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Neuroscience undergraduate program coming to SUNY Brockport in fall 2021

Smith Hall is currently the home of many of SUNY Brockport’s science majors and will host a new neuroscience major in the fall. (Photo credit: Connor Zerniak)

By Connor Zerniak / Contributing Writer

SUNY Brockport is going to offer a new neuroscience undergraduate program starting in the fall 2021 semester. The program will include courses from the departments of psychology, chemistry and biochemistry and biology.

Due to high student interest at school open houses, faculty from these departments decided to try to introduce the program to the college. 

According to Markus Hoffman, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the program has been in the works for years.  

“It was fall 2015 when the plan for the neuroscience program was starting to be conceived,” Hoffman said. The discussions for the program began in the fall 2015 semester and at the time, there was actually no programs like this in the SUNY systemThe program had to go through a vetting process with SUNY and it took much longer than expected. It finally got approved this past fall.”  

By combining curriculum from the three departments, the college is able to offer a new, unique program 

“The focus these days across colleges are interdisciplinary programs built from existing programs because that is the cheaper way of doing it rather than trying to find new space and faculty,” Rey Sia, assistant dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said. “If you already have things in place and you can put together a good program with the components that are already there, it’s more cost-effective.”  

This program will also let students be able to study different fields of interest they may have under one program.  

“Because neuroscience by definition is interdisciplinary, students that come from different backgrounds will have interest,” Amanda Lipko-Speed, chair of the department of psychology, said. “Psychology majors may want to do a psychology major, but they may have a very vested interest in the brain and may want to learn more about it from a different perspective, so they may decide to double-major in neuroscience.”  

Advisors for the program will include the three department chairs, as well as additional faculty from each of the departments.  

James Witnauer, an associate professor with the department of psychology and part of the advisory board for the neuroscience program, is excited to see the program be started up 

Neuroscience is a growing field and there is a real need for these programs in the area,” Witnauer said. Brockport is going to stand out in the Western New York area for having a neuroscience programWe think that students are going to be very well-served by it and undergraduate training in neuroscience is a path to careers in medicine, careers in academic neuroscience, and to research on artificial intelligence.” 

To learn more about the neuroscience undergraduate program coming in the Fall 2021 semester, you can visit the neuroscience webpage.  

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