[FUN_Mail] tracks/paths within Neuro major

Deanne Buffalari buffald at westminster.edu
Sun Oct 7 11:38:45 EDT 2018

Hi all,

I'm sending along (see below) some info I've gathered for those that are interested in the idea of different "tracks" or "paths" within the Neuro major.  This is my best attempt at a summary; I have this on my long list of things I'd be interested in examining further, so some of you may hear from me in the future.  Thanks to those who responded and provided info!

Happy fall (though it's 80 degrees lately in Pennsylvania???)!!


  1.   How many use tracks - this seems fairly common.  I had about 10 people respond, and in an additional 30 minutes or online searching, I easily identified another 20 programs that use tracks in some way.  There are certainly more.
  2.  Characteristics of programs that do this:  Here, I could find no common factors.  Big universities, small colleges, schools w/med schools, various location, etc- I found schools that could fall into each of these identifying groups.
  3.  What tracks?  By far the most common is a "Cellular/Molecular" track and a "Behavioral" track.  I found this at over half of the schools I researched, and about half of respondents use some version of this.   Others exist- there were instances of Cognitive vs. Cellular, Computational vs. Cognitive vs. Bio, grad prep vs. general, etc.  But those were far less common.
  4.  Some of the reasons for tracking:  to provide more career-relevant paths through the major, to accommodate students who are pre-professional vs. not, to accommodate students with a genuine interest in Neuro that struggle with upper level Chem or Bio, to ensure depth (development in a particular area) but also breadth (requirements of taking courses "outside" the track), to acknowledge the diversity of the field and provide more concentrated prep in designated areas, to grow a major or diversify offerings to involve more faculty to support the program and provide more class offerings to students, or to try to adapt an undersupported interdisciplinary  program that has few or no Neuro-specific faculty.

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