25 Best Colleges for Neuroscience 2020
The 25 best neuroscience degree programs based on alumni earnings in the first year after graduation are listed below. Harvard University ranks number one with a median salary of $45,100, followed by Dartmouth College and Columbia University. Brigham Young University has the lowest median student debt of the ranked schools, at $9,152.
Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Debt||Median Salary|
|#1||Harvard University Cambridge (MA)||Cambridge (MA)||$51,925||Not Reported||$45,100|
|#2||Dartmouth College Hanover (NH)||Hanover (NH)||$57,638||$12,955||$42,200|
|#3||Columbia University in the City of New York New York (NY)||New York (NY)||$61,788||$27,000||$40,300|
|#4||Duke University Durham (NC)||Durham (NC)||$58,031||$9,300||$39,900|
|#5||Northeastern University Burlington (MA)||Burlington (MA)||$53,506||$25,399||$37,600|
|#6||Brown University Providence (RI)||Providence (RI)||$58,404||$14,339||$36,900|
|#7||University of California-Santa Cruz Santa Cruz (CA)||Santa Cruz (CA)||$43,745||$22,417||$36,700|
|#8||Boston University Boston (MA)||Boston (MA)||$55,892||$27,000||$35,700|
|#9||Brigham Young University Provo (UT)||Provo (UT)||$5,790||$9,152||$35,300|
|#10||University of San Diego San Diego (CA)||San Diego (CA)||$51,186||$25,899||$34,700|
|#11||George Mason University Fairfax (VA)||Fairfax (VA)||$36,024||$17,375||$33,500|
|#12||University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia (PA)||Philadelphia (PA)||$57,770||$22,350||$33,500|
|#13||University of Washington - Seattle Seattle (WA)||Seattle (WA)||$38,166||$12,890||$33,300|
|#14||Brandeis University Waltham (MA)||Waltham (MA)||$57,561||$26,582||$33,300|
|#15||Temple University Philadelphia (PA)||Philadelphia (PA)||$29,882||$25,000||$32,800|
|#16||Johns Hopkins University Baltimore (MD)||Baltimore (MD)||$55,350||$15,224||$32,600|
|#17||New York University New York (NY)||New York (NY)||$53,308||$24,250||$32,400|
|#18||University of Colorado Boulder Boulder (CO)||Boulder (CO)||$38,318||$18,250||$32,300|
|#19||University of Vermont Burlington (VT)||Burlington (VT)||$43,690||$26,486||$32,200|
|#20||Smith College Northampton (MA)||Northampton (MA)||$54,224||$19,000||$32,000|
|#21||Colgate University Hamilton (NY)||Hamilton (NY)||$58,045||$17,125||$31,600|
|#22||University of California-Davis Davis (CA)||Davis (CA)||$44,249||$15,000||$31,500|
|#23||University of California-San Diego La Jolla (CA)||La Jolla (CA)||$44,169||$19,000||$31,000|
|#24||Tulane University New Orleans (LA)||New Orleans (LA)||$56,800||$19,830||$31,000|
|#25||University of New Hampshire-Main Campus Durham (NH)||Durham (NH)||$35,409||$27,000||$30,600|
2020 Best Colleges Highlights
Learn more about the top colleges for a Bachelor's in Neuroscience degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience through the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Undergraduates will study human brain processes and development while researching the possible causes of neurological disorders such as autism or Alzheimer’s. A background in neuroscience can lead to a number of possible careers, including positions in health, biotechnology, business, government, and academia.
Foundational courses include introductory computational neuroscience, animal behavior, and cellular basis of neuronal function. Students, no matter their experience, can participate in research laboratories. Three tracks are offered within the major: mind, brain, behavior (MBB); neurobiology; and computational neuro. The MBB track has a mandatory honors thesis and is the most interdisciplinary option of the three tracks.
Undergraduates can access career services, advising, and study abroad opportunities. Nearby Boston is home to a large selection of medical and academic institutions, with limitless options for internships and research across the city. Students can apply for research funding, and once they are in their junior year they can receive academic credit for completing lab-based research.
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, offers a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. Senior-level students and those who qualify academically may pursue an honors thesis as part of their degree. Dartmouth students can take advantage of study abroad programs and internship opportunities, or they may pursue a part-time job or engage in community service.
Undergraduate neuroscience majors are required to take six prerequisite courses, four core courses, four elective courses, and one culminating experience. Prerequisite courses include physics, chemistry, and calculus. Elective options cover computer science, mathematics, molecular biology, and more; these course areas are meant to enable students to adapt their degree to their specific career goals. The culminating experience includes either a research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor or completion of an upper-level seminar that emphasizes neuroscience. Students, especially those interested in pursuing advanced academic study after graduation, are encouraged to work with faculty-led research projects.
New York City’s Ivy League institution, Columbia University, offers a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Behavior. The degree is a combined effort between the Department of Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences. The co-sponsored degree requires 10 courses — 5 in biology and 5 in psychology. Students have a large variety of courses from which to choose, with dozens of biology options like virology and genetics. Psychology classes combine cognitive study and some options in the field of statistics. Students must also take one advanced psychology seminar.
Columbia University is a leading institution in research. Students can take advantage of collaborative projects with faculty who undertake a variety of neuroscience projects. Some current research includes single-molecule mechanics, serotonin receptors, and neural imaging data. Undergraduates have access to study abroad options and should meet with advisors about the specifics of their desired degree. Students also have an opportunity to take classes at Barnard College and apply for honors in their sophomore year.
Duke University has a highly regarded undergraduate neuroscience program through the Trinity College of Arts and Science. The Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience requires 10 neuroscience courses and 7 co-requisites. The co-requisites provide students with dozens of options in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics. Of the 10 neuroscience courses, 5 of them are foundational courses, including one gateway class called Biological Basis of Behavior. Students are also required to take a methods or laboratory course to prepare them for future research.
Elective courses include independent research and high-level seminars. Duke undergraduates can apply for research assistantships, internships, and relevant summer job opportunities. Students also have access to academic advising through the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and global study abroad opportunities. Student organizations include the Neuroscience Majors’ Union, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Honor Society in Psychology.
The Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience through Northeastern University (NU) focuses on the biological foundations of human and animal behavior. Students will be introduced to a foundation in biology and psychology, with an emphasis on mathematics and physical sciences. Undergraduates have a range of possible electives to augment their degrees. All Northeastern undergraduates are required to complete a minimum of 128 semester hours. No matter the degree, NU students must complete core competencies set by the school, including writing requirements and engaging with diversity.
There is an expansive list of academic courses available for neuroscience majors. Some classes include animal behavior, behavioral genetics, and multidisciplinary approaches in motor control. Juniors and seniors can complete an honors project. Students are required to take at least one laboratory or experiential course, including an internship or research option. Students must also take an advanced elective in psychology and biology as well as complete a capstone experience.