Dr Germ: is neuro the new bio? 


Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Shannon Christian, Staff Reporter

For students aspiring to follow the pre-medicine track, and attend medical school to earn their doctorate, there are a few majors that retain popularity within these areas of scientific study, allowing for students to earn medicine-oriented prerequisites. Among these popular majors for undergraduate studies are biology, psychology, and neuroscience: all fit for the pre-medicine track. In recent years, many students going to medical school have majored in neuroscience, as opposed to biology, which is a major area of study within medicine. 

Both majors of study, biology and neuroscience fall under Bachelors of Science, however, biology provides a broader base of study, including classes incorporating human study as well as plant and chemical study. Neuroscience, on the other hand, focuses mainly on the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, including their conductivity of messages within the body. Neuroscience allows for more niche and specific study: this can connect to social science such as psychology, looking at the effects of the human nervous system on one’s behavior, or in a more clinical sense, how one’s nervous system affects other bodily functions. The ability to have more targeted areas of study and the opportunity to narrow into a focus for research can be indicative of why the major has become more popular, and why one might choose it over biology. 

Neuroscience majors who follow the pre-medicine track can pursue a career in neurology, or in another medical career, but outside of medicine, a neuroscience degree can be useful in the research sector, branching out into psychiatry, or even in the management of technology. A biology degree, on the other hand, is mainly useful in the medical field but can be used to enter the educational field as a teacher, or professor with additional schooling. The versatility of neuroscience as not only a clinical major of study, but a social and life science major also serves as a draw for students who are unaware of their likelihood of attending medical school and pursuing a career in the medical field. 

Biology in no means has disappeared as an area of interest in students, as it still ranks as the 7th popular major in the nation, neuroscience being the 65th. This accounts for non-medical majors as well, so in terms of pre-medicine tracks, the prevalence of neuroscience is greater. In conversation with peers, however, I’ve noticed that most people that I have talked to are planning on majoring in neuroscience if they’re pursuing a career in medicine. When my sister began college four years ago, most students entering the pre-medicine track chose biology as their major, including her. 

In addition to the versatility and novelty of neuroscience, a contributing factor to its rise in popularity can also be attributed to medical school applications and the desire for students to stand out. While in previous years, many students may have studied biology, with more schools offering neuroscience programs, more students might have gravitated towards it as it was a different area of study still within the realms of medicine. 


As a student who will start studying neuroscience this fall, I definitely believe that it is a growing area of study that is gaining more traction in terms of research recognition, and in terms of opportunities for students. While biology may allow for flexibility for students to learn about medical science in a broad sense, neuroscience may be more preferable for those who find interest in brain and behavioral sciences, seeking a more streamlined and targeted approach to undergraduate studies.