Examine and analyze the relationships between neurobiology and psychology at the cellular, synaptic, network, behavioral and societal levels with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience

Sarah Casella, Ph.D.

Loras is the only Catholic liberal arts college in the Tri-State region that offers a major in Neuroscience. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and its interactions with other physiological systems in the body. At its core, neuroscience is a synergy of biological and psychological concepts based at the neuronal level.

The Neuroscience major at Loras College is designed to give students a broad, interdisciplinary education of the brain and nervous system while using a systems-level approach to train students in a myriad of research and clinically relevant fields.

Learn About Our Major in Neuroscience

Student Experience

Neuroscience majors engage in unique experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, including exploring neuroanatomy through dissections, interactions with community-based programs and conducting modern analytical techniques. Students enhance research skills through independent projects covering such topics as concussion symptoms, the effects of stress on time perception and the impact of social instability in mice. In addition, students benefit from interactions with the wide array of experts who are invited to speak on campus.

Loras College houses a rodent research colony to facilitate student research projects. The rodent research colony is designed to explore investigations of central nervous system functioning and also behavioral observation techniques. In addition to serving as a research resource, the rodent colony is also utilized as an educational resource to expose students to various testing paradigms in the classroom.

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The Neuroscience curriculum is designed to prepare Loras students for a multitude of careers following graduation.

The Neuroscience curriculum is designed to prepare Loras students for a multitude of careers following graduation. The majority of the required coursework comes from courses in Biology and Psychology. Students interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate education (e.g. medical school, graduate school) after leaving Loras should pay particular attention to the “recommended” courses, as many of these are prerequisites for admission to these schools. Individual admissions requirements vary, so students are encouraged to investigate these and discuss them with their advisor to make sure that they are well prepared prior to graduation.

To download a copy of the Neuroscience curriculum and a sample 4-year plan, please click here. Four-year plans are intended as a guide for students to accomplish a neuroscience degree in four years; however, classes and offerings are subject to change at any time and students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor beginning the first year, in order to meet their goals.

There are several opportunities for students to gain research experience during their time at Loras.

Students majoring in Neuroscience are required to participate in research.

Dr. Jarcho has research interests in how psychosocial stressors can influence everything from an individual’s emotional state, to their physiology, to their immune function. He is currently working with students on two main projects. The first project investigates how people respond to a simulated social rejection event. In this project we are interested in how people respond, both emotionally and physiologically, to being excluded from a group. The second project is using a mouse model to investigate how social instability influences anxiety-like behavior, stress physiology and inflammatory biology. In this project female mice experience unstable social conditions. In response to this stressor, female mice are expected to experience behavioral and physiological changes. Importantly, these changes are expected to parallel those changes that individuals suffer during chronic anxiety. By investigating the changes that occur following a stressful event, we hope to discover patterns that may be used in the prevention and treatment of patients suffering from general anxiety disorder (GAD) and other anxiety disorders.

Participation in research does not necessarily need to happen on campus, and students are encouraged to pursue opportunities elsewhere as well. The National Science Foundation offers several summer research experiences for undergraduates at various colleges and universities throughout the country. There are also research opportunities through the National Institutes of Health that offer unique research experiences to undergraduates. In addition to the opportunities at NSF and NIH, the Neuroscience faculty is working to establish and develop relationships with researchers at other colleges and universities in order to facilitate Loras students’ participation in research.

Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes – Neuroscience 
1. Students will be able to identify core concepts of neuroscience.
2. Students will interpret, evaluate, and contextualize peer-revised literature to enhance understanding of core neuroscience concepts and to independently learn new methodologies and technologies in the field of neuroscience.
3. Students will be able to apply and synthesize principles from neuroscience and other relevant disciplines to formulate hypotheses, design experiments and collect and analyze data to state a conclusion
4. Students will be able to communicate neuroscientific information in a clear, reasoned manner, both verbally and in writing, to different audiences.
5. Effectively use knowledge (skills and conceptual understanding) from neuroscience and other relevant disciplines.


View Highlighted Courses

Exploring the Brain through TBI
It is difficult to fully understand how the brain functions under completely normal working conditions. One technique used to investigate brain functioning through clinical cases where there has been trauma in a specified region of the brain. Thus, in people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) neuroscientists can locate the region of trauma and any change in functioning of the individual. This course is designed to explore the brain through various historical cases and provide a deeper understanding of neuro-functioning from resulting deficits in dissociated brain regions. Clinical cases will be provided as we travel from the frontal lobe to the temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and beyond.

Hormones and Behavior
This course will introduce students to several topics within the field of neuroendocrinology. Topics to be discussed will include the blood brain barrier, synthesis and release of neurotransmitters relevant to behavior, psychosomatic interactions, and the effects of various monoamine, peptide, and steroid hormones on sexual, reproductive, affiliative, aggressive, parental, and reward-seeking behaviors. In addition to readings from the text, students will read and discuss primary literature sources from work with both human and non-human models. Laboratory work will teach students several research skills and laboratory techniques including study design, behavioral observation and scoring, blood sampling, processing and storage, and data set management.

Neuropsychiatric Diseases
This course will explore how translational research applies neuroscience knowledge to inform, prevent, treat, and cure brain diseases. Some topics will include the role of the blood brain barrier in preventing disease, the role of both central and peripheral cytokines in the manifestation of psychiatric disorders, how genetic and environmental factors influence susceptibility to psychiatric conditions, and several psychiatric conditions including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s Diseases, anxious and depressive disorders, and multiple sclerosis.

Functional Neuroanatomy
We will study the topography, functional distribution of nerve cell bodies, and ascending and descending tracts in the spinal cord. Brainstem organization and functional components will be covered, to include cranial nerve nuclei, ascending/descending pathways, structure and information flow in the cerebellar and vestibular systems. Once we have identified all of the functional units of the nervous system, we will continue with how these various pieces and parts work together: motor and sensory systems, cortical versus cerebellar systems, and their functional integration.

Techniques in Neuroscience
This course will introduce students to techniques relevant to the field of neuroscience, both in terms of the theory that describes the techniques and in terms of practicing the techniques with biological samples. Students will read and discuss primary literature sources from work with both human and non-human models. Extensive laboratory work will teach students laboratory techniques that may include sterile technique, radioimmunoassay, and enzyme immunoassay.

View Neuroscience Courses

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major or minor in Neuroscience. 

Degree Requirements

Division of Teacher Education & Behavioral Sciences
Julia S. Omarzu, Ph.D., Chair

Major Requirements for Neuroscience (B.S.)  
Minor Requirements for Neuroscience

Related Majors & Minors
Kinesiology, B.A.
Psychology, B.A.
Psychology Minor
Biology, B.S.
Biology Minor

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Neuroscience degree?”

Neuroscience is a growing and highly competitive field. Students leaving Loras College with a Neuroscience degree are well suited to join this field and add to society’s growing knowledge of the inner workings of the human body. Those interested in pursuing specialized training will leave campus well prepared for graduate or medical school in several related disciplines. A Neuroscience degree from Loras College can open the door to a career in any of a number of scientific or medical professions.

  • Laboratory Technician
  • Scientific Educator at Neurological Foundations
  • Pharmaceutical Research Scientists
  • Neurological Foundation Specialists

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.