Biopsychology (also known as biological psychology or behavioral neuroscience) is an interdepartmental major for the study of the biological and physiological foundations of emotional, mental, and behavioral systems. Students will study the links between biology, chemistry, and psychology, especially those involving the central nervous system at the cellular and structural level. Biopsychology students explore the intricacies of brain circuitry, learning how neurons and neurotransmitters contribute to normal and abnormal behavior. With this foundation, students can begin pursuing expertise in a variety of areas – studying the brain from a chemical, cellular, genetic, developmental, behavioral, cognitive, or social behavior perspective. This is an attempt to isolate our “nature” (our biology and genetic make-up) from our “nurture” (our environmental conditioning) so that we can better understand the roles that nature and nurture each play in the formation of our behavioral patterns.
Our faith-based biopsychology degree program is designed to engage the area of neuroscience with a Christian critique, discernment and dialogue, thereby advancing MACU’s mission of training students to be used by God to engage and transform modern culture. The current academic climate in the biopsychology field is strongly reflective of evolutionary and reductionist philosophy, which claims a naturalistic explanation for all biological and behavioral phenomena. At MACU, we want to join the conversation and bring the reality of a creator God to bear on the explanations of mind and body.
If you are interested in the biological basis of human and animal behavior, and underlying psychological processes, such as learning, memory, perception, attention, motivation, emotion, and cognition, then you are well suited for the versatility of a degree in biopsychology.
Students successfully completing the Biopsychology major will:
- Acquire basic foundational knowledge of Biology and Psychology programs and, depending on the selection of electives, be prepared to go on to graduate studies in Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Ecology, or other related disciplines.
- Cultivate the critical thinking and research methods necessary to develop, test, and evaluate hypotheses using the scientific method.
- Develop a variety of marketable skills including laboratory techniques, Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) proficiency, American Psychological Association (APA) style report writing, collaborative problem solving, and public speaking and presenting abilities.
- Understand the bio-psychosocial behavioral model as it applies to human behavior, including perception, learning, hunger, reproduction, drug addiction, language, and emotions.
- Comprehend the study of animal behavior as a means for understanding human behavior, and as a tool for behavioral ecologists, wildlife managers, and domestic animal caregivers.
- Articulate how faith connects to Biology and Pscyhology and to potential career options in either discipline.