Science Students in Class

Georgia State offers new bachelor’s degree in neuroscience

Posted On July 21, 2011
Categories Goal 3, News and Events

Contact: Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
University Relations

Note: Students interested in this new major should contact Don Edwards at dedwards@gsu.edu.

ATLANTA – A question and answer session will be held Wednesday, Aug. 3 for students interested in a new neuroscience bachelor’s degree recently approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

The session will be held at 12 p.m. in Room 124 of the Parker H. Petit Science Center for students to learn more about course requirements and electives for the new major, which begins this fall.

“Neuroscience is one of the most rapidly growing areas of science internationally, and includes efforts to understand brain mechanisms that underlie behavior at the molecular, cellular, circuit, systems, behavioral and cognitive levels,” said Don Edwards, Regents’ Professor of Neuroscience and undergraduate director for the program.

With the addition of the bachelor’s degree, the university’s Neuroscience Institute will now offer the full range of academic degree programs, including Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, first approved in 2009. The university’s Neuroscience Institute includes faculty from biology, chemistry, psychology, physics and astronomy, computer science, mathematics and statistics, and philosophy.

The field is helping to address major issues of the new century, including aging and its cognitive effects and mental health, as well as robotics and prosthetics, Edwards said. Neuroscience is involved even in philosophy and questions of free will, economics and behavior, and ethical issues in law.

“Brain mechanisms ripple across all human affairs, and the affairs of animals, too,” Edwards said.

The undergraduate major will build upon basic courses in biology and chemistry, and will provide a detailed survey of neuroscience, introduction in current laboratory techniques, training in the scientific method of neuroscience and a capstone course in the field.

Students will have the opportunity to work with faculty in their research, as well as educational outreach activities to K-12 students in the Atlanta area. Additionally, students will have the chance to seek Brains and Behavior Scholars grants to pursue research of their own.

A range of elective courses will provide introductions to subdisciplines of neuroscience, including cellular and molecular neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and neuroethology – an evolutionary and comparative approach in understanding the nervous system.

The introductory survey course for the major, NEUR 3000 will be offered this fall, and the full range of undergraduate neuroscience courses will be offered during the spring semester of 2012.

As a result of the university’s Second Century Initiative to hire 100 new faculty members to expand research and academics at GSU, the Neuroscience Institute is participating in several hiring clusters focusing on specialized areas of research.

One area, in partnership with the departments of Biology and Psychology, will focus on neurogenomics and the molecular basis of behavior. The new faculty will work towards understanding the gene and cellular networks that underlie behavior, looking at social behavior in particular.

The faculty in this area will also identify new therapeutic strategies for conditions and diseases of the brain, including mental illness. The Neuroscience Institute is also participating in an area examining primate social cognition, evolution and behavior. Faculty will be appointed in psychology, anthropology, or the Neuroscience Institute.

For more about the university’s Neuroscience Institute, visit http://neuroscience.gsu.edu.