Students in Wesleyan College's Neuroscience Program explore the nervous system and its contributions to human and animal behavior.

Wesleyan's program takes an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and integrates information from biology and psychology. The neuroscience major or minor coupled with a major in biology, psychology, or applied mathematical science provides an excellent background to pursue varied career opportunities.

Students attain a solid understanding of the underlying concepts; develop skills in experimental design and data analysis; approach problems and tasks logically, creatively, and critically; become knowledgeable of theory used in current literature; and become proficient in using methodology and instrumentation commonly employed in contemporary research in neuroscience.

The prestigious Munroe Scholars Program provides two full-tuition scholarships annually to academically superior first-year applicants for admission with interests in the sciences, mathematics, or dual-degree engineering. Preference is given to students who demonstrate particular promise in scientific inquiry or research. Eligible candidates must be invited to compete at Scholarship Day, possess strong academic credentials, and demonstrate their interest and ability to engage in research. Recipients also are eligible for research stipends of up to $1,000 during their junior and senior years.

Major: Neuroscience
Minor: Neuroscience
Related Majors & Minors: Biology and Psychology
Academic Catalogue

Student looks through microscope.

Start Your Research Early

By the time they graduate, more than 90% of neuroscience majors have collaborated with faculty in projects outside of the classroom.

The majority of neuroscience majors pursue careers within the field or in closely related fields. The major is designed to prepare one for competitive application to outstanding graduate programs. Students are given multiple opportunities to participate in research that is typically presented at student research conferences as well as regional, national, and international professional research conferences. Not only is research participation emphasized within courses in the major but also, all members of the neuroscience faculty are actively engaged in student-faculty research. Majors also have the opportunity to engage in community service through The Center for Women in Science and Technology.

Outside the Classroom

The Neuroscience Program offers a number of opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. Most graduates have presented their research at student or professional research meetings before graduation. The Neuroscience Program also offers regular study abroad opportunities. During school breaks students can participate in weeklong trips to Paris, Amsterdam, or Rome to study drugs and behavior or the neuroscience of beauty and pleasure.

Sample Courses

PSY 207: Principles of Neuroscience.
The biological bases of sensation, perception, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, emotion, and consciousness; overview of recent and significant developments in this area. 

NSC 260: Drugs and Behavior.
The pharmacology of drugs of abuse and drugs used in treating mental disorders is explored. Exploration of historical background of drugs as well as social context.

BIO 325: Neurophysiology.
A practice-oriented introduction to functional cellular neurobiology, focusing on electrophysiology. Laboratory exercise and discussion topics will include electrophysiology, histology, and neurochemistry techniques, neuronal membrane dynamics, synaptic function and plasticity, sensory coding, sensor coordination, central pattern generation, and network function. The primary methods of laboratory study will be intracellular, extracellular, multicellular and whole animal electrophysiology, cell and synaptic simulations, and computer simulations of neuronal and network function. 

NSC 335: Neuronal Networks and Systems.
A seminar--style course which samples from the range of sensory, motor, and associational neuronal networks and systems in invertebrate and vertebrate animals and the experimental and analytical approaches used to understand them. Instructor - and student-led discussions will use both review texts and the primary neuroscience literature of particularly well-understood systems as source material. This will be supplemented with hands-on exploration of computer-based simulations and models of neuronal networks. Specific topics might include, for example, detection, discrimination, and topographical mapping in visual and olfactory systems, owl and anuran auditory localization, fish electroreception, bat echolocation, crustacean and teleost escape behavior, coordination of leech swimming, locust flight, and birdsong, and the neuronal substrates of daily and seasonal rhythms.

BIO 340: Animal Physiology.
A detailed survey of the mechanisms of animal physiology, taught primarily from an organ-systems perspective. Topics include membrane dynamics, neuronal and nervous system function, muscle physiology; cardiac function and circulation, respiration, digestion, excretion, endocrinology, and reproduction. This course takes a comparative approach to animal physiology, with a focus on physiological mechanisms in vertebrates, including humans. 

More course requirements for the Neuroscience Major

Why Wesleyan?

Why Wesleyan?

No one knows Wesleyan better than our alumnae who have experienced learning, living, and thriving at Wesleyan. Alumnae reflect on their experiences on campus and the impact on their lives through lifelong friendships to skills acquired on campus impacting their careers.

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Career Development

Career Development

A liberal arts education prepares you for your first job and your last. Wesleyan has a four-year plan to prepare students to make the connection between a liberal arts education and success in the workplace.

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Wesleyan offers 25 majors and 35 minors, including self-designed interdisciplinary studies, eight pre-professional programs and the bachelor of science in nursing and bachelor of fine arts degrees.

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Student Anna Marmolejo Rios ‘20 during her summer internship.

Meet Anna Marmolejo Rios '20

Anna, a neuroscience and psychology double major, worked as an intern through the Summer Research Opportunity Program (offered by Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan) where she worked on the Michigan Study for Cognitive Aging and Diverse Elders. In a lab that works to characterize risk and protective factors for dementia in a racially and socioeconomically diverse sample of older adults, specifically those from minority or underrepresented groups. "Throughout the summer I have learned so much about myself, the type of person I am and the kind of research I want to conduct. I knew I wanted to continue my education and ultimately earn a PhD in clinical psychology, and being here has opened my eyes to exactly what I am signing up for. Now I have a clearer picture of what my career and research paths will look like in the near future."

Wesleyan Women In Neuroscience Careers

alumnae ADITI DEY ’13 sits at desk with book open


A Munroe Scholar, Aditi graduated magna cum laude with a triple major in psychology, biology, and neuroscience. At Wesleyan, Aditi served as a research assistant in Dr. James Rowan’s comparative cognition lab. She is now a Resident in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Childrens' Hospital after receiving her doctoral degree.



The Medical College of Georgia, Brandeis University, Washington University of St. Louis, Novartis Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University, Mercer University Medical School, Georgia Health Science University 



feels no pain

The human brain is the only organ in the human body that lacks nerves despite the fact that it acts as the central command for the central nervous system.

100,000 miles

There are 100 thousand miles of blood vessels in your brain, and one hundred billion neurons.

fattest organ

About 60% of the human brain is comprised of fat which is the highest concentration of fat that is present in a single organ in a healthy human being.

Usage misconception

It is believed by many that, human beings use less than 10% of their brain. This is a misconception because each and every part of the brain has a known function.


Dreaming requires more brain activity than any waking function.

25 Watts

The energy consumed by the brain which is approximately 25 watts is sufficient enough to illuminate a light bulb.

3 pounds

The average human brain weights 3 pounds.

75% water

75% of the total brain mass is comprised of water which regulates various functions in the brain.

18 Years

The brain stops growing at approximately 18 years of age.

Not ticklish

Your brain recognizes your touch, so you can’t tickle yourself.

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