Masters Programs in Neuroscience: Degree Program Overviews

Oct 26, 2019

Neuroscience is the interdisciplinary science of the nervous system, drawing from a host of fields that includes biology, chemistry, physics, linguistics, math, computer science, and philosophy.

Essential Information

Master's programs in neuroscience can provide training for students interested in continuing to a Ph.D. research program, individuals who plan to go into the industry, or health professionals who are seeking to expand their expertise in the field. Depending on career goals and educational interests, students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks within master's degree programs. Admission to master's programs in neuroscience requires at least an undergraduate science degree, preferably in physical, behavioral, or biological science. Undergraduates must also have undergraduate experience in biology, chemistry, math, physics, and sometimes neuroscience.

Master's Degree in Neuroscience

A neuroscience degree program includes elements of biology, statistics, physiology, and pharmacology. The curricula are lab-intensive, helping students develop their analytical science skills in addition to their general competence in neuroscience and its sub-areas. Those who choose a thesis track conduct independent research in a particular subfield of interest. Areas of concentration may include neuropsychiatric disorders, developmental neurosciences, and synaptic transmission. Common course topics include:

  • Neurophysiology and neurobiology
  • Language and the brain
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Physiology and anatomy
  • Biostatistics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's programs in neuroscience tend to have career opportunities in diverse areas, such as special education, pharmacology, physical therapy, linguistics, and drug rehabilitation. Possible job titles include:

  • Neurobiologist or neurochemist
  • Neuropharmacologist
  • Neuroradiologist
  • Electroneurodiagnostic technician
  • Research associate

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies neuroscientists among medical scientists. Although a Ph.D. may be necessary for a top lab job, lower-level lab positions are often available for master's degree-holders. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all medical scientists, not including epidemiologists, was $84,810. Job opportunities for these professionals are expected to increase by 8% from 2018 to 2028.

Continuing Education Information

Upon successful completion of a master's degree program, students may apply to a neuroscience Ph.D. program. A Ph.D. in Neuroscience can tremendously broaden a graduate's career opportunities. For example, individuals with a Ph.D. may be able to teach at the college level or head their own research team.

Individuals who want to pursue advanced studies in neuroscience can enroll in a master's degree program. A master's degree in neuroscience can provide preparation for research positions, industry careers or advancement to doctoral degree programs.

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