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.

Coursework

All majors take an introductory neuroscience course, Brain and Behavior, an intermediate course, Principles of Neuroscience, 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. Elective courses include Developmental Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurochemistry, Neuroendocrinology, Minds and Brains, Human Neuropsychology, and Nutrition and Brain Health.

Research

There are also extensive opportunities for students to experience the world of professional research in Trinity’s exceptional, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Working closely with the faculty, students take advantage of opportunities to do research with one of the faculty members on campus or at nearby institutions, including the 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 Addiction, Memory Impairment in Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury, Social Development in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, 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, range, and challenge of a liberal arts education at Trinity than the major in neuroscience. With its multidisciplinary approach it embodies the ideals of a liberal arts education.  Neuroscience, the major, 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 new challenges and new ways of thinking. The intensive program enhances their powers of perception, organization, and expression.

Outcomes

After graduating as Neuroscience majors, most students pursue graduate studies in some area related to their curriculum at Trinity, including about 40 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 careers, from applied sciences to law to philosophy. Each finds that as a neuroscience major at Trinity College, they have been prepared in a truly unique manner for a rewarding and challenging post – graduate career.

Read about Pernell T. Reid, M.D., ’03, senior vice president, Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Mass Eye and Ear (member hospital of Mass General Brigham), as profiled in the Spring 2024 issue of the Trinity College Reporter.

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Laboratory Work to Wilderness

Trinity College Vernon D. Roosa Professor of Applied Science Susan A. Masino is blazing a trail in neuroscience and conservation. She insists that applied science be pursued with an approach of “fearless kindness.” To do so, she asks, “How can science make ourselves better, make our lives better, and make our planet better?”

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