Advising for the Neuroscience Major

As is the case in choosing any major, prospective neuroscience majors should consider the short-term and long-term goals they have for themselves, as well as what the kinds of material they enjoy learning and the kinds of activities they most enjoy undertaking.  Neuroscientists work to understand the biological substrates that underlie an animal’s behavior. 

Some questions that might help you determine whether a neuroscience major is a good fit include:

  • Do I want to know the anatomy of the nervous system?
  • Do I want to know how cells in the nervous system work?
  • Do I want to able to describe how behavior is a result of combined activity of neural networks.
  • Do I enjoy lab science and want to develop these skills further? 

If you answer yes to these, a neuroscience major would be a good fit!  The major is designed to help prepare students to go on to earn degrees in neuroscience or medicine, however, you may go on to work in research or industry.  Also, as a neuroscience major at a liberal arts college, you may go on to do anything else that a liberal arts graduate can do with excellent problem-solving skills!

Students who want to major in neuroscience are well served to begin with two or three of the required introductory science courses in the freshman year.  We recommend that freshmen begin in term 1 with whichever course is in their area of strength to ease the adjustment to college level science learning; the linked Neuroscience Major Checklist can aid in planning. Also, we do not recommend students take more than 1 lab class a term during the freshman year.

Advance placement:  Chemistry 115 and 116 require a placement exam that can be found on the Lawrence University Moodle page.  Click here to link to the Chemistry Assessment Test.
Some students will need to take both courses and others may begin with Chemistry 116.

Biology 130 and 150 is expected of all students. There is an exemption exam available during new student week or from the biology department chair (Judith Humphries in 2020-21) at other times of year.  The biology exemption exam should be taken only by students who have had two or more years of rigorous high school biology coursework.

The neuroscience major builds your skills through course work in biology and psychology and statistics in a scientific context as well as a focused topic in neuroscience.  Upper level elective courses from both the biology and psychology departments can be used to help further your knowledge base of behavior and corresponding biological substrates. Finally, your major will culminate in a senior experience from either the biology or psychology department, or potentially as an independent study.  See the catalog of your matriculation year for specific course requirements for the major.

Neuroscience Advisors

Neuroscience advisors reside in the biology and psychology departments.  Feel free to contact any of us for more information.

Elizabeth Becker, Briggs 314
Lori Hilt, Briggs 346
Judith Humphries, Youngchild Hall 306
Brian Piasecki, Steitz Hall 330 (Chair 2020-21)
Nancy Wall, Steitz Hall 332