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Is it worth it to double major in psychology and neuroscience?

Right now, I've declared my major as Psychology (B.S.) and I'm thinking about adding a Neuroscience major. I'm very interested in the biological basis of behavior, down to a cellular/molecular level. However, I know it would take a lot of effort, time and money to declare an additional major. Will I have an advantage if I double major in both for graduate school and for my future careers? Or, am I simply overworking myself? #psychology #college #major #neuroscience #graduateschool #employment #college-major

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Tracy’s Answer

Hello Kate,

I think combining psychology and neuroscience is a great mix of information because when you begin to learn about the brain especially the frontal lobe which is considered the emotional control center that " involves the motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior." As psychologist you will be able to assess why the patient has mental disorders or challenges that interrupt their lives. As well as a "Neuroscientists studies the development and function of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells throughout the body. They could specialize in one part of the nervous system, such as neurotransmitters, or focus their research on specific behaviors, such as psychiatric disorders."

I think you should look at both majors and see if their are any courses that fit for both majors. When I was a biology major in college I also took psychology courses that helped me to understand characteristics of various diseases and integrated treatment protocol that assisted in a persons rehab.

Source: https://www.neuroskills.com/brain-injury/frontal-lobes.php



Good Luck !!


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G. Mark’s Answer

You're really asking at least one question that only you can answer -- are you overworking yourself. Sure, it's a lot of work. However, the question I can answer is whether it would be worth it. Something I've found extremely fascinating is how psychology can give you facts about how people think and react. Neuroscience, however, can explain how (to a degree) the brain itself operates. These two things together, to my mind, create a powerful tool and an extremely fascinating source of thought. Something I found amazing is the fact that, by experimentation, it has been proven that at least part of the time -- and I suspect it's actually all the time -- you make a decision before your conscious "mind" is actually aware of it. Because of that, what you see as your personality is actually spending much of its time rationalizing what you have already done as your "decision". The human mind is actually a vast collection of parallel processes, all working on parts of multiple problems. This is where the "aha syndrome" comes from. Your brain is working on all this stuff that allows us to accomplish such amazing things simultaneously. Why "it's like riding a bicycle" is a popular axiom. We do lots of stuff automatically. That's where neuroscience and psychology overlap so much. So I would say, "Yes, definitely, it's worth it." But only you can answer whether you would be "overloaded". Maybe that's a question for a psychologist. Or a neuroscientist. Or both :-)

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Vince’s Answer

The field of experimental psychology is definitely trending toward neuroscience so I would highly recommend it if you are interested and enjoy any neuroscience classes you've taken. All of the major research institutions in the United States have some form of it (MRI, PET, EEG). 

If you graduate with a neuroscience degree, there are opportunities for neuroscience research assistantships or research coordinator jobs at major research universities (like UMinn, NYU, WashU, Harvard, and others). It also could be ideal for applying to graduate programs in neuroscience. 

Likely, you would qualify just as much for jobs or graduate programs as you otherwise would with a B.S. Psychology, as a bachelor's degree in psych is the minimum requirement for entry-level psychology research positions. But a neuro major would allow you to take more classes on neuropsychology, which sounds like a big plus for you.

Vince recommends the following next steps:

Check with a counselor to see what courses a neuroscience major would add to your requirements

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Michael’s Answer

If you are contemplating neuro-psychology as a career, it will most likely require post-graduate studies. For now, stay with your psychology major.

1. Consider taking neuro-psychology courses or courses with such contents in your psychology curriculum. 2. Take a minor in neuroscience.