The science of the brain
Neuroscientists study the nervous system. They apply a wide range of scientific disciplines: anatomy, biochemistry, computer science, pharmacology, physiology, and zoology. It's all about understanding how the brain and nervous system work, and it's one of the fastest growing areas of science.
What does a degree in Neuroscience involve?
The brain is a final frontier… a last great unknown. Neuroscientists are its explorers.
They try to understand how the brain functions, how it deals with injury or damage, and how it develops and changes over time. What they find helps neurologists, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists—and provides important models for high-level information processing and robotics.
Knowing how the brain perceives stimuli and controls movement helps those working on human performance from sports science to space medicine.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the neuroscience programme, teaching styles vary between papers. Many first- and second-year papers are taught through a combination of lectures and laboratory sessions, while third-year papers will have group projects and discussions.
Where can a career in Neuroscience take you?
To become a neuroscientist, following your Bachelor of Science (BSc), you would complete a Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) and a PhD. You could then work researching and teaching at a university or in a research institution.
Neuroscience also provides a convenient first degree for those proceeding to postgraduate specialisation in professional or applied fields. For example, medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy, audiology and bioengineering.
Those neuroscience graduates who do not proceed to postgraduate study also possess valuable skills that are widely sought after by employers, including technical expertise in areas where there is a worldwide shortage of skilled workers.
Undergraduate study in Neuroscience
The University of Otago is the only New Zealand university to offer an undergraduate degree in neuroscience. As an interdisciplinary programme, it is taught by staff from a large number of departments. Each teaches a separate 'neuro' component—but the result is a coherent, integrated subject in its own right.
The Neuroscience website has more detailed information about studying Neuroscience at the University of Otago.
Please contact the Neuroscience programme if you have any questions: