McNeely Hall's exterior

Neuroscience at St. Thomas: an interdisciplinary, research-intensive major that combines coursework in classrooms and labs.


What are recent graduates doing now?

Brittni Peterson, a 2010 graduate of the Neuroscience Program, is now attending graduate school in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota. While at the University of St. Thomas, she conducted research with Prof. Kurt Illig in Biology, and participated in an REU (research experience for undergraduates) at the University of Vermont.

Sean Navin, a 2010 graduate of the Neuroscience Program, conducted research on cocaine addiction in adolescent rats at the University of Minnesota. He is now attending Pharmacy school at the University of Minnesota on a scholarship.

Nick Hafften, a 2011 graduate of the Neuroscience Program, attended the 2010 Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego, CA. While at St. Thomas, Nick conducted research with Dr. Kurt Illig in Biology. Here, Nick (at right) is shown presenting his research to a member of the Society.

Holden Clauson was the first Neuroscience student to graduate (2009; he had a double-major in Biochemistry); he is now at NYU Dental School.

Anna Garske, a 2011 graduate of the University of St. Thomas, is pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. While at the University of St. Thomas, she conducted research with Prof. Kurt Illig in Biology, and presented her work at the 2010 Society for Neuroscience meeting and at the 2011 meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences. Here, Anna (left) is shown presenting her work to Gordon Shepherd of Yale University.

Learning opportunities outside of the classroom:

Internships. There are many funded summer research programs in neuroscience and neuroscience-related fields. These Research Experience for Undergraduates programs (REUs) are an excellent opportunity to explore research as a career, learn more about yourself and work full time in a professional environment.  

Study abroad. Many of our students find rewarding experiences studying abroad during J-term. With careful planning, students also study abroad for a semester or a year. Many study abroad programs offer neuroscience and biomedical science courses which can be substituted for neuroscience psychology and biology electives.

Faculty research, presentations, publications, etc.

The faculty at St. Thomas are dedicated to outstanding teaching, mentorship and research.  Faculty members approach the study of neuroscience from a wide array of experimental perspectives, including studies at the cellular, molecular, behavioral and cognitive level. They often work with students as laboratory assistants, co-presenters and co-authors. Students disseminate their research at regional meetings such as MidBrains and the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conferences, as well as at national and international professional conferences, including the Society for Neuroscience, Experimental Biology and the American Psychological Association annual conferences.

What jobs are possible with a Neuroscience major?

  • Medicine: Work in a clinical setting, or with further training, embark in career as a physician, psychiatrist, veterinarian, physical therapist, pharmacist, dentist, or other health professional.
  • Research: Work as a research technician, or with further training pursue a research career in an academic or industrial setting. 
  • Psychology:  Work as a behavioral therapist or animal trainer, or with further education, pursue a career in counseling, social work, clinical psychology, or chemical dependency counseling.
  • Further options:  Enjoy a career in technical writing, law, health care advocacy, pharmaceutical sales, or many other careers that require critical thinking, problem solving, and scientific literacy.
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