Maj

Neuroscience

About

The human brain is one of the most complex structures in the entire universe. It is also the only organ that can study itself! Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field of scientific inquiry that draws from many academic disciplines including biology, chemistry, philosophy, and psychology. Studying Neuroscience at Saint Michael’s allows you to thoughtfully contemplate the moral, ethical, and philosophical implications of neuroscience on society and the world. Through hands-on laboratory experiences and course discussions, you can build on this intellectual foundation by investigating such topics as the development of the brain and nervous system and their related structures, processes, and functions, as well as enhance your knowledge of various cognitive, physical, and behavioral processes that can facilitate or hinder nervous system health.

Curriculum

Major Requirements

 

Sample Four Year Plan

Fall

BI 151 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution OR Introduction to Health Sciences
CH 110 General Chemistry I
PS 101 General Psychology
First Year Seminar

Spring

BI 153 Introductory Cell Biology and Genetics
CH 117 Organic Chemistry I
PH 103 Introduction to Philosophy
PS 274 Behavioral Neuroscience

Fall

BI 205 Communications in the Biological Sciences OR PS 213 Psychological Statistics
Biology or Psychology elective
Liberal Studies courses

Spring

ST 120 Elementary Statistics OR ST 140 Biological Data & Statistics OR PS 215 Research Methods
Biology or Psychology elective
Liberal Studies courses

Fall

BI 318 Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience OR BI 320 Neuroscience: Physiology/Behavior
Biology or Psychology elective
Junior Seminar
Elective

Spring

PH 231  The Mind, Free Will, and Neuroethics
Biology or Psychology elective
Elective
Elective

Fall

NS 410 Neuroscience Senior Seminar
Electives

Spring

Electives

 

In Depth

As a Neuroscience major you will investigate the brain and nervous system by focusing on multidisciplinary aspects of neuroscience through courses in Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, and Philosophy, including a Neuroscience senior capstone course. Majors share a similar program of six required core courses, but can focus their study in different directions (e.g., behavioral or cellular) through electives at the intermediate level and in senior study. These elective courses will provide fundamental knowledge and techniques in Biology and Psychology that apply to the field of neuroscience and its broader scientific context. You will further gain important skills in analytical techniques, reading and evaluating scientific literature, and written and oral communication in the neurosciences.

Neuroscience Learning Outcomes

Careers

After graduation, our majors can go on to careers such as:

  • Neuroscientist
  • Neuroethicist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech pathologist/audiologist
  • Health Policy Analyst
  • Laboratory technician
  • Clinical research technician/assistant
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Science advocacy
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Optometrist

Students may also apply to graduate programs in Neuroscience.  Note that in some cases, these programs may require additional courses in subjects such as Physics, Biochemistry, and Calculus.  Please consult the Neuroscience advisor Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo for more information.

Internships

“It was truly a life changing experience – from becoming more aware of peoples’ thoughts/feelings to learning the ins and outs of brain injury. It really assured me that I am happy with continuing to major in neuroscience and opened my eyes to possibly pursuing physical therapy. I learned so much from the staff, other interns, and especially the participants at SLI.” — Emily Durette, ’19 

Emily Durette ’19 spent the summer interning with Supportive Living, Inc, a specialized residential and rehabilition for individuals with severe brain injuries, outside of Boston, Mass. Durette, along with the other interns, helped plan and execute a full menu of physical, cognitive and social activities to residents and other survivors from local communities. Interns were also required to write a short report on a topic related to brain injury, and a short article about one of the survivors with whom they worked

Internships, like the one described above, provide you with a meaningful experience for potential jobs and further education, as well as a way to put your learning into action. Please contact the Neuroscience advisor Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo to learn more.

Research

Our neuroscience professors have a broad range of research interests in which the field of neuroscience can be explored from different perspectives.  Opportunities are available to work closely with faculty on a variety of projects during the school year and to conduct your own research under faculty supervision through competitive grant-funding over the summer months.

