Why Neuroscience at DePauw?
Neuroscience is a broad discipline focused on research questions ranging from molecules to society. Given this breadth and the benefits of developing an integrative understanding across levels of analysis, we offer a flexible major that gives a strong foundation with lower level classes in several departments, builds expertise with advanced courses in Biology and Psychology, and provides students with the flexibility to tailor their major via elective courses in a variety of departments, including Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, and Psychology.
Some of the courses for our major also satisfy medical school admission requirements, so we often attract pre-med students who share a fascination with the brain and human behavior; however, our majors are an eclectic group, and some are pursuing neuroscience research careers, while others seek careers related to policy and business. As in the Psychology major, our Neuroscience majors receive close mentoring from our faculty as teachers, advisors, and even research collaborators. We are committed teachers as well as scholars of our fields, and we are readily accessibly to our students.
Neuroscience courses at DePauw have small class sizes: the largest class is the Introductory Psychology course, which serves as a pre-requisite, with a typical limit of 33 students. The other pre-requisite courses have class sizes that typically range between 18-24, while our 300 level Neuroscience courses generally have between 8-20 students. All seniors complete a capstone senior thesis (one semester, or a two-semester empirical version with data collection and analysis) that is modeled after an NIH grant proposal on a topic of the student’s choice. When working on the thesis, you meet one-on-one with a faculty mentor each week to discuss the research literature on your topic and to get feedback on your ideas and drafts of your thesis.
The Roadmap of Our Neuroscience Major gives advice on ways to progress through our major. We also have a terrific network of alums and current students in Psychology and Neuroscience, and we encourage our students to try a variety of internship and co-curricular experiences to learn about themselves and what career directions will be a good fit.