what can i do with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by

Neuroscientists are medical research scientists who study the brain and nervous system. According to Georgetown University, neurology is a multidisciplinary field that crosses over into areas like linguistics, medicine, psychology and computer science. An undergraduate neuroscience degree may suffice for some entry-level neuroscientist jobs but research and medical positions typically require graduate education, according to the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

Neuroscientist Salary and Job Outlook

Neuroscientist compensation increases with years of experience, reports Salary Expert. The average mid-career salary is ​$105,922​ per year, as of 2021. Those newer to the field average ​$74,137​, while experienced neuroscientists with at least eight years of experience earn an annual salary of ​$131,571​.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities for medical scientists, including neuroscientists, will grow 6 percent between now and 2029, slightly faster than the 4 percent expected growth of most occupations. Demand will be spurred in part by interest in new treatments and medicines for segments of the aging population suffering from neurological disorders.

Neuroscientist Job Description

Neuroscientists seek to learn more about the evolution, molecular structure and functionality of the nervous system. Some researchers specialize in an area within the field of neurology such as brain anatomy or cell chemistry, while others study emerging fields in neuroscience such as cultural neuroscience, neuroengineering or neuroinfomatics.

Neuroscientists conduct experiments, run clinical trials, publish their scientific findings in journals and present academic papers at professional conferences. Medical scientists specializing in the brain and nervous system develop procedures and instruments for neurologists. Neuroscientists may work in private industry, for universities, or the federal government.

Those working in universities must write grant proposals to obtain the funding for their research in neurology. Neuroscientists working for a private business are not required to obtain funding for their research, but they may not have the freedom to choose areas to study.

Undergraduate Education

Becoming a neuroscientist begins with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience or biology. The bachelor’s degree program should include courses in biology, chemistry, physiology and cell biology. Some schools offer bachelor’s degree programs in biology with concentration areas such as molecular biology, immunology and neurobiology. The undergraduate program prepares students for the advanced coursework in a graduate degree program in neuroscience.

Joint M.D. and Ph.D. Programs

According to the BLS, medical scientists who interact medically with patients must have a medical license. A joint M.D. and Ph.D. program in neuroscience can provide students with the education to qualify for a medical license and advanced training in research in neuroscience.

Students in an M.D. and Ph.D. program must complete clinical rotations, medical school courses, graduate courses in neuroscience and a thesis to earn both degrees. The program requires about eight years of study to graduate with a medical degree and a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

Ph.D. Programs in Neuroscience

Students planning a career in research in neuroscience may complete a Ph.D. program. Ph.D. programs in neuroscience include a core curriculum in the field, laboratory rotations, clinical rotations and elective courses that allow graduate students to focus in an area of specialization in neuroscience.

Programs in neuroscience include courses in data analysis, mathematical models, neuropharmacology, brain disorders and neurogenetics. A Ph.D. program in neuroscience can take about six years to complete, according to the BLS.

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