Hands-on learning emphasizes the knowledge and skills that are gained through “hands-on” experiences beyond the traditional classroom format. Opportunities include active participation in innovative research, volunteering with community organization, career-relevant internships, student clubs that put theory into practice, and many other kinds of activities.
Explore your interests and get practical experience that will help you decide on your academic and career direction. Undergraduates across the College of Arts and Sciences have the opportunity to take part in research teams or conduct individual research projects, as well as find opportunities for internships, study abroad programs, student groups and more.
Undergraduate Hands-On Experience: Neuroscience
Minh Nguyen is a fourth-year student majoring in the newest program in the College of Arts and Sciences: neuroscience. The major launched in Fall 2020, and it brings together faculty and courses from the biology, human physiology, and psychology departments for an interdisciplinary education on the brain and behavior.
“With the neuroscience major, you take classes from biology, psychology, and human physiology. You get to learn a bit about the behavioral aspect, you get a bit of physiology and anatomy, and you get a little bit of molecular biology, like how the neurocircuits and synapses work together,” Nguyen said. “You get a general overview of neuroscience as a field, and you’re involved in multiple departments but still working towards the field you’re interested in.”
Nguyen plans to attend medical school and adds that the neuroscience major covers all the prerequisites that medical schools may require. The neuroscience electives provide those interested in a career in academic research with the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience as an undergraduate student. From working in a neuroscience lab where you learn research and thesis writing skills, to investigating a topic on your own, students leave the neuroscience major fully prepared to go into graduate studies or a career in a range of medical and health care fields.
Emily Norquist is a third-year student majoring in neuroscience, the newest program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Norquist plans to attend medical school after graduation, and for her, the neuroscience major is exactly what she’s been looking for.
“I think it perfectly combines all the subjects I’m interested in: biology, human physiology, and psychology,” Norquist said. “Since high school I’ve been interested in learning more about the brain, so when the major opened up, I jumped at the opportunity.”
Previously a human physiology major, Norquist said the opportunity to do research in not just one, but multiple fields is why she enjoys being a neuroscience major. The major itself draws on curriculum and faculty from across the biology, human physiology, psychology, and even computer science departments. This allows students to get involved with research in any area that interests them, while still making progress towards their major.
“One of the classes I’ve really enjoyed has been cognitive neuroscience,” Norquist said. “It’s a good introduction to neuroscience as a whole. You get to read clinical reports, and you get a look into past, current, and future research. The class really shows you where this field can go, so I’m very excited for what the future holds.”
Graduate students across the College of Arts and Sciences have the opportunity to take part in hands-on opportunities such as participating in research teams or conducting individual research projects.