Majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience

Behavioral Neuroscience Certificate

Overview

Behavioral neuroscience is an interdisciplinary major that explores the neural basis of behavior through psychology, chemistry, philosophy, molecular biology, cellular biology and many other disciplines. The relationship between the brain's function and behavior is examined at multiple levels of analysis, from how a cell functions to how a facial expression conveys trust or fear.

Research opportunities

We emphasize research skills in our courses, and we use animals extensively to help you learn. Both core courses, "Behavioral Neuroscience" and "Psychopharmacology," have a lab requirement. Many students conduct individual studies to hone their research skills. The experience you gain will be invaluable as you prepare for medical school, graduate school or a research position.

Internships and service learning

The College's extensive programs can lead you across the United States and around the world. Many students conduct summer research internships. As a behavioral neuroscience major, you also have the chance to inspire others to learn about science with community events like the College's Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair. You and your fellow students plan and create interactive demonstrations, games and crafts to teach elementary students how the brain works – and your projects are judged by them.

Conferences and scientific societies

Behavioral neuroscience majors participate in the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience and NEURON, the Northeast Under/graduate Research Organization for Neuroscience. NEURON will put you in contact with undergraduates, grad students and faculty at many other institutions.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in Behavioral Neuroscience?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Psychiatrist, Mt. Sinai Health
  • Study Coordinator, Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Emergency Room Technician, Framingham MetroWest Medical Center
  • Teacher, Equality Charter School
  • Nurse Practitioner, CVS Minute Clinic
  • EMT-B, Assist EMS
  • Lab Technologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Research Assistant, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts
  • Psychiatric Nurse, Four Winds Hospital
  • Organizational Development Specialist, Price Chopper
  • Veterinarian, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Anesthesiologist, Anesthesia Associates of New Haven
  • Research Associate, Harvard Medical School - Department of Global Health
  • Clinical Research Assistant, VA Medical Center
  • Emergency Planner, Hartford Health Department
  • Director of Research and Evaluation, NYC Department of Education Research
  • Medical Student, Ohio University
  • Science Teacher, Hartford High School
  • Assistant Scientist, Palatin Technologies
  • Optometrist, Dreyfus Opticians

Faculty

Ruth E. Grahn, Interim Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology Ruth E. Grahn, Interim Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology

Ruth E. Grahn, Interim Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Psychology
Impact of stress on behavior and neural function • Animal models of psychopathology • Role of serotonin in fear/anxiety-related behaviors • Protein immunohistochemistry

Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology

Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology  (On sabbatical Spring 2015)
Comparative biochemistry and physiology • Invertebrate stress physiology • Marine biology • Tropical biology

Joseph A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program Joseph A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program

Joseph A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program
Neurobiology of analgesia • The neurobiological mechanisms of psychostimulant related behavior • Animal models of neurodegenerative disease, schizophrenia and drug abuse • Heavy metal neurotoxicity • Spatial navigation learning and memory • Development of zebrafish behavioral pharmacology models

Student profile


Talia Hahn Talia Hahn

Behavioral neuroscience


Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: I was attracted to the vast study abroad opportunities, along with the diversity of academic options. I loved the idea of being part of a tight-knit community where students take initiative, host activities and put their ideas into action.


Q: Why did you decide to study behavioral neuroscience?
A: I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the major. It combines biology, psychology, chemistry and even anthropology. I knew I liked science, but the brain in particular intrigued me, and I was interested in discovering how it governs human behavior. The major also encourages independent research with professors, which I took advantage of.


Q: What role has CELS (the College's career development program) played in your experience?
A: The workshops have given me the necessary tools and practice for networking, applying for jobs and presenting myself in a professional manner. My CELS counselor in particular has been beyond helpful in revising my resume and giving me advice on where to look for opportunities. I did my CELS internship at Harvard in a memory research lab.

Selected courses


  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Cognitive Brain Imaging
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Neurobiology of Disease
  • Sensation and Perception

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Student research


Effects of Repeated Forced Exercise and/or Caffeine on Analgesia and Analgesic Tolerance
By: Geoff Phaneuf '14 and Marisa Shields '14
Advising Faculty: Joseph A. Schroeder

Comparison of Prenatal and Post-Weaning Lead Exposure and Enriched Versus Impoverished Rearing Environment on Visuospatial Learning and Memory in Rats
By: Nicolas G. Tolman '13, Chelsea N. Louis '14, Gwen Galvin '14
Advising Faculty: Joseph A. Schroeder

Are Oreos Addictive? Nucleus Accumbens C-Fos Expression Is Correlated with Conditioned Place Preference to Cocaine, Morphine and High Fat/Sugar Food Consumption
By: Jamie C. Honohan '13, Rebecca H. Markson '13, Lauren Cameron '14
Advising Faculty: Joseph A. Schroeder

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