How does our brain control movement? How do we learn new information and acquire new skills? How do we recall memories? Why do we feel sad or depressed? Neuroscience is an exciting and interdisciplinary field that explores the biological, chemical, and physical processes behind these and other complex functions performed by our brain and entire nervous system. Neuroscientists seek to understand the causes of a variety of disorders, from neurodevelopmental to neurodegenerative disorders, from brain cancer to epilepsy, and to develop biomedical treatments for them.

Official Requirements  Four-year Plan Approved Adv. Neuroscience Electives Advising Prospective Students Newly Admitted Students

As a neuroscience major, you’ll take a variety of cutting-edge courses and develop critically-important laboratory skills. We use model organisms like fruit flies, fish, and mice and we will explore cells at all levels, from the dish to cells functioning in animals. Students conduct research alongside faculty who lead pioneering programs in sensory processing, neuroendocrinology, physiology of neurons and glia, regeneration, and cell signaling with advanced techniques, such as optogenetics and neuroimaging.

Boundless opportunities


Whatever your dream—pursuing a career in industry or advancing to graduate school or professional school—you will be well-prepared. Neuroscience majors can pursue a number of careers.

  • physicians
  • scientists with pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, universities, and governmental agencies
  • therapists (physical, speech, language),
  • pharmaceutical or neurodiagnostic technicians
  • policymakers for health organizations

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Conduct research in a lab led by an MCB neuroscientist.
  • Study abroad while earning credit in advanced courses in your major. Research and physician shadowing opportunities are available.
  • Volunteer in the surrounding community, including hospitals and health clinics.
  • Be mentored by an Illinois alumnus in a field of your interest. Become a mentor to a fellow student.
  • Develop lifelong bonds with fellow students who share your passions. Illinois has many student organizations of interest to neuroscience majors.
  • Participate in internships. Attend career planning workshops.

Engaging professors & innovative courses


MCB faculty are driving transformative advances in neuroscience. They have also been recognized for their dedication and innovative approaches to teaching.

We have designed a number of new courses, such as Neurobiology of the Senses, Neurobiology of Mental Illness, Neuro and Molecular Pharmacology, and Cell & Membrane Physiology. We have also created advanced lab courses, including a neuroanatomy lab.

Visit us!

Learn more


Contact our advising team at or call us at 217-333-6774.

Visits can include one-on-one meetings with a member of the School of MCB Instructional Program team and tours of instructional spaces. We offer in-person and virtual appointments. Visits are generally scheduled during normal university business hours. Please call at least one week in advance to ensure staff availability.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions also organizes visits for prospective and admitted students. More information.