Millsaps College senior Lauren Vucovich wants to know: Just how does the brain drive human behavior?
That's why Vucovich is interested in delving into Millsaps' new undergraduate major or minor in neuroscience and cognitive behavior.
"As a student working toward graduate school, the opportunity to take classes within the Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies Program allows me to expand and vary my classes to specifically fit my needs as I decide what I want to pursue in the future," Vucovich said.
Millsaps is the first institution of higher learning in the state to offer the major, which incorporates classes from various departments, including: biology, psychology, philosophy, and chemistry, in order to give students a broad range of perspectives.
"This new degree offers students the opportunity to study and integrate a variety of disciplines, which will lead them to a greater understanding of how the brain and human behavior interact," said Dr. Melissa Lea, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies Program. "Neuroscience is a growing field, and the study of neuroscience can enhance a student's medical school application."
The major is a valuable option for students interested in pursuing a medical degree in neurology or a doctorate in neuroscience and/or cognitive science.
Within the major, students must complete four courses in one of two specializations: physiology and biochemistry, or behavioral and theoretical. The physiology and biochemistry specialization includes courses such as neural anatomy and physiology, molecular cell biology, and biochemistry. The behavioral and theoretical specialization includes courses such as biomedical ethics, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral medicine. A senior seminar also is required.
Millsaps junior Ganesh Swamy is among those exploring a major in the field. "I'm excited about the new NCS program, because I've always wanted to learn more about the brain and the nervous system in general," he said. "I believe a major in this program will allow me to pursue my interests and possibly a career in this field."