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The Honors Program

Superior students with a strong research orientation are encouraged to consider the Honors Program in Neuroscience. Normally, a student will apply to enter the Honors program during the Spring semester of their Junior year and assemble a Honors Committee that will consist of the research mentor and at least two other appropriate members of the faculty. *** It is essential that the student work in conjunction with his/her faculty mentor when selecting a committee – the purpose of the committee is to provide support and guidance throughout the students research*** Entrance into, and satisfactory completion of, the Honors program requires that students maintain an overall grade point average of 3.3 and a grade point average of 3.3 in courses counting toward the Neuroscience major. Honors candidates must meet all the normal requirements for the Neuroscience major and complete a minimum of at least 6 hours of advanced research courses – NSC 3863, 3864 Advanced Research in Neuroscience or Neuroscience 4999 (Honors Research). Prospective faculty sponsors for the research component and their areas of research interest are provided in Research. The candidate must present an Honors Thesis during the final semester in residence and satisfactorily pass an oral examination by the student’s Honors Committee. Students interested in becoming Honors candidates should contact the Program Office.

Application for Admission to the Honors Program in Neuroscience

To apply for admission to the Honor’s Program, students must schedule a meeting with the DHIS and bring a completed Honors Application to be reviewed. For students graduating in the Spring semester, applications are due no later than May 15 at the end of the Junior Year. For students planning on graduation at the end of the Fall semester, applications are due no later than Dec. 1 of the year prior to graduation. The DHIS must approve the application and nominate the student for Honors to the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Science. Proposals will be evaluated based on the student’s ability to present a clear rationale for the proposed work, as well as the perceived feasibility of the project.  Preference is given to projects that utilize techniques for measuring features of the CNS. In some cases, students work with techniques or model systems that do not directly measure neural functions. In such cases, it is essential that the proposal makes clear how the work directly informs our understanding of the CNS. The final decision on admission is made by the Dean’s office. Please direct any questions to the Program Office.

NSC 4999 Honors Research: The research course specifically designated for the Honors Program is NSC 4999 Honors Research. Once admitted to the Honors Program, Honors candidates are eligible to register for Honors Research through the Neuroscience Program Office. Students must download and complete the NSC 4999 Contract, in addition to the application. Complete the contract, email it to your faculty mentor and he/she will then forward it onto the Program Office  with their approval. An email with your contract attached serves as your faculty mentor’s electronic signature. All contracts must be submitted electronically. Once your contract has been received, you will be registered for the course.

**In order to be registered on time, contracts MUST be emailed to Program Office no later than 24 hours before the end of the Open Enrollment period. ***

Requirements of NSC 4999 are similar to those of NSC 3863; however, because an important goal of the Honors Program is to engage students in the broader intellectual enterprise of neuroscience research, one additional requirement of NSC 4999 is that the student must attend and write a short summary of two neuroscience research seminars during semesters they are registered for NSC 4999. The summaries should be submitted to the Program Office  via e-mail attachment. There are a large number of these seminars offered through various Schools and Departments on campus throughout the semester. Either the faculty sponsor or the Neuroscience Program Office can provide information on the various neuroscience seminar programs on campus.

Timetable

It is expected that students will have completed NSC 3861 and NSC 3862 prior to application for admission to the Honors Program. Many students will also have taken NSC 3863 or NSC 3864.  Applications for admission to the Honors Program should be submitted no sooner than the Fall semester of the Junior year and are due no later than May 15 at the end of the Junior Year.

Fall Semester of Senior Year: NSC 4999 Honors Research. In the Fall semester, students are required to submit a written progress report to the thesis committee with a copy to the DHIS. These will be due on the last day of classes of the Fall semester. The student should also meet with each committee member for feedback on both the research and the written document. This will give the members of the Committee an opportunity to become familiar with the research project and offer any advice or suggestions.  The Progress report should include:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract (250 word limit)
  • Introduction/ Background
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results (obtained thus far)
  • Discussion (that will include a summary of research to be accomplished in the final semester)
  • List of References Cited (with complete bibliographical information)

All figures must be accompanied by a figure legend and should be embedded within the text of the report. Please consult with the faculty mentor or the Program Office if there are any questions about the format. This document should serve as an initial (if incomplete) draft of the final thesis to be completed in the following semester.

Spring Semester of the Senior Year: NSC 4999 Honors Research. The candidate should complete the research and thesis and defend the thesis in an oral exam administered by the DHIS and the student’s Thesis Committee. There is some flexibility in the honors thesis, but the expectation is a 25-35 page double-spaced document that is clearly written with relevant literature referenced. The student’s results should be clearly presented and there should be an interesting discussion of the preferred interpretation of the results. The thesis mentor will typically offer advice and suggestions, but the product is expected to come from the efforts of the student. The expectation is to email a copy of the thesis to the student’s Thesis committee and the Program Office  a week before the scheduled defense.

***A copy of the written thesis MUST be turned in to the committee and the director of the NSC honors program  a week before the scheduled defense. A failure to do so will result in the student not receiving honors.  In such cases, a student will still receive credit for their research hours if they turn in the thesis by the end of the semester, but will not be granted honors. In such cases, the highest grade that the student can receive for their final semester of NSC 4999 is a B.

Students interested in the Honors Program who wish to find out more about the program are urged to contact the Program Office.