Returning psychology majors may remember filling out a survey last year pertaining to their thoughts on neuroscience at Boston College. For years there has been a large demand for a neuroscience major, but it never came to be, that is, until this year.
On Oct. 5, the psychology department answered this demand with the announcement of the initiation of a major and Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience. The new major will be housed in MCAS, so the usual core curriculum requirements will still apply. In addition to core requirements, students will follow a fifty-seven-credit-minimum requirement.
The major consists of a foundation of twenty-four credits, including courses such as Introductory Psychology as a Natural Science, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Calculus I. Students will also need to complete three six-credit requirements on Computation, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Systems Neuroscience and take twelve elective credits as well as a three-credit Praxis course.
In the past, a B.S. in psychology was the closest degree that BC students could take to prepare for neuroscience-related fields after graduation. The new neuroscience track will differ from the B.S. psychology track by focusing on brain function as a basis for behavior and cognition rather than the broad foundations of psychology.
This major will set students up for careers or higher education in biotechnology and neuroscience, rather than just psychology. There is still room for students to take natural science courses outside of the major if they wish to pursue pre-med or other health-related tracks.
As medical and technological fields rapidly advance, it becomes increasingly important for BC students to have the opportunity to follow their interests in related fields through this new major. The initiation of a neuroscience major also aligns with the construction of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society (IISS), which will also be available to students in 2019. The IISS will provide new opportunities for students to conduct research in science-related fields.
Although the new neuroscience major arrived too late for the class of 2019 and BC alumni, the psychology department hopes that it will provide opportunities for present and future students to follow their interests in the field of neuroscience.