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About the Program

Interested in neuroscience? Join the program today by logging on to your My Charleston page and declaring a Minor using the Program of Study Management tool.  Please click on the Faculty and Staff link on the left to learn more about faculty associated with the program.

What is Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and its role in organisms.  These roles include basic functions such as how organisms obtain information about the environment (sensory systems) and act on this information (motor systems and behavior).  However, the nervous system is also involved in more complex phenomena such as speech, emotions, thought, and decision making.  Neuroscientists employ a variety of techniques to better understand nervous system function, using animal models (both vertebrates and invertebrates) to identify basic principles that are conserved from the most simple organisms to humans.

In addition to basic neural function, neuroscience is also concerned with how the nervous system is altered through disease (such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s), damage (such as spinal cord injury and brain trauma), or self-administration (drugs and alcohol).  Neuroscientists are especially interested in how to repair, reverse, or prevent unwanted alterations to the nervous system.

The wide scope of neuroscience research encompasses multiple levels of biological organization (molecular, cellular, and systems) and many scientific disciplines including biology, psychology and physics as well as chemistry, computer science, engineering, anthropology, hearing and speech sciences, kinesiology, and philosophy.

The Neuroscience Program

The mission of the Neuroscience Minor at the College of Charleston is to provide an environment of academic excellence in the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience. We will promote the integration of interdisciplinary academic pursuits that foster intellectual independence and student-faculty collaborative research in neuroscience. Our course offerings, research programs and faculty composition are centered on the needs of students.  We maintain a strong emphasis on undergraduate research as a major component of a science education, consisting of a combination of experimental and theoretical/computational neuroscience in various specialized subfields of classical and contemporary neuroscience. Our faculty maintain strong ties to professional organizations and journals in the discipline. We strive to serve the greater Charleston community through activities including outreach to pre-college students and to the general public.

Students pursuing the minor are required to take courses that provide a basic neuroscience background (molecular, cellular, and systems) as well as courses that broaden the students’ knowledge in neuroscience-related fields.  Minors are also required to complete a Bachelor’s Essay in Neuroscience based on a year-long neuroscience research project conducted in faculty labs at either the College of Charleston or the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  In their senior year, students are required to take the capstone Seminar in Neuroscience course offered in the Spring semester.

At the completion of the minor, students will have gained:

  1. an understanding of molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience.
  2. an appreciation for the multidisciplinary and comparative nature of the field of neuroscience.
  3. experience conducting neuroscience research.
  4. professional communication skills (in both verbal and written form) for presenting scientific data.