About the Major

The brain is our most fascinating and complicated organ, and it governs the very nature of our conscious existence. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, and includes many disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and psychology. In addition, the study of neuroscience helps students to understand the interrelationships between the basic sciences and concepts in philosophy, mathematics, and computer science. 

Students Will Learn To:

  • Engage in scientific inquiries that are informed by ethical and/or socio-cultural perspectives
  • Communicate ideas effectively and concisely 
  • Integrate scientific literature to develop neuroscientific research questions
  • Apply appropriate scientific methods to address neuroscientific research questions 
  • Demonstrate an interdisciplinary understanding of the nervous system

A Sampling of Courses

neuroscience research

Sensation and Perception

An exploration of sensory systems and perceptual experiences. This course will address how we obtain information from our physical environment and use it to create the vibrant experience of our own bodies and the world around us. An emphasis on vision, but also covering audition, somatosensation, olfaction and gustation. Topics will include methodological approaches, sensory pathways and neurobiological mechanisms, disorders, illusions and multi-sensory interactions.

Explore these select courses:

Introduction to the field of neuroscience from a biological perspective. In-depth examination of fundamental concepts in neurobiology designed to introduce students to the electrophysiological, chemical and anatomical features of neurons, brain regions and brain circuits. Investigation of the neurobiological basis of behavior through exploration of topics such as neuronal communication, neuroanatomy, sensory and motor systems, learning, motivation, and behavior disorders.

An exploration of theoretical and methodological questions involved in the study of learning and neural plasticity. Questions covered will include: What is learning? What are the mechanisms that support neural plasticity, and how do they contribute to learning-induced changes in behavior? How does learning change across the lifespan? Laboratory exercises will include the development of original experiments to elicit and measure learning at the behavioral and neural levels, as well as the analysis of neural data. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory.

A theoretical and methodological exploration of the psychological and physiological mechanisms of stress. Questions will include: How does psychological stress impact health and well-being? What neurobiological mechanisms are involved? What is the role of environmental context? Laboratory exercises will include designing original experiments to examine the role of stress on behavior and physiological activity, as well as analyzing data, writing papers based on findings, and oral and poster presentations. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory.

This course is centered on understanding the neurobiology of the "addicted brain." Strong emphasis on the neurobiological effects of drugs of abuse, including short and longer-term changes in the brain and body that occur in response to drug use and abuse. A sampling of drugs to be discussed include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, hallucinogens and alcohol. Effectiveness of various treatment strategies will also be considered. Some discussion of the social, political and philosophical aspects of addiction to drug and non-drug substances (e.g., food compulsions and pathological gambling).

Introduction to the theory and implementation of artificial intelligence. This course covers both foundational and modern approaches to AI, and explores a common thread of searching intelligently for solutions. Students will learn to select an appropriate AI representation to solve a problem and empirically analyze the performance of AI systems. Topics include heuristic search, game playing, evolutionary computation, machine learning, and the ethics of artificial intelligence. Programming Intensive.

Meet Our Faculty

Siobhan Robinson

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of Neuroscience


neurobiology of learning, memory and motivation

Vikranth Rao Bejjanki

Associate Professor of Psychology


learning and inference; functional neuroimaging; computational neuroscience; cognitive science

Rhea Datta

Assistant Professor of Biology


gene regulation; patterning and morphogenesis; transcription factors and DNA-binding; regulatory DNA; developmental genetics; molecular biology; embryology; eye development

Kelly Faig

Assistant Professor of Psychology


emotion, social stress, psychoneuroimmunology, psychophysiology, and neurogenetics

Ariel Kahrl

Assistant Professor of Biology


evolutionary biology, reproductive physiology, and herpetology

cellular neurobiology and neuroethology; measurement and detection of neurotransmitters; isolation and identification of novel chemical messengers; cellular metabolism in the nervous system

Alexandra List

Associate Professor of Psychology


cognitive neuroscience of perception and attention; experimental psychology; cognitive psychology; human neuropsychology

Abigail Myers

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology


Explore Hamilton Stories

Hamilton College students attended ABRCMS 2022

ABRCMS Conference Attendees See Science Beyond the Classroom

After two years of supporting virtual conference attendance, ROOTS — Hamilton’s Society for Students of Color in STEM — took 14 members to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Students (ABRCMS) in Anaheim, Calif. The trip, which took place from Nov. 8 to 12, came at no fee to students, thanks to funding from the Dean of Faculty’s Office and a grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Rachel white psych researchers (self-control) 2022: Rachel White (far right) and psychology students, Andrew Harrell (male), Kate Bruno (peach polka dot top), and Paige McKenzie

White’s Student Researchers Study Children’s Self-Control

“A lot of the research I do on self-control is focused on the preschool age range,” White said. “If we are going to create interventions to build children’s skills, we want to do it while the prefrontal cortex is developing the most.”

 Toscana Ogihara ’22

One Thesis. Two Students. Four Majors.

Neuroscience, Dance, Mathematics, Music. Recent graduates Toscana Ogihara ’22 and Anthony Christiana ’22 took this unlikely combination of majors and collaborated on creating an original score for Ogihara’s dance thesis.

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in neuroscience are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Researcher, National Institute for Drug Abuse
  • Medical Student, Harvard Medical School
  • Research Analyst, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch
  • Neurologist & Neuro-Oncologist, Unity Hospital
  • Science Teacher, New York City Department of Education
  • Neuropsychologist, Sports Concussion New England
  • Assistant Professor, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Researcher, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Department Name

Neuroscience Program

Contact Name

Siobhan Robinson, Program Director

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

The $400 million campaign marked the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the College's history.

More About the Campaign's Success

Site Search