Neuroscience major Vivian Ha ’20 says Muhlenberg prepared her well to be part of one of the smallest and most selective programs in the country.
Neuroscience at Muhlenberg draws students who are curious about the ultimate relationship of the brain, the mind, and behavior. After completing the major, a student will be able to describe how neurons work, how neural circuits organize and process information and how the nervous system underlies - in some way - our experience of many states of consciousness, in both neurotypical and neurodivergent ways.
Through hands-on learning and research with faculty, students develop strong foundational training in the latest knowledge emerging in neuroscience, from molecules to behavior. Because neuroscience is interdisciplinary, what a student learns will be shaped by knowledge and discovery from adjacent disciplines, including philosophy, chemistry, biology, psychology and mathematics.
Our Neuroscience Department has wide-ranging and diverse expertise in research. Each faculty member directs their own research lab in which students collaborate in discovery. Our specific research strengths include the structure and function of neurotransmitter receptors, the molecular basis of drug action, the neurohormonal basis of social behavior, the neural physiology of flavor and olfaction, the specific roles and functions of memory (& forgetting) in human psychopathology, and the interrelationship of the body and the brain in making sense of how we perceive and act.
Our faculty have recently created a series of elective courses for the major that speak to the present moment in American society, connecting neuroscience to sex, to racial identity, to disability and to the history of drug regulation in the United States. Recently, we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting the careers of Black neuroscientists by inaugurating a Black In Neuro spotlight seminar series and by carefully reviewing the core curriculum to ensure it is deeply centered in an anti-racist orientation.
Recently, we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting the careers of Black neuroscientists by inaugurating a Black In Neuro spotlight seminar series and by carefully reviewing the core curriculum to ensure it is deeply centered in an anti-racist orientation.
As neuroscientists, we look for independent, creative thinkers who see themselves at the intersection of several disciplines—and who enjoy coloring outside of the lines. Indeed, many neuroscience students choose to double major or to minor in an academic area far afield from neuroscience, including philosophy, art, music, math, theatre, dance and public health.
The Neuroscience curriculum allows students to learn by doing—by actively participating in course laboratories and learning to work hands-on with human electroencephalogram (EEG), research animals and methods of neurophysiology and neuropharmacology. Students have full access to all laboratory equipment in specific courses and for independent research.
Our faculty are outstanding teachers and dedicated, prolific research mentors in topics as varied as neurotransmitter receptors, sensory neurophysiology, pharmacology, learning and memory and the foundations of consciousness and cognition. Students often join a neuroscience faculty member’s research lab, co-author manuscripts with faculty and present research locally and nationally, including the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.
Neuroscience classes are lively and diverse, and with good reason: students who major in neuroscience often have dedicated interests in other areas of scholarship and performance. Neuroscience students often pursue dual majors, with neuroscience frequently complimenting studies in philosophy, music, mathematics, English, theatre, dance and chemistry. Students leave Muhlenberg with exposure to the depth and breadth of neuroscience and its many interdisciplinary connections.