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Programs / Science / Neuroscience

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.

The Neuroscience Department’s state-of-the-art purpose-built research and teaching labs are to be housed in Carleton’s new Health Sciences building, opening in 2017.

Neuroscience is available as a Combined Honours program between the Departments of Neuroscience and Biology.

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 (Combined Honours) and Neuroscience and Mental Health (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 (Combined Honours) in Neuroscience

The Neuroscience (Combined Honours) program is offered jointly between the Departments of Biology and Neuroscience. While less flexible than the Neuroscience and Mental Health program, the Combined Honours program is aimed at students interested in a greater emphasis on core Biology courses and lab-based courses.

Core courses

Your first year of neuroscience studies is composed of basic science courses, including biology, chemistry and physics. You will also take introductory courses in both neuroscience and psychology.

As you progress in the program, you will take more specialized courses, including required courses that focus on core concepts in neuroscience and psychopharmacology. You will also be able to select from a wide range of optional neuroscience courses, including courses on consciousness, sex and the brain, addictions, immune-brain interactions, stress and mental health, environmental toxins and mental health, neurodegeneration and aging, or neurodevelopmental determinants of mental health.

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 or Neuroscience and Mental Health 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


I couldn’t have asked for a better undergraduate experience. Studying neuroscience at Carleton University was challenging, but prepared me well to continue my education in medicine. With interesting courses taught by supportive professors who are top in their fields, this program has been both enjoyable and rewarding. Even outside the classroom, it was easy to get involved in some of the research being conducted at Carleton. If you’re interested in continuing in science, and have an interest in neuroscience, I highly recommend this program!
Eric Nelson, Neuroscience student