We have several neuroscience laboratories here at Saint Michael’s:

Psychophysiology and Virtual Reality Laboratory (Saint Edmund’s Hall 219)
Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo, Ph.D. mvanderkaay@smcvt.edu
Anthony Richardson, Ph.D. arichardson@smcvt.edu

Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy Laboratory (Cheray Science Hall 326)
Adam Weaver, Ph.D. aweaver2@smcvt.edu
Ruth Fabian-Fine, Ph.D. rfabianfine@smcvt.edu

Krikstone Laboratory for the Behavioral Sciences (Saint Edmund’s Hall 203)
Ari Kirshenbaum, Ph.D. akirshenbaum@smcvt.edu

Student Research
Katie Petrozzo ’17 – “Free Will and Moral Responsibility in the Neuroscientific Age”

Petrozzo combined neuroscientific findings and philosophic resources to study whether or not a greater understanding of the brain challenges the idea of free will and choice.

Submitted to: Compos Mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics

In Depth

As a Neuroscience major you will investigate the brain and nervous system by focusing on multidisciplinary aspects of neuroscience through courses in Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, and Philosophy, including a Neuroscience senior capstone course. Majors share a similar program of six required core courses, but can focus their study in different directions (e.g., behavioral or cellular) through electives at the intermediate level and in senior study. These elective courses will provide fundamental knowledge and techniques in Biology and Psychology that apply to the field of neuroscience and its broader scientific context. You will further gain important skills in analytical techniques, reading and evaluating scientific literature, and written and oral communication in the neurosciences.

Neuroscience Learning Outcomes

Careers

After graduation, our majors can go on to careers such as:

  • Neuroscientist
  • Neuroethicist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech pathologist/audiologist
  • Health Policy Analyst
  • Laboratory technician
  • Clinical research technician/assistant
  • Pharmaceutical sales
  • Science advocacy
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Optometrist

Students may also apply to graduate programs in Neuroscience.  Note that in some cases, these programs may require additional courses in subjects such as Physics, Biochemistry, and Calculus.  Please consult the Neuroscience advisor Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo for more information.

Internships

“It was truly a life changing experience – from becoming more aware of peoples’ thoughts/feelings to learning the ins and outs of brain injury. It really assured me that I am happy with continuing to major in neuroscience and opened my eyes to possibly pursuing physical therapy. I learned so much from the staff, other interns, and especially the participants at SLI.” — Emily Durette, ’19 

Emily Durette ’19 spent the summer interning with Supportive Living, Inc, a specialized residential and rehabilition for individuals with severe brain injuries, outside of Boston, Mass. Durette, along with the other interns, helped plan and execute a full menu of physical, cognitive and social activities to residents and other survivors from local communities. Interns were also required to write a short report on a topic related to brain injury, and a short article about one of the survivors with whom they worked

Internships, like the one described above, provide you with a meaningful experience for potential jobs and further education, as well as a way to put your learning into action. Please contact the Neuroscience advisor Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo to learn more.

Research

Our neuroscience professors have a broad range of research interests in which the field of neuroscience can be explored from different perspectives.  Opportunities are available to work closely with faculty on a variety of projects during the school year and to conduct your own research under faculty supervision through competitive grant-funding over the summer months.

We have several neuroscience laboratories here at Saint Michael’s:

Psychophysiology and Virtual Reality Laboratory (Saint Edmund’s Hall 219)
Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo, Ph.D. mvanderkaay@smcvt.edu
Anthony Richardson, Ph.D. arichardson@smcvt.edu

Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy Laboratory (Cheray Science Hall 326)
Adam Weaver, Ph.D. aweaver2@smcvt.edu
Ruth Fabian-Fine, Ph.D. rfabianfine@smcvt.edu

Krikstone Laboratory for the Behavioral Sciences (Saint Edmund’s Hall 203)
Ari Kirshenbaum, Ph.D. akirshenbaum@smcvt.edu

Student Research
Katie Petrozzo ’17 – “Free Will and Moral Responsibility in the Neuroscientific Age”

Petrozzo combined neuroscientific findings and philosophic resources to study whether or not a greater understanding of the brain challenges the idea of free will and choice.

Submitted to: Compos Mentis: Undergraduate Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics