Study Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Montana

How does the nervous system work? How does it affect our thinking processes? Earn your bachelor’s in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at UM and you’ll explore these questions in-depth, from a biological and behavioral perspective.

Our four-year neuroscience program delves into the cognitive and psychological aspects of neuroscience — an ideal option for students with a strong interest in the biological basis of how people learn and behave, and systems-level analysis.  

Our new accelerated BS/MS degree track allows you to gain an extra year of formal, advanced research training, and graduate with an advanced degree in five years.

Whichever path you choose, you’ll receive training in neuroscience techniques and research, and scientific writing — strong experiential learning experiences that prepare you to pursue graduate work in neuroscience or rewarding careers, post-graduation.


most popular major for pre-med students is neuroscience


growth rate for medical science jobs, including neuroscientists


of all 2020 graduates gained firsthand research training

Other degree options for neuroscience

What can you do with a neuroscience degree?

Your bachelor’s in cognitive neuroscience prepares you for a career in health care, academia, education, research companies, law, science writing, speech pathology and other disciplines in which scientific knowledge of the brain are key components.

Some students pursuing other biomedical majors, such as psychology, biology, biochemistry or communication sciences, further their education and career opportunities with a minor in neuroscience.

What is cognitive neuroscience?

Cognitive neuroscience is the study of the biological processes that affect human thought and cognition and how these are altered in brain injury and disease.

Neuroscience jobs

Potential careers with a neuroscience degree include:

  • Neuropsychologist
  • Neurologist
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • Health scientist administrator/Program officer
  • Laboratory or research assistant
  • Management consultant
  • Counselor or therapist
  • Social worker
  • Social service specialist
  • Youth worker

Explore more career opportunities for neuroscience majors.

Neuroscience salaries

Neuroscientists can earn an average of $91,510 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Social workers can earn $51,760 per year, while clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earn $54,180 annually. However, salaries can vary and increase considerably depending on location, skills and years of experience. 

Video: Miss Montana 2019 — A University of Montana Neuroscience Alumna

Mo Shea, who graduated in 2019 as part of our first class of neuroscience majors, looks back on her time at the University of Montana and forward to her year as Miss Montana — and beyond!

Beyond the classroom: Experiential learning in the neuroscience degree

The neuroscience program ensures real-world training through internships and research throughout the four- and five-year degree program. In fact, in the program’s two graduating classes, 80% of all graduates and 100% of 2020 graduates gained first-hand research training.

Internships in the neuroscience degree

Neuroscience majors are encouraged to participate in internships that help develop their analytical and practical skills — preparing them exceptionally well for their chosen career path. The neuroscience program and its faculty have relationships with several private-sector companies that help facilitate student internships.

Undergraduate research experiences for the bachelor’s in neuroscience

Neuroscience majors garner research experience early on, through the rigorous research techniques course. They’re also invited to take advantage of research opportunities in NIH and NSF-funded faculty labs. Those pursuing independent research opportunities in faculty labs receive exceptional mentoring and are trained on state-of-the-art instrumentation.

Career development in the neuroscience major

The UM neuroscience degree is focused on preparing students for careers in a number of fields — from medicine and science writing to law and education. Our faculty are fully vested in the success of our students, serving as mentors every step of the way. 

Networking and professional development in the neuroscience program

The Brain Initiative, the University of Montana’s campus portal and network, keeps students, faculty and staff up-to-date on neuroscience-related news, opportunities and resources. NIH-funded research centers also sponsor opportunities and events for students.

Our Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program welcomes neuroscience majors who wish to pursue a research project in the lab of a faculty member over the summer. They receive salary and supply stipend as well as training on research techniques, experimental design and communicating results.

Clubs and student organizations for neuroscience majors

The UM Neuroscience Club is formally recognized by Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) and supports social activities with faculty, peer-to-peer mentoring, and outreach to K-12 schools.

Explore classes for neuroscience

The curriculum for cognitive and behavioral neuroscience includes fundamental neurobiology/psychology core courses as well as intriguing courses such as Neural Systems of Cognition, Neuropharmacology and CNS Diseases, where faculty lectures are supplemented by guest lectures by medical clinicians. The program also features Neuroscience Research Techniques labs that include cutting-edge molecular and behavioral approaches.

View all classes for the bachelor’s degree in cognitive neuroscience.