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The principal distinctions between the BA and BS programs are enrollment in faculty-supervised research and additional elective neuroscience courses.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience by completing all the requirements for the BA, plus an additional 3 elective courses that include 1-3 quarters of faculty-supervised neuroscience research as an elective course. These two additional requirements are the two principal distinctions between the BA and BS programs. The research elective must result in a written thesis and a poster presentation at the end of the academic year in which it is taken. 

Students are encouraged to seek out laboratory experiences in their first and second years but are only able to enroll in the research elective thesis course in the third and fourth. For more information on finding a research mentor, click here.

A thesis generally falls into one of four categories:

  1. An experiment-based thesis in which the student collects, analyzes, and evaluates data to test a clearly stated hypothesis;
  2. An analytics-based thesis in which the student analyzes and evaluates data that the lab has previously acquired in order to test a clearly stated hypothesis;
  3. A theory-based thesis in which the student employs a model or simulation in order to test a clearly stated hypothesis or develop a novel hypothesis;
  4. A literature-based thesis in which the student surveys primary scientific literature on a neuroscience topic in order to develop and describe a novel perspective/hypothesis rather than write a simple summary of that topic.

To successfully enroll in the BS thesis course, NSCI 29100, students must obtain a Reading and Research form and have their faculty mentor sign off on the proposed thesis work. This form is submitted to the Neuroscience Major's administrative office for approval of the thesis proposal. Signed and approved forms must be submitted to the registrar by the 3rd week of the quarter that the student wishes to enroll in the course.

By the end of the academic year that a student has enrolled in NSCI 2900, that student will be required to:


present A POSTER


What could be more challenging and more interesting and more important than understanding the human brain? It’s got it all. Computational processes, biological mechanisms, genetics; any aspect of biology you’re interested in, it’s important to brain function and it needs to be mastered before we will understand how it all works together. It’s the perfect puzzle.

John Maunsell, Ph.D
Director of the Neuroscience Institute
Harper Memorial