Career outlook

A degree in neuroscience

Many students major in neuroscience to prepare for advanced degree programs across a wide range of life science and health-related fields, including graduate training programs, medicine, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, veterinary medicine, and physical therapy.

The breadth of neuroscience as a discipline opens up additional avenues for students depending on their own unique interests and curricular pathways, including industry and sales (especially in pharmaceuticals and health-related fields), advertising, education, and work with government agencies, especially those focused on public health issues. Neuroscience is also becoming influential in disciplines such as philosophy, economics, and law, as evidenced by the development of new sub-fields in neuroscience such as neuroethics, neuroeconomics, and neurolaw. For a good overview of what one can do with a neuroscience degree, visit Boston University's "Life After College" site for neuroscience.

Transferable skills

A neuroscience degree offers:

  • Critical thinking skills; analysis and problem solving
  • Self-management and work habits
  • Written and oral communication; data presentation
  • Leadership and teamwork

Some careers in neuroscience

Career Median salary Market growth
Pharmaceutical sales $79,680 5% to 9%
Lab technician $44,500 10% to 14%
Public relations and advocacy $114,800 10% to 14%
Advertising/marketing $117,130 5% to 9%
High school science teacher $58,600 5% to 9%
Physical therapist* $87,930 15% +
Medical doctor* $201,100 10% to 14%
Optometrist* $111,790 15% +
Medical scientist* $84,810 10% to 14%
Pharmacist* $126,120 5% to 9%
Professor* $82,550 15% +

* Requires an advanced degree

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

Maximzing the power of your degree

  • When choosing a minor, be thoughtful on how that course of work can help you gain additional skills or broaden your exposure to other disciplines in a way that enhances your overall portfolio. See a list of minors that pair well with a neuroscience major.
  • Engage in research under a university faculty member. These are incredible learning experiences that also look great on a résumé. Internships and related work experiences are also valuable in furthering your education.
  • Participate in student organizations. Become a campus leader.
  • As with most degree programs, the more practical experience that you obtain, the more likely it is that you will get a job in your field. Therefore, we recommend that students who do not intend to go to graduate or professional school seek out additional opportunities such as internships, part-time jobs, and volunteering that will strategically position them for a neuroscience-related career.

Graduate study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Academics and research: Ph.D.
  • Medicine: M.D. or D.O.
  • Nursing: MSN, DNP, Ph.D.
  • Veterinary medicine: DVM
  • Law: J.D.
  • Physical or occupational therapy: MPT, DPT, MOT, OTD

Some famous neuroscientists