BS/MS Requirements

Students who wish to apply for the BS/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 3 credits of undergraduate research
  • Completion of the neuroscience sequence as well as the mathematics and science courses required for the BS

Students in the BS/MS program must complete all requirements for the BS 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:

  • Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience (6 credits)
  • Final Spring Semester Courses (12 credits): Degree requirements include 9 credits of additional advanced coursework (300 level or higher). At least 3 credits must be at the 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 1-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. BS/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 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 2 months, so that the amount of work will be equivalent to the 4-paper option.

Grading

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.

Commencement

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 three 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 BS/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 defense panel evaluates the written report and oral presentation. Passing performance as judged by the panel is required for the MS degree.

Awarding of the MS Degree

Students admitted to the BS/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 BS/MS commencement project course.

A student who does not receive a satisfactory grade for the BS/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 BS have been fulfilled.

Students must submit a completed application for graduation during their final fall semester.