college, and I'm majoring in biology for my BA track. And I have a very big interest for neuroscience as well, but I'm trying to avoid going into premed... What's the best track I should take to get a good career in neuroscience? I plan on definitely getting my masters also.
  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Posts: 2,092Registered User Senior Member
    What exactly do you mean by a "career in neuroscience"? Does that mean research? If so, you will need a PhD to really have a career in the field; a master's degree won't be that much different from job prospects in the field than a bachelor's degree.
  • JustOneDadJustOneDad Posts: 3,933Registered User Senior Member
    @Alexxxl If your college doesn't have much on neuroscience, just look up what the departments offer at other places. That should give you some idea of what kinds of things to incorporate in your studies. You might also try looking at Master's programs and see what they require from competitive candidates.

    In plain terms, I would say it's Biology, but heavy in Biochem or Molecular with a minor in Psych.
  • PbrainPbrain Posts: 77Registered User Junior Member
    Depending in your school, an undergrad neuro program could be very rigorous. My grad school had us take neuroanatomy with the med students (difference was that we thought analytically and med students memorize); the same book we all used was used to teach an undergrad Neuro course at a vgood private Uni. Tough but when those kids went on to grad school and med school, that class was a cakewalk.

    You would be a valuable psychologist if you understood neuro, as an alternative with growth potential. A bs/ba only is limiting.
  • pittsfaninILpittsfaninIL Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    hello, I am currently considering neuroscience as a major but have yet to decide on any college. i was wondering if anyone that has studied neuro anything could give me insight to what I should expect as I have only recently decided on getting into the health field. psychology was my previous major and I would still pursue it if I knew more. I know too little about the health field and feel like i should interview everyone at the hospitals...also I am currently in my last semester at a community college.
  • CinnasmumCinnasmum Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I ditto pittsfsninIL's question. I'm between psychology and neuroscience right now and would like to hear from more people who know what "life as a neuroscientist" is like. I like science but I also like to help people with mental issues like depression and anxiety. Is there a path in neuroscience that combines both and what does day-to-day life look like when you have that job?
  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Posts: 2,092Registered User Senior Member
    Frankly, there's more than one path to get where you want to go. From your post, it sounds like you're most interested in clinical psychology. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) If that's the case psychology is your best bet. But you could also help people with mental illness indirectly through research in understanding the basis of mental illness or researching treatment. In that case, I'd recommend more of the neuroscience route.

    Here's the other thing, though: once you start, your interests will change and become more focused as you learn and get involved. Either of these will give you plenty of flexibility and you'd likely be able to change between the majors early if you change your mind.
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