UI seeks approval for new neuroscience program



The University of Iowa wants to boost its academic offerings in neuroscience.

At the state Board of Regents’ meeting on June 7 in Cedar Falls, the UI requested approval for the development of a new Bachelor of Science in neuroscience. The degree will be offered through the Department of Biology and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

The interdisciplinary program would be aligned with the creation of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, which the regents approved in December 2016 after the UI was provided with a $45 million grant from the Carver Charitable Trust. The grant contributed to the UI’s For Iowa. Forever More. eight-year fundraising campaign total of $1.85 billion.

“The new neuroscience major … will provide undergraduate students with a portal to the impressive array of research opportunities, seminars, workshops, and other events sponsored by the [institute],” according to the proposal submitted to the regents.

Currently, the Biology Department offers an emphasis track in neurobiology. Associate Provost Lon Moeller said approximately 90 students are on the track, signaling enough interest to justify the creation of a major. Additionally, he said, the UI hopes that the major would encourage some UI students who leave the school to pursue the major at another institution would instead stay in the state.

“The major itself will prepare students for graduate school, medical school, careers in the academic labs,” he said. “… It should build on University of Iowa strengths in the health sciences.”

Approval of the program is expected when the regents meet in Cedar Falls on June 8.