Introductory Neuroscience— Courses In An Evolving Concept, Teaching That Which Is Yet To Be Truly Defined

Eric P Wierelak


The mission of the introductory neuroscience course might be summarized briefly: to broadly define the field and begin the student’s investigation of the nervous system. But consider what accomplishing these goals might entail. At many institutions, the study of neuroscience is increasingly multidisciplinary, with multiple departments contributing core courses, and still others prerequisite or enhancement options for the major. “To broadly define the field” and “to begin the student’s investigation of the nervous system” calls for the instructor to reconcile content from such areas as biology, psychology, philosophy, math, computing science, chemistry and other disciplines, into (typically) a single semester course. Implicit as a goal for that same course will be to establish for the student how neuroscience as a program of study fits into a model of Liberal Arts education; a course of study that leads to the development of a broad knowledge base and structure from which the student may depend on for their lifetime to facilitate the experience, interpretation, and investigation of all manner of things.

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