Why I Majored in Neuroscience

A major in Neurobiology & Neurosciences focuses on the study of the brain and nervous system. This is a very important field that will allow you to unlock secrets of how the brain operates. If you are scientific minded with a love of figuring out how things work, this could be a great major for you.

Students of Neurobiology and Neuroscience will study the structure and functions of the brain, the importance of the nervous system, how nerve cells send and receive signals, and the evolution of the brain. You will take a closer look at consciousness and how the brain controls all functions of your body, as well as what can happen when something goes wrong. Part of the major involves studying the effects of drugs and alcohol on your brain and nervous system.

Classes that you will come across in this major are: chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, advanced mathematics, immunology, neurobiology, neuropsychology, physiology, and drugs and behavior.

A challenging yet rewarding major, neuroscience can be an excellent starting point to a career in medicine, psychology or research science.

Majoring in Neuroscience

what is a neuroscience major

Science degrees undoubtedly made up the majority of the most popular degrees to study before medical school. Other popular science degrees included physiology and human biology, organic chemistry, microbiology, general sciences, computer and information sciences, ecology, zoology, botany, and mathematics.

Neurobiology Degree Program Entry Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most neurobiology degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific neurobiology careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

To the future neuroscientists, dont get discouraged by the prerequisites! We are one of the few majors that have to wait at least a year to finally take an intro class but trust me it’s all worth it.

In the summer after my sophomore year, I was lucky enough to participate in the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program at Harvard Medical School, organized by the Leadership Alliance. Although the program was virtual, I was still able to make meaningful contributions to a research project being spearheaded by a post-doctoral fellow in the lab. Following the summer internship, I have been fortunate enough to continue working with the lab this year since I can work remotely. The lab generally focuses on child neurological diseases and the project I have been most involved in is studying succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency. SSADH is an enzyme in the brain involved in recycling the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. This is a rare, genetically inherited disease that usually appears early in life with symptoms such as epilepsy, cognitive impairments, and language deficits. The lab is using a new technique involving induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to study this disease wherein they take cells from patients and reprogram to be neurons so that they are able to study how the cells grow, communicate, and eventually dysfunction. Since I have been remote, I have been contributing by analyzing the imaging data that the members of the lab record. Although it is certainly not how I had imagined research, it has been an incredibly meaningful experience, since I have been able to see the functions and research throughout a mid-sized research lab at a more research-focused institution.

To explore my interest in neurological disorders, I wrote a literature review last summer on ginseng, synaptic plasticity and epilepsy through the RAISE Program. Conducting remote research in 2020 sometimes made me forget that science is a visceral experience—the work that is done in the lab translates into smiles of gratitude, sighs of relief, and stronger blood and bones in hundreds and thousands of people. The body is tangible, and so are the impacts of scientific research. This is why I want to pursue neuroscience research, to explore and experiment and create the groundwork from which others can benefit and thrive off of.

The Neuroscience Department and major allow for the combination of what I consider to be some of the most interesting aspects of biology, chemistry and psychology. With the introductory neuroscience course, students get to see a wide cross-section of the seemingly infinite possibilities of the field. In the Human Brain [course], students get to see the underlying molecular mechanisms of many phenomena observed in psychology. These ideas are dissected using biology and chemistry to explain how diseases develop and how all of our behavior correlates to chemical reactions in our brains. I am looking forward to getting to spend even more time exploring the molecular and genetic mechanisms for how our brains develop and continue to function for decades. Even the most basic questions become incredibly complex when you begin to dissect the neuroscience, which is something that has always drawn me towards the field.

Science has always been my favorite subject, as it is a collection of concepts that do not involve a straight and narrow path to a result or answer. It requires experimentation and exploration without borders, and that is what I love the most about science. I love being able to search my brain for creative methods for finding my way to a solution. I think about the activities that I’ve loved doing throughout my life, like watching documentaries or knitting, and these activities continue to invoke a sense of inquiry and repetition, fundamentals that make up the heart of science. The curiosity that came out of the mundane, asking questions like, “I wonder what makes cocoa beans so bitter?” or “Why does eating bread make people full so quickly?” or “What causes a rainbow to appear?” is the type of learning that I experience great delight in exploring. I’ve always had a thing for observing people. Not in a weird way. But observing how people use their body language towards other people. How people talk, how people walk. I wonder about the chemicals in the brain that shape people’s actions and thoughts. I’m fascinated by what makes people unique from others. I want to understand how our brains differ from one another because our brains are what make us form our individual thoughts and opinions. Majoring in neuroscience at Pomona has allowed me to explore so many facets of my interests, including the cellular mechanisms that occur within the brain when drugs are introduced, as well as the more behavior-based psychological and sociological aspects of neuroscience.


What jobs can you do with a neuroscience degree?

Neuroscience is hard because the core courses such as biology, chemistry, and mathematics are challenging. Earning a Ph. D. or MD in Neuroscience also requires students to stay in school so much longer. A graduate degree in Neuroscience, since it is in the medical field, can be hard on the pocket, too.

What major goes well with neuroscience?

People who study neuroscience can go on to have careers in:
  • Academia – research and teaching.
  • Clinical sciences.
  • Biotechnology and contract research.
  • Pharmaceutical industry.
  • Neuropsychology and psychiatry.
  • Regulatory affairs, policy and research administration.
  • Academic organisation and administration.

Do neuroscientists make a lot of money?

Neuroscience pairs well with psychology, cognitive science, biology, medical sciences, vision science, and others. Your requirements can be coordinated for the two programs.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *