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Director: Jay Hirsh
Professor of Biology,
Director of Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience
Overview Neuroscience is the multidisciplinary study of the nervous system. In addition to focusing on basic scientific problems related to psychology, biology, and chemistry, neuroscience also forms the fundamental basis of many medical specialties, including psychiatry, neurology, and neurosurgery. The basic and applied nature of the field has attracted a large number of scientists during the past decades.
Increasingly, neuroscientists must be well trained in a variety of scientific disciplines to stay abreast with the rapid advances in the field. A successful neuroscientist must be trained in fields spanning from molecular biology to cognitive neuroscience. The program in neuroscience is designed to provide majors with the necessary skills to master this highly-multidisciplinary scientific field.
The objectives of the major are:
- To provide students with a structure for coursework that assures a solid grounding in natural science and an overall familiarity with neuroscience as a discipline.
- To sponsor events that communicate neuroscience research and activities on grounds, as well as provide students with information on research careers. Such events include special lectures, symposia, trips to national and local scientific meetings, and workshops on graduate school and career options.
- To foster active participation of undergraduate students in neuroscience research by providing opportunities to conduct research in neuroscience oriented laboratories in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Faculty The directorship of the Neuroscience Undergraduate Program (NUP) rotates among neuroscience faculty in affiliated departments. The NUP Advisory Committee is composed of four neuroscientists. They are the current director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and three faculty members appointed by the Chair of Psychology, the Chair of Biology, and the Chair of the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine, respectively. The director and the advisory committee will select students for the major, advise majors and determine the ongoing direction of the program. The faculty primarily responsible for classroom training are neuroscientists in the Biology and Psychology departments, all of whom are also members of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). Faculty from the School of Medicine that are also members of the NGP (in over 15 departments) will also participate in the program through teaching and through mentoring research projects.
Students The major is designed for students with a strong interest in the biology of the nervous system and a desire to conduct original research in the field with UVA neuroscientists. A maximum of 25 students will be selected for the program each year from a pool of applicants. Students will be chosen on the basis of prior academic performance and an essay explaining the students’ interest in neuroscience. The program will provide majors with a background for continued study in graduate and professional schools.