Due to the addition of faculty member Dr. Chris Kliethermes, Drake undergraduates can now take advantage of a newly revamped neuroscience major from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The major has been re-added to the list of available majors for freshman and sophomore students this fall.
“One of the main reasons we dropped the old neuroscience program is that we needed more neuroscientist faculty members to support it,” said Dr. Steven Faux, associate professor of psychology. “We now have a faculty member in neuroscience, Dr. Chris Kliethermes. With his addition to our program we were able to put forward the newly approved and revised neuroscience major.”
The new program differs from the old one in that it now offers specifically neuroscience courses with the “NSCI” label in addition to borrowing classes from psychology, biology and pharmacy programs. Some of the main courses that contribute to the major are introduction to neuroscience (NSCI 001), advanced statistics (PSY 111), neurophysiology (BIO 176) and neuropharmacology (Pharm 119).
Several students are showing interest in the program with 23 declaring neuroscience majors after the first week of classes. The number of interested students is expected to grow a fair amount over the course of the semester and in coming years.
“Some juniors and seniors I have talked with are disappointed that the new program cannot be added to their schedule,” Dr. Faux said. “We do offer a minor that can be completed in a significantly shorter period of time and that is an option for older students.”
First-year student Meredith Moore is pursuing the new neuroscience major.
“When I visited, Dr. Faux had just gotten word that Dr. Kliethermes was hired and there was potential for a neuroscience major this fall,” Moore said. “I’ve always been interested in the field because it combines so many different disciplines — philosophy, hard sciences, reading, writing — I like how neuroscience ties it all together.”
Moore is keeping her options open for the future but is considering a future career in physical therapy or hypotherapy, or she wants to attend medical school.
“This major is great — there are a lot of options for me in the future,” Moore said.
Dr. Faux added that the major prepares students for graduate school or prepares students to pursue a career in the field.
“The neuroscience major does not need to be followed by graduate school, but the program is certainly designed to prepare students for the possibility,” he said. “It would make a good pre-med curriculum, but many students are interested in areas other than medicine.”