Neuroscience Degree Programs

Cultured Rat Hippocampal Neuron.
Photo by ZEISS Microscopy, Creative Commons License.

Neuroscience is a psychology subspecialty that focuses on the scientific study of the nervous system and the brain. Learning about both normal and disordered nervous systems can help clinicians see how the nervous system function manifests as behavior. Professionals in this field also work closely with professionals in the fields of biology, kinesiology, speech and hearing, and others.

The research that a neuroscience professional takes part in is invaluable to colleagues who are concerned not just with defining the problem but also with forming solutions. Neuroscience has unlocked many of the mysteries about the human brain and how it influences human action.

What Does a Neuroscientist Do?

A neuroscientist is required to be extensively trained in theory so that they may be able to more easily diagnose and assess patients, and aid in the building of a treatment plan when necessary. Neuroscientists must observe the patient’s behavioral patterns, but they must also pay specific attention to brain scans and other biological aspects of the patient.

The neuroscientist is different from the typical counselor. Often, they deal with a more atypical form of mental dysfunction. They are not looking at the surrounding environment as much as they are the interior one within the subject. So while the work may not have as personal of a touch, it is still very hands-on and dependent on applied science.

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Careers in Neuroscience

One of the biggest employers of the behavioral neuroscientist is the health care industry, particularly relating to prescription drug development. Drug companies that specialize in these kinds of treatments rely on the research and developments that behavioral neuroscientists can provide.

It is also not uncommon for behavioral neuroscientists to work directly inside the medical community at hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. Salaries for these types of psychology professionals are very competitive, running anywhere from the low $80,000 range to six figures, making a behavioral neuroscience degree a path to one of the more lucrative subspecialties of psychology.

Obtaining a Neuroscience Degree

If you’re certain this is the appropriate career path, then you’ll need a doctorate degree, and will likely need to pass licensing exams. States operate independently when it comes to specific requirements, but most feature a similar path.

Earning a neuroscience degree requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it comes with many rewards, both financial and personal. And with the limited understanding science has of the brain, a neuroscientist has a world of scholastic opportunity ahead of them.

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