Students interested in studying neurochemistry typically need to pursue a graduate program in neuroscience and further specialize or take advantage of courses and research opportunities specifically in neurochemistry. These degree programs are available at the master's and doctoral levels, provide unique research opportunities and typically require a culminating project. Compare and contrast the master's and doctoral programs here.
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Master of Science vs. Doctor of Philosophy in Neurochemistry
Master of Science in Neuroscience
Students can pursue several different Master of Science (MS) degree programs in neuroscience and different areas of the field, like molecular and cellular neuroscience and systems, behavior and plasticity, to study neurochemistry. Students in these degree programs are often able to participate in a wide range of beneficial and unique learning experiences, such as research opportunities, conferences, seminars and journal clubs. These programs usually take about 2 years to complete, may require around 24 to 33 credit hours and typically include a thesis or final master's/research project. Students may take courses that discuss topics like neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, biostatistics, molecular biology, ethics and professional development, as well as electives in neurochemistry or other areas of neuroscience. Many graduates of these programs pursue doctoral study for further specialization and expertise, but may also work careers in public health, education, psychology, medicine, law and more.
Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience
At the doctoral level, students can earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Neuroscience or Biochemistry and Neuroscience with a concentration in neuroscience to study neurochemistry. These degree programs are very flexible in nature to allow students to take courses and electives and complete research in particular areas of interest, such as neurochemistry, with some programs even offering lab rotations before students choose a lab for their personal research. Some of these programs take 3 or more years to complete, with some averaging around 5.5 years to complete as students typically have to pass comprehensive exams and complete a dissertation. As mentioned, coursework varies, but students may take core courses in neurochemistry, molecular neuroscience, cellular signaling, cellular neurophysiology and developmental neurobiology. Graduates of these PhD programs may work as advanced researchers, postsecondary educators, neuroscience-related clinical practitioners, consultants, data managers and more.
Common Entrance Requirements
Students applying to graduate degree programs in neuroscience usually need at least a bachelor's degree and some programs may require that the degree be in fields such as biology, chemistry, neuroscience, bioengineering, public health, kinesiology or other related areas. Some programs may also require prior coursework and laboratory work in biology and chemistry and/or have a minimum GPA requirement. Most master's degree programs require students to take the GRE, but for some doctoral programs the test may be optional. For the majority of programs, students will need to submit their official transcripts and letters of recommendation with their application, but some programs may require additional materials, like a goal statement.
Neurochemistry is usually offered as a course topics and potential research area for students pursuing an MS or PhD in Neuroscience. These degree programs differ in length, but each prepare students for careers in research, education, medicine and other related fields.