New neuroscience program at Eastern Michigan University shows rapid growth

Established in 2016, program has drawn highly capable students who are targeting a wide variety of fields after experiencing program’s rigorous, interdisciplinary training

A brain scan image

YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University program in neuroscience has experienced rapid growth and strong student interest since the program’s launch in the fall of 2016.

From an initial enrollment of 17 students, the program has grown to 92 students this past fall, an increase of more than 400 percent. The past fall semester, the program graduated 18 students after marking a milestone with its first three graduates the previous academic year. 

The interdisciplinary neuroscience program (biology, chemistry and psychology) is an undergraduate degree program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Neuroscience is a dynamic interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the nervous system’s structure, function and role in behavior and neurological diseases.

The program provides an integrated and diverse education that cannot be achieved within any single discipline. State-of-the-art lecture and hands-on lab courses infuse cutting edge research methods, approaches and techniques directly into the curriculum. Students learn to use scientific inquiry to creatively answer contemporary neuroscience questions, as well as propose and present new experimental approaches to specific questions.

“Since its beginning, the NSCI program has served as an exemplar of a new and challenging program that benefits students in a highly important and fulfilling area of study,” said Renee Lajiness-O’Neill a professor of psychology who serves as co-director of the program along with Hedeel Evans, a professor of chemistry. “This is a competitive program, both locally and nationally, that brings high-quality students to Eastern.”

Evans said, “Through challenging coursework coupled with rigorous research training in all areas of neuroscience, the NSCI faculty are committed to serve our students – who come from diverse personal, scientific, and cultural backgrounds – to increase both their competency and competitiveness in the work place.”

The most recent program graduates are pursuing a wide variety of fields, including occupational and physical therapy, master’s degrees in areas such as biology, chemistry and psychology, medical school and other medically related fields. Students within the program have pursued research projects and helped author papers.

Students also benefit from the program’s collaboration with the St. Joseph Mercy Health Care System, including exposure to areas of study such as electroencephalography (EEG) and sleep medicine, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neuropsychology and speech and language pathology. 

To accommodate current students and prepare for program expansion, Eastern is investing $1.4 million as part of its 2018-19 capital budget for renovations to the fifth floor of the Science Complex.

The space houses labs for the Neuroscience and Fermentation Science programs. Neuroscience plans include an animal behavior/psychophysics lab, a neuroscience wet lab, a neurophysiology dry lab, and an EEG lab. Construction will begin this (Winter 2019) semester and be completed for the start of the Fall 2019 semester.

Visit the Neuroscience program website to learn more about the curriculum, faculty members and career paths for graduates.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

January 09, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom