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Programs / Science / Neuroscience and Mental Health

Program Summary

Neuroscience is a new, exciting, and rapidly expanding scientific discipline that aims to understand how physical processes in our brains underlie complex functions such as movement, sensation, memory, emotion, consciousness and thought. Faculty and students in Neuroscience are particularly interested in how diseases that affect the brain lead to mental health problems, with the focus of our research including depression, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and concussion. Our research, like our academic programs, integrates information from many disciplines including medicine, molecular biology, psychology, immunology, genetics, chemistry and epidemiology.

Neuroscience and Mental Health is Canada’s first undergraduate degree program to be run by a Neuroscience Department. The program offers flexibility of course selection for students, including opportunities for students to pursue a wide range of minors.

Neuroscience and Mental Health can be taken as an Honours, Major, General or Minor program. Neuroscience (Combined Honours) is also available for students wanting more emphasis on advanced biology courses.

World-class faculty

As a student in Carleton University’s Department of Neuroscience, you will be studying with first-class Canadian behavioural and cellular neuroscientists who currently receive over $2 million in external research funding per year. Our faculty includes two prestigious Canada Research Chairs, as well as other faculty members who run highly successful research programs and are committed to teaching excellence. Carleton professors are internationally recognized for their expertise. *deleted extensive list of professors and their research interests*

Prime laboratory facilities and equipment

The Department is located in the University’s Life Sciences Research Building, where state-of-the-art facilities for light and confocal microscopy, histology, neurochemistry, behavioural analysis, electrophysiology and genomic analysis are located. Animal behaviour can also be studied here, and there are laboratories for human research related to a flourishing relationship between neuroscience and health psychology.

As a Neuroscience or Neuroscience and Mental Health student, you will benefit from access to the larger community of neuroscientists with active research groups at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Civic and General campuses), the University of Ottawa’s Departments of Psychology and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Health Canada and the National Research Council Canada. You will also have access to the research resources of the Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI).

Bachelor of Science (Honours, Major, General) in Neuroscience and Mental Health

Neuroscience and Mental Health is offered by the Department of Neuroscience and can be taken as an Honours, Major or General program. This program offers you considerable flexibility for course selection, including opportunities in the Honours and Major programs to pursue an exceptionally wide range of minors.

Core courses

Your first year of neuroscience studies is composed of basic science courses, including mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. You will also take an introductory course in psychology. As you progress in the program, you will take more specialized courses, including required courses in cell physiology and biochemistry, biological psychology, animal physiology and the Honours seminar in Neuroscience.

Electives

You can choose your optional courses from areas of special interest, such as cell biology, drugs and behaviour, animal behaviour and sensory processes.

Research project

In addition to your course work, you will be responsible for a major independent research project conducted in a faculty member’s laboratory in your final year. Working closely with the faculty member, you will have the opportunity to play an active role in the exciting process of research and discovery. You will graduate with valuable hands-on laboratory experience, as well as a defined area of expertise.

First-year experience

Carleton introduces you to issues of contemporary science in Seminar in Science (NSCI 1000), a first-year seminar course. You will attend six special lectures given by prominent Canadian researchers, as well as small group seminars led by a professor who acts as both your mentor and teacher.

Through assignments, presentations and discussions, you will develop the analytical and communication skills needed for success in the world of science.

The workplace

A Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health will provide you with the basic knowledge and experience for a wide range of employment opportunities. Many of our Neuroscience students have found careers as teachers, as researchers in a wide range of government, industrial and medical laboratories, as project officers in the Canadian International Development Agency, and in publishing, advertising, marketing, sales and private business consultancies.

Graduate studies

Graduates of our program are well qualified to go on to graduate studies not only in neuroscience but in a variety of related fields including biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology and chemistry. If you think that you may wish to pursue an advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early to ensure that your program meets the relevant requirements.

Professional programs

Many professional programs, including medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, encourage well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply. Neuroscience and Mental Health provides a strong foundation for such programs, and you are encouraged to pursue interests you may have in these fields after completing an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience.

What students are saying about Neuroscience and Mental Health


Studying neuroscience at Carleton University has been a unique and rewarding challenge. Small class sizes allow for discussion and debate of current issues in the field and plenty of one-on-one time with the dedicated and talented faculty. The program offers a wide selection of courses delving into all areas in the field: genetics, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and psychology. For undergraduate students looking to pursue graduate work, Carleton has a state-of-the-art research facility which is always open to volunteers and new students. This program and the research I have conducted at Carleton have been a life changing and fulfilling experience!
Sarah Peters, Neuroscience student