Neuroscience is a broad, multidisciplinary field concerned with the nervous system, its components, and functional activities, including behavior and consciousness. How do nerve cells function and develop, and how do they communicate? How do brains work, and how have they evolved? What is the nature of consciousness, and the neural basis for behaviors and for human brain dysfunction? These are among the many questions being answered by contemporary neuroscience.
Neuroscience at Trinity involves faculty from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Philosophy, and Psychology. The major is designed to give students a fundamental grounding in the sciences, and the flexibility to direct their studies towards cellular/molecular, systems/behavioral or cognitive/clinical aspects of neuroscience. A major in neuroscience can lead to a career in scientific research, the health professions, education, business, law, or government. The Trinity major also prepares students for further study in graduate school and medical school.
All majors take an introductory neuroscience course, Brain and Behavior, and both introductory biology and chemistry courses. Neuroscience majors are encouraged to participate in a neuroscience methodology course with rotations to various labs and are required to participate in a senior seminar that involves reading primary journal articles and then bringing the authors to campus. Courses include Neurobiology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Sensory Systems, Neurochemistry, Minds and Brains, Human Neuropsychology, and Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience.
There are also extensive opportunities and encouragement for students to experience and explore the world of professional research in Trinity's exceptional, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities through designing and performing their own laboratory research studies. Working closely with the faculty, students take advantage of opportunities to do research. Students are also encouraged to do independent research with one of the faculty members on campus or at the nearby Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center with fMRI facilities.
Faculty research interests include Neuroplasticity of Sensory Systems, Neurochemistry of Degenerative Diseases, Memory and Long-term Potentiation, Adenosine and Addicition, Neuroplasticity of Memory Systems in Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury, Biochemistry of Glial Cells, Visual Perception, and Studies of Consciousness using fMRI.
Why Major in Neuroscience at Trinity?
There may be no course of study more representative of the relevance, dimension, and challenge of a liberal arts education at Trinity than the major in neuroscience. With its combination of biology, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and engineering, it could seem to some as a non-traditional program for an institution dedicated to the liberal arts.
Such close interaction results in a strong camaraderie among neuroscience majors. These bonds sustain them through the college years and beyond; many neuroscience graduates continue to maintain close ties to each other and to Trinity, providing a productive networking relationship.
After graduating as Neuroscience majors, most students pursue graduate studies in some area related to their curriculum at Trinity, including between 40-50 percent of graduates who go on to attend medical school. Others pursue graduate degrees in research. Still others find their undergraduate experience has provided an exceptional foundation for careers in a broad spectrum of directions, from applied sciences to law to philosophy. Each in his or her own way finds that as a neuroscience major at Trinity College, he or she has been prepared in a truly unique manner for a rewarding and challenging post - graduate career.
Neuroscience, the major, certainly offers a unique undergraduate experience. From the enjoyment of research to the diversity of subject matter to the level of work and scholarship demanded of the program, students are encouraged to extend themselves in ways that expose them to new challenges and new ways of thinking. They find at the same time that the intensive program enhances their powers of perception, organization, and expression.