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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 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 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

NSCI MBL Spring Quarter

The NSCI MBL Spring Quarter will allow a small group of students to participate in an immersive neuroscience quarter at the MBL. There are three NSCI specific courses, each of which will have a lecture and lab component. Each