Are you wondering how thoughts and emotions arise in the nerve cells in the brain? Do you want to use a wide range of methods from the natural sciences to investigate how the brain works, and what goes wrong when disease occurs? If so, NTNU's interdisciplinary MSc in Neuroscience is the right choice for you.
Why study Neuroscience?
One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to understand how mental activity arises in the brain. What is the neural basis for psychological phenomena like thoughts, emotions, ideas, memories and problem-solving? These questions have interested humans for thousands of years, but the methods and technologies necessary to be able to provide the answers have only evolved during the last few decades. Neuroscience technology is developing rapidly, and progress in gene technology, electronics and data processing now allows researchers to relate microscopic activity in individual cells and cell populations directly to mental activity and disease.
This development not only lays the foundation for a better understanding of human cognition, but also contributes to preventing and treating diseases of the nervous system. Disorders of the nervous system are among the most common reasons for hospitalization in Norway. About 30 percent of the population will be struck by some disturbance in the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, schizophrenia, depression, multiple sclerosis or chronic pain disorders. As many of these disorders are age-related, the number of affected individuals will increase due to the rising proportion of elderly people in the population.
About the programme of study
Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary research field, including disciplines such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics and psychology. Neuroscientific problems and hypotheses are explored in different research groups at NTNU, through studies of humans, animal models and biochemical systems. This is also reflected in the wide range of available master's thesis projects.
The international MSc programme in Neuroscience at NTNU is the first of its kind in Norway, and it offers a comprehensive and coherent graduate education in Neuroscience. The programme is the result of cooperation between the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Information Technology, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management. It is embedded in strong research programmes in Neuroscience, as for example the Norwegian Centre of Excellence on Neural Computation and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience. In addition, the MSc programme builds on strong clinical research into major neurological and psychiatric disorders, for instance the Norwegian National Headache Centre.
Neuroscience in Norway
Norwegian neuroscience has a long and distinguished history dating back to Fridtjof Nansen, whose early work anticipated Cajal's discovery of neurons as the elementary units of the nervous system. Although Nansen quit neuroscience, his colleague Gustav Adolph Guldberg established the Institute of Anatomy in Oslo, and eventually the Oslo environment turned into the place to be for scientists interested in the wiring and the firing of the brain and talented students were attracted from all corners of the world. More recently, pupils from the Oslo school, May-Britt and Edvard Moser (the Nobel laureates of 2014) were instrumental to boost Neuroscience at the Norwegian University for Science and technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.