Neuroscience to be a new major in fall 2015 semester

Starting next fall, Wilkes students will have the option of declaring a major in neuroscience.

“Neuroscience is the field that studies the nervous system, mostly focusing on the brain and spinal cord,” said associate professor Dr. Edward Schicatano.

Wilkes currently offers a neuroscience minor, which has been successful and typically encompasses about 40 students.

“The design of the program is really for students who intend on going to graduate school, whether that be in a neuroscience graduate program or something in the health sciences,” said Schicatano. “The curriculum is designed so that they could easily go on to these programs.”

From a student standpoint, freshman Lauren Evans explained why this major, which she will be declaring in the fall, will put her at an advantage for her post-college plans.

“My plan for after my four year degree would be to go to chiropractic school, and because chiropractic [medicine] deals with the spine and manipulating it, which holds the central nervous system, I really think it would benefit me in the long run to have a degree in neuroscience,” said Evans.

This major will entail neuroscience courses, psych methods courses, basic science classes, and will also include performing research in psychology.

As research is a large part of neuroscience, there needed to be enough resources and opportunity for students to engage in it before the major could be brought to the university. One main way that students will be able to do their research is through the upcoming neurotraining and research center.

“The center uses cutting-edge neuroscience techniques like neurofeedback. The goal is to use these techniques to help people with stress management, attention focus, energy, and overall emotional regulation,” said Schicatano. “We are the only university in the nation with a neurotraining center.”

Also coming in the fall, the neurotraining and research center will be located in Breiseth Hall and available to any student, faculty and stuff for free. It will provide neuroscience students with research, work, and internship opportunities.

“I’ve always loved application more than straight memorization,” said Evans regarding the research aspect of the major.

“If you’re really interested in what controls your behavior and your thinking, then you probably want to understand the brain, and neuroscience is the study of the brain,” said Schicatano.

For more information about this upcoming major, contact Dr. Edward Schicatano at [email protected].