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Neuroscience Careers

The majority of neuroscience majors plan to further their education by attending professional schools in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy. Others go on to graduate school programs in a variety of fields (neuroscience, psychology, biology, microbiology, cellular & molecular biology, and education, to name a few). Still others obtain jobs in industry, sales, education, or with the government. There are many options!

If you need assistance with identifying career interests, learning job-search strategies, sharpening your interview techniques, or other career-related issues, contact the University of Michigan Career Center. The Career Center is a great resource for students and recent alumni. Their advisors can help with every aspect of career planning. They can also help with finding professional schools and assisting with the application process and personal statements.

Another good resource for career exploration is the NeuroJobs site (hosted by the Society for Neuroscience, the "world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system").

Information For Specific Career Paths

Expand the sections below for more information on applications, preparation, etc., for a few career path options...

Medical School

Medical school is highly competitive and the application process is quite lengthy. The following books (located in the Student Resource Center, 1140 USB) can help you with the process: Med School Confidential, The Medical School Admission Guide, Essays that will get you into Medical School, The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam. The following websites should get you started, and you can see how you compare to other graduates here.

Dental School

Many students interested in health care choose dental school because they like the autonomy and income. In the United States, the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degree. Different universities award the different degrees, but the American Dental Association has declared them equivalent. The following books (located in the Student Resource Center, 1140 USB) can help: Dental School Admissions Guide, McGraw-Hill's DAT.

Veterinary School

Veterinary schools are highly competitive and few in number. Most schools require students to learn about a wide range of species instead of specializing. Unlike medical school, internships and residency are not required.

Pharmacy School

While most pharmacists will work at a local pharmacy, some go one to work in industry, hospitals, or for government agencies. Pharmacy School Admission Requirements (located in the Student Resource Center, 1140 USB) can help you get started.

Graduate School

This is the typical route into academia. Most college and university professors and researchers will obtain a master's degree or a PhD.


Industry jobs usually involve working for a company on their ideas and products. This is typically done with a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company.

The Career Center Connector can help with job searching.

A good article on why some people choose industry instead of academia: On the Move from Academia to Industry.


The government offers a wide range of career options. A few examples would be research scientist, science advisor, policy planning, and patent examiner.


A very rewarding career is educating future scientists.  While most college professors will go the route of graduate school, elementary through high school teaching requires teacher certification.