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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 faculty that include two prestigious Canada Research Chairs as well as other faculty members who run highly successful research programs and are committed to teaching excellence.

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.

Prime laboratory facilities and equipment

The Department is located in the University’s Life Sciences Research Building, which houses state-of-the-art facilities for fluorescent and confocal microscopy, histology, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, genomics and the study of animal behaviour.

Co-op opportunities

Both the Neuroscience and Mental Health (Honours) and the Neuroscience (Combined Honours) programs offer students the chance to gain practical work experience and new skills through co-op employment.

Carleton’s location in Ottawa provides an excellent environment for neuroscience research and training.

The Department of Neuroscience is part of a 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 Institute of Mental Health Research, Health Canada and National Research Council Canada.

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

Neuroscience and Mental Health is the flagship program offered by the Department of Neuroscience and can be taken as an Honours, Major or General program. As a Neuroscience student, you will learn about the biochemical and cellular organization of the nervous system; the anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology of neural structures; brain systems and their relationship to behaviour; and the mechanisms involved in various neurological diseases and mental disorders. You will also have the opportunity to carry out research in neuroscience for your thesis. This program offers considerable flexibility of course selection for students, including opportunities for student in the Honours and Major programs to pursue an exceptionally wide range of minors.

Research project

In addition to your course work, qualified students will have the opportunity to undertake 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 or Neuroscience provides the basic knowledge and experience for a wide range of employment opportunities. Many of our Neuroscience students have found careers as researchers in a wide range of government, industrial and medical laboratories, as teachers, 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 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