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Research will be central to your studies, and as a neuroscience major, by senior year you will be ready to delve into an in-depth research project. You will find opportunity to excel outside the classroom, for instance getting a grant to conduct summer research with a professor or coauthoring a paper that is published in a scholarly journal.

About the Major

Hamilton’s neuroscience faculty works with students to examine intriguing and fundamental questions: What is the relationship between behavior and biology? How can that relationship best be observed and studied? What does it reveal about ourselves, our culture, our health, even our technology? These are the questions posed and pursued by neuroscience, the multidisciplinary study of the nervous system.

Professor Gapp was my intro bio professor and he set an example of what a liberal arts degree can do. When he would lecture not only would he cover the biological information, but he would include references to history and literature that made the class that much more interesting.

Alex Cates ’15 — Neuroscience major

The study of the nervous system has a clear, practical impact on advances in mental and physical health, child development and aging, medicine, education and many other fields. By drawing on a range of research disciplines, neuroscience is also uniquely positioned to demonstrate the ways in which psychology, biology and chemistry intersect with philosophy, mathematics and – increasingly – computer science.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Researcher, National Institute for Drug Abuse
  • Medical Student, Harvard Medical School
  • Research Analyst, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch
  • Neurologist & Neuro-Oncologist, Unity Hospital
  • Science Teacher, New York City Department of Education
  • Neuropsychologist, Sports Concussion New England
  • Assistant Professor, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Researcher, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Contact Information


Neuroscience Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Fundamentals of Neurobiology 205


Introduction to the field of neuroscience from a biological perspective. In-depth examination of fundamental concepts in neurobiology designed to introduce students to the electrophysiological, chemical and anatomical features of neurons, brain regions and brain circuits. Investigation of the neurobiological basis of behavior through exploration of topics such as neuronal communication, neuroanatomy, sensory and motor systems, learning, motivation, and behavior disorders.

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Psychology and Neuroscience of Learning 320


An exploration of theoretical and methodological questions involved in the study of learning and neural plasticity. Questions covered will include: What is learning? What are the mechanisms that support neural plasticity, and how do they contribute to learning-induced changes in behavior? How does learning change across the lifespan? Laboratory exercises will include the development of original experiments to elicit and measure learning at the behavioral and neural levels, as well as the analysis of neural data. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory.

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Nature, Nurture, and Human Behavior 332


We will explore the interaction of genetic and environmental influences on complex personality traits, cognition, and behavior (e.g., substance use, psychopathology, health, aging); implications of these influences for policy and practice (e.g., genetic counseling, gene therapy); and controversies of behavioral genetics research. Potential questions to consider: Can our genes tell us if we could be a successful business owner or athlete, or if we might be vulnerable to obesity or depression? Should people with a genetic predisposition to criminal behavior be punished by the legal system?

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Sensation and Perception 338


An exploration of sensory systems and perceptual experiences. This course will address how we obtain information from our physical environment and use it to create the vibrant experience of our own bodies and the world around us. An emphasis on vision, but also covering audition, somatosensation, olfaction and gustation. Topics will include methodological approaches, sensory pathways and neurobiological mechanisms, disorders, illusions and multi-sensory interactions.

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Neurobiology of Addiction 355


This course is centered on understanding the neurobiology of the “addicted brain.” Strong emphasis on the neurobiological effects of drugs of abuse, including short and longer-term changes in the brain and body that occur in response to drug use and abuse. A sampling of drugs to be discussed include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, hallucinogens and alcohol. Effectiveness of various treatment strategies will also be considered. Some discussion of the social, political and philosophical aspects of addiction to drug and non-drug substances (e.g., food compulsions and pathological gambling).

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Cellular Neurobiology 357


A study of the fundamental functions of eukaryotic cells. The interrelationships of cellular structure and function, the cell cycle, protein trafficking and cellular communication will be examined through the study of neurons, the basic unit of the nervous system. Additional topics will include specialized activities of neurons. Three hours class and three hours of laboratory.

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