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Augustana's major prepares students for admission to graduate programs in neuroscience and other fields related to the brain sciences.


The field of neuroscience combines the perspectives and practices of fields including psychology, biology, philosophy, chemistry and computer science, among others.

Augustana offers a major in neuroscience for students who wish to understand the biological bases of thoughts, perceptions, emotions, motivations, decisions and actions.



Careers and internships

Recently, neuroscience majors have completed research internships at Stanford University, University of Iowa, University of Colorado Denver, and University of California, San Francisco. 

Most years, neuroscience majors participate in the prestigious Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program in Houston. At the top-ranked MD Anderson Cancer Center and other
institutions in the Texas Medical Center, they work with professional mentors and peers from top schools around the country.

Students have also participated in the Denver internship program where they worked at the University of Colorado and Craig Hospital, which specializes in rehabilitation from brain and spinal cord

Recent graduates

Here's a sampling of what recent neuroscience graduates are doing:

Brittany Hatlestad ‘20 is completing a master’s degree in occupational therapy at the University of Illinois-Chicago

Josie Fioretto ' 16 is an intraoperative neurophysiologist with Nuvasive, Chicago area.

A. Ayanna Wade ‘15 earned her PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, Davis where she used genomics and bioinformatics approaches in her research. She is now a senior data scientist at App Annie where she analyzes mobile market data. 

Sarah Rothenberg ’14 is working as a Memory Care Manager where she oversees day-to-day operations of long-term care for older adults with dementia and provides education and training for staff and families. She is also pursuing her master’s degree in public health.

Doug Peters '13 is currently a postdoctoral researcher studying viral replication mechanisms after earning his PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Christopher Carter '13 completed an MA in bioethics at Indiana University and an MA in health administration at the University of Iowa. He is director of results management at SwedishAmerican, a division of UW Health, Rockford, Ill.

Eric Pease '13 received a doctorate of osteopathic medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He is resident physician fellow in psychiatry at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Research Internship Program

Cancer Center and other institutions within the Texas Medical Center. (See Augustana Magazine, "Making It Count in Texas")



Major coursework is flexible, allowing students to pursue their interests within the field. Neuroscience students often have interests in psychology, biology, chemistry, and philosophy — individually or in combination. The neuroscience major is a truly interdisciplinary experience.

The three full-time neuroscience faculty have a Ph.D. in psychology or neuroscience, with expertise and interests in the areas of learning and memory, communication, cognitive and affective neuropsychology, and sensation and perception.

Faculty from the biology, chemistry, computer sciences, communication sciences and disorders, philosophy, and religion departments also teach courses in the major. As is common in most other Augustana programs, the neuroscience major culminates in a Senior Inquiry capstone experience, which will give the students the opportunity to conduct research on or off campus.

The program director is Dr. Shara Stough.

Augustana participates in several undergraduate, graduate and professional research conferences and encourages students to present their research as part of their professional development. Neuroscience conferences include Midbrains: The Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference of the Upper Midwest, and the annual meeting of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Outside the classroom

Augustana participates in several undergraduate, graduate, and professional research conferences and encourages students to present their research as part of their professional development. Examples for neuroscientists include Midbrains: The Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference of the Upper Midwest, both the Chicago chapter and national Society for Neuroscience meetings, and the Midwest Psychological Association Conference. Augustana is also an institutional partner of IINSPIRE LSAMP, an alliance committed to broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM education in the Midwest. Funding is available to support underrepresented students who attend and present their research at the IINSPIRE LSAMP Annual Conference.

Students of neuroscience at Augustana are encouraged to apply for the prestigious Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program, as well as other high-quality internships and opportunities to conduct empirical research.


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