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Behavioral Neuroscience Major

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Behavioral Neuroscience


Behavioral Neuroscience emphasizes the interaction of behavior with biological systems including brain pathways, nervous systems and hormonal systems.

Behavioral neuroscience has emerged as one of the most exciting and fastest-growing disciplines in science, leading to exciting career paths including medicine, health sciences, academia, government and private sector. This interdisciplinary field of study helps students develop intellectual skills in critical thinking and sound reasoning, and requires integration of knowledge from multiple levels of analysis, all of which are important characteristics of a liberal arts education.

"The Behavioral Neuroscience faculty helped with every step of my journey and inspired me to want to become a professor."
Emily Kirk '16 

Majors for Your Interest

As a Behavioral Neuroscience major, you'll take courses focusing on neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and advanced behavioral analysis. You'll address fundamental questions about the mind and its dynamic interactions with the biological systems of the brain as you explore topics from neuroeconomics to applied animal behavior. Best of all, you'll have the chance to participate in research projects, travel courses and internships to extend your behavioral neuroscience foundation beyond the classroom.

Research Opportunities 

At R-MC, you are encouraged to take part in active research and hands-on learning. Every student studying Behavioral Neuroscience has the opportunity to participate in research-intensive courses and independent-research projects through the college's Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. SURF students are engaged in graduate-level original research for 10 weeks during the summer months, under the guidance and mentorship of nationally recognized scholars.

Internships and Study Abroad

Meredith-1Expand your college experience through internships, travel study and individual research projects. Students gain experience in professional settings working with neuropsychiatrists, neuropsychologists, psychopharmacologists, neuroimaging scientists and other neuroscience researchers. There are also opportunities for placements in settings such as zoos (for students interested in applied animal behavior), hospitals, or clinical psychology or clinical counseling offices.

Chelsea Daniels '17 did a January Term (J-term) internship at the Center for Neurorehabilitation Services (CNS) in Richmond, Virginia. Daniels worked under the guidance of Physician Assistant Madison Moore Brown '11.

"To say that my internship prepared me for my career is an understatement," says Daniels. "I learned how to interact in a caring and empathetic yet professional way with patients. It was my first test at learning to feel comfortable when discussing difficult topics with patients. It also taught me how to work within a team. There are a lot of moving parts, and yet we all collaborated."

Beyond R-MC

neuroscience-majorsBehavioral Neuroscience graduates have a wide variety of paths they can pursue. In addition to graduate school, medical school and health-related programs, they can pursue careers in related fields such as rehabilitation, school counseling, education, therapy and mental health. Other graduates have gone into veterinary medicine, public service and teaching.

Five Randolph-Macon College students, all behavioral neuroscience majors, are setting their sights on a bright future. The five—Emily Kirk, Noelle McKearney, Brennan Terhune-Cotter, Brooke Thompson, and Braeshaun Dozier—are all members of the Class of 2016.

"In our major, the world is our classroom," says Psychology Professor Massimo Bardi. "As we follow Japanese macaques in the mountains near Kyoto, or as we spend long nights in the lab observing animals exposed to enriched environments, we learn by doing, by trial and error, by exploring new ideas. In this process, faculty and students build a unique close connection, one of the characteristics that makes Randolph-Macon's Behavioral Neuroscience program so strong."