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Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

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Neuroscience > BA/MS > Requirements


Students who wish to apply for the BA/MS program in their junior or senior year must meet the following minimum requirements to receive an application packet:

  • Minimum 3.5 GPA in all required courses for the undergraduate major
  • Completion of no fewer than three credits of undergraduate research
  • Completion of the neuroscience sequence as well as the mathematics and science courses required for the B

Disclaimer: Receipt of application packet does NOT grant admission to the program.

Students in the BA/MS program must complete all requirements for the BA degree in neuroscience, as well as a total of 43 credits of advanced and specialized courses to complete the MS degree. The additional requirements for the MS degree are as follows:

  • Statistics (3 credits) All students, regardless of concentration will be required to take 200.314 Advanced Statistical Methods. Students may not substitute alternative statistics courses or Advanced Placement credits for this course.
  • Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience (6 credits) The Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience is offered in the fall and spring terms.
  • Final Spring Semester Courses (12 credits) Degree requirements include 15 credits of additional advanced coursework (300 level or higher). At least 3 credits must be at 400 level or higher. Courses must be related to the study of neuroscience and ideally focused on the student’s concentration of study and area of research. Students may choose courses from the approved list of undergraduate advanced courses. In addition, up to 6 additional credits of the Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience, and/or statistics courses, graduate courses, and seminars may be taken with the approval of the Program Director.
  • Mentored Research (24 credits) During the research year, students will complete a total of 24 credits of mentored research. Students must complete 9 credits of research in a spring academic term (080.850), 6 credits in the summer (080.851), and an additional 9 credits in the fall (080.852).
  • Commencement Project (1 credit) After completing the research year, students must register for a one-credit independent study course intended to track the progress and defense of the student's final research project.

Writing Requirement

Writing is an integral part of scientific work; accordingly, one aim of the mentored research year is to train students in scientific writing. BA/MS students prepare a research proposal for admission to the program, as well as a final report in scientific journal article format.

Students are required to write 4 brief (>10 double-spaced pages) review papers in the spring and summer terms of their research year. The paper topics are selected by the student and research mentor. The papers must be related to the student’s research and, upon receiving a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade by the research mentor or designated supervisor, will be submitted to the Program Director, Jay Baraban, for additional review.

Option on the writing requirement: If the mentor wishes the review paper writing process to form the basis for two publishable review articles, select two topics. In this option, submit two installations of each article: 1) early version, and, 2) final version every two months, so that the amount of work will be equivalent to the four-paper option.


For each semester’s research work, students are assigned a grade of S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) by the research mentor. The mentor’s evaluation takes into account the student's progress on the research project and performance on the required writing assignments. The mentor’s evaluation will be sent to the Program Director, who will assign a letter grade based on the research, writing assignments and mentor’s evaluation.


The Commencement Project

The mentored research program culminates in the preparation of a written report of the research project, in the form of a scientific journal article with an enlarged introduction and discussion. This project is to be completed following the conclusion of the research year. The first written draft is to be submitted to the research mentor for review. The mentor meets with the student to discuss the content and writing, and requests revisions if necessary. This process continues until the mentor approves the report.

All revisions must be made and 3 copies of the final version submitted to the Academic Program Coordinator no later than the end of the first week in March. Papers will be distributed to a pre-selected panel of Neuroscience Faculty and Research Scientists for review. The three-person panel will consist of the student’s research mentor or designated research supervisor, the Program Director, and a third scientist whose expertise is in the area of the student’s chosen research.

During the final week in March of each year, a BA/MS project defense will be scheduled. The student’s research mentor will head the defense panel and determine the format. In most cases, the student will give a 30-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of questions from the panel and invited guests. The written report and oral presentation are evaluated by the defense panel. Passing performance as judged by the panel is required for the MS degree.

Awarding of the MS Degree

Students admitted to the BA/MS program will be awarded the MS degree when they:

  • Complete all course requirements for the degree within the required one-year time frame, and
  • Achieve satisfactory performance, as judged by the defense panel, on the final written report and oral defense of the research project completed during the research year. This will be reflected through the S/U grade assigned to the one credit BA/MS Commencement Project course.

A student who does not receive a satisfactory grade for the BA/MS Commencement Project course and/or does not meet all other degree requirements will not be awarded the MS degree, but may, nevertheless, receive a BA in neuroscience if the requirements for the BA have been fulfilled.

Students MUST submit a completed application for graduation during their last fall semester.


Eligible students (those who begin the program in their senior year only), are eligible for 50 percent tuition support for their fifth year of study. Eligible students must have a financial aid account prior to the award of the support. For mor in financing your education for the 5th year, please visit the Financial Aid website.