The Ohio State University Undergraduate Neuroscience Major: a Brief Overview

The Ohio State University is expanding its majors once more; this time to the realm of neuroscience. OSU did have a neuroscience major before, but that was a graduate studies program (NSGP, Neuroscience Graduate Program). What they are trying to add right now is the bachelor of neuroscience. The program itself is a fairly unique one, since it's a merger of three of OSU's giants: arts and sciences, psychology, and medical center. The OSU neuroscience major will encompass a broad area of studies, yet students can still specialize in one of three major areas. The three areas are: cellular and molecular neuroscience, behavioral and systems neuroscience, and cognitive and computational neuroscience. Cellular and molecular neuroscience, as its name implies, will focus mostly on the molecular basis of neuroscience; neurotransmitter, signaling pathways, ion channels and gates, action potential through voltage gated ion channel, and many many more. The cellular/molecular specialization is heavily influenced by the school of the arts and sciences (most likely the biochemistry and molecular genetics, especially after looking at the curriculum). Cellular/molecular specialization will employ beautiful arrays of biochemistry and molecular genetics classes along with its basic and grad level neuroscience classes.

Behavioral and systems neuroscience will take on the tissue approach, studying the macroscopic release of neurotransmitter, and its effect on the brain; this includes the study of several diseases and abnormalities. Since the behavioral and systems specialization is heavily influence by the medical center, we can expect to see a massive amount of physiology and pathology involved in the curriculum. For those of you interested in becoming an MD, this might be the path for you, especially if molecules don't interest you as much. The specialization itself is a very strong one for many current studies on diseases; a complementary molecular approach along with the behavioral and systems neuroscience could turn out to be a very powerful tool.

Lastly, the cognitive and computational neuroscience. The only school hadn't been mentioned earlier was the school of psychology, and indeed, the cognitive and computational is influenced heavily by the school of psychology. The cognitive and computational neuroscience take on the bigger question of how cognitive system function to create complex ideas such as language, arts or even music, the computational neuroscience even extends its limbs to the realm of artificial intelligence and beyond. For those of you interested in standing on the edge of neuroscience, cognitive and computational will give you the tools to forge your way through the unknown.

Hinted on the previous paragraphs was the idea that one can play with the three specializations to their own needs, and indeed they can. The extra 'breadth' requirement allow students to venture outside of their specialization to obtain the tools from another; one can in fact be the master of both celullar/molecular and behavioral/systems (especially with the amount of class overlap between the two).

All in all, the neuroscience major is looking very strong, and will be a great addition to OSU's library of majors. One might want to take a biochemistry minor, though just in case.

-Adi