Why study Neuroscience at MC?

Neuroscience Program Overview

Neuroscience is a rapidly developing, interdisciplinary field of study that includes psychology, biology, and chemistry. The goal of neuroscience is to understand how the brain and nervous system respond to the environment and generate behavior. To answer these questions about the interaction of brain and behavior, it can mean looking at the biochemistry of individual nerve cells or examining mental processing or disease states, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Our program allows you to pursue your special interest at either the organismal level (Major in Neuroscience/Psychology Track) or the cellular level (Major in Neuroscience/Biochemistry Track). Students in both tracks share a common core of coursework in the basic disciplines, as well as introductory and advanced neuroscience courses, research design, and the opportunity to conduct independent research in one’s senior study. Students are prepared for graduate programs in neuroscience, psychology, neuropsychology, medicine, or positions in various biochemical, pharmaceutical, or neuropsychology settings.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

External Relationships

Blount Memorial Hospital
Birth to Three
Cherokee Health Systems, University of Tennessee, and Autism Society of America for the Autism Training Initiative
Cole Neuroscience Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center
Clover Hill Senior Living

Meet a current student

Katherine McNeely White ’17
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.

Katherine plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience followed by a career in research. She has interned at the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Cancer Institute and Cole Neuroscience Center, where she assisted with research on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia and drug abuse in patients. “The curriculum, academic atmosphere and, most importantly, the professors at Maryville have helped shape my career aspirations for the past three years by providing opportunities that I couldn’t have found elsewhere,” she said.

Outcomes of Recent Grads

Featured Graduate

Courtney Bowers ’15
Currently: Pursuing a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Tennessee

Courtney’s interest in neuroscience had always been autism, but through internships and her Senior Study, she realized she wanted to work directly with children. “My practica experience at MC helped me recognize that I wanted a hands-on job working with children with autism and other developmental disorders,” she said. “The coursework, emphasis on writing and research requirements prepared me for the rigor of graduate school, and my neuroscience major helps me to better understand the neurological basis of the disorders I see in children on a daily basis as I help them learn to communicate.”

Course Offerings

The Major in Neuroscience consists of 63 credit hours and students must choose a Psychology Track or a Biochemistry Track. The Major in Neuroscience with a Psychology Track is not open to students majoring in Psychology.  The Major in Neuroscience with a Biochemistry Track is not open to students majoring in Biochemistry.

All students in the major are required to take the following courses:

NSC 244: Introduction to Neuroscience (3 hrs.)
NSC 402: Advanced Topics in Neuroscience (3 hrs.)
PSY 101: Introductory Psychology (3 hrs.)
PSY 312: Experimental Psychology (4 hrs.)
PSY 327: Sensation & Perception (4 hrs.)
BIO 113: Principles of Organismal Biology (4 hrs.)
BIO 115: Principles of Cellular Biology (4 hrs.)
CHM 121: Principles of Chemistry I (4 hrs.)
CHM 122: Principles of Chemistry II (4 hrs.)
MTH 221: Inferential Statistics (3 hrs.)
NSC 351-352: Senior Study (6 hrs.)

Students in the Psychology Track must take the following courses:

PSY 299: Contemporary and Professional Issues in Psychology (2 hrs.)
PSY 222: Adult Development & Aging (3 hrs.)
PSY 314: Cognitive Psychology (4 hrs.)
PSY 306: Language Development (3 hrs.)
PSY 331: Abnormal Psychology (3 hrs.)
MTH 222: Regression (3 hrs.)

One of the following:
PHL 205: Early Modern Philosophy from 16th to the 18th Century (3 hrs.)
PHL 206: Enlightenment & Late Modern Philosophy 18th-20th Century (3 hrs.)
PHL 207: Contemporary Philosophy (3 hrs.)
PHL 211: American Philosophy (3 hrs.)

Students in the Biochemistry Track must take the following courses:

BIO 221: Genetics (4 hrs.)
BIO 299: Biology Research Methods (1 hr.)
CHM 223: Organic Chemistry (4 hrs.)
CHM 224: Organic Chemistry (4 hrs.)
CHM 316: Fundamentals of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (4 hrs.)
BIO/CHM 416: Advanced Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (4 hrs.)

Core Curriculum

The Maryville Curriculum, often called the “core” curriculum, consists of 51 credit hours. Some general education requirements are waived by virtue of the student’s major; others may be met by demonstration of competence. List of Core Courses:

Core Domain
Approved Existing Classes for New Core
(Other Courses to be added)
First Year Seminar FYS110
Composition & Speech ENG110 & ENG120
Quantitative Literacy MTH110
Religion, Spirituality and Critical Thought BIB130 or BIB140
Literary Studies LIT270 or LIT290
Historical Reasoning WCV180 or WCV190
Empirical Study of Person and Society PSY101, SOC101, PLS211, ECN221, ECN201
Culture and Intercultural Dynamics WRC370
Scientific Reasoning
[Students must complete 2 courses: 1 life science and 1 physical science. One of the 2 must include a lab]
SCI150, SCI350, BIO113, BIO115, BIO217, CHM111, CHM121, PHY101, PHY201
Mathematical Reasoning STA120, CSC111, MTH125
Second Language Completion of a 120 course in second language (e.g., SPN120, etc.)
Creative Arts FNA140, ART102, ART121, THT101, THT204,
3 HRS in any one of:
MUSE12, MUSE13, MUSE14, MUSE15, MUSE16, ART124, ART125, ART126
Ethical Citizenship in the World ETH490
U.S. Pluralism Designated Courses TBD


Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing the program of study will have achieved:

  • Articulates relationship among brain, mind, and behavior
    1. Demonstrates understanding of nervous system anatomy and physiology, both at cellular and organismal levels
    2. Demonstrates understanding of biological basis of behaviors, such as states of consciousness, motivation, emotion, and effects of psychoactive drugs
    3. Demonstrates understanding of biological basis of pathological conditions of the nervous system
    4. Demonstrates understanding of interdependent nature of the sciences that comprise neuroscience
  • Critically reviews, analyzes, and effectively communicates neuroscience research
  • Demonstrates ability to solve problems using the scientific mode of inquiry
  • Demonstrates understanding of ethical and societal implications or challenges in neuroscience research

Psychology Track:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of basic psychological terminology, concepts and theories
  • Demonstrates understanding of social, developmental, and cognitive processes that influence or are influenced by physiological processes

Biochemistry Track:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of basic biochemical terminology, concepts and theories
  • Acquire and apply a set of basic laboratory data acquisition skills recognizing the theory, practice and limitations of modern biochemical methods and instrumentation

Career Options

Psychology Track:

A major in neuroscience with a track in psychology can lead to careers in neuroscience, neuropsychology, medicine, speech pathology, and gerontology. Advanced degrees are required for many of these fields, but entry-level jobs include research assistant and data analyst, therapy/program assistant in rehabilitation clinics, activities/program director in rehabilitation or assisted living organizations, and pharmaceutical sales.

Biochemistry Track:

A major in neuroscience with a track in biochemistry can lead to careers in neuroscience, medicine and other health-related fields, pharmacology, and biochemistry. Advanced degrees are required for many of these fields but entry level jobs include research or lab assistant, data analysts, therapy/program assistants in rehabilitation clinics, and pharmaceutical sales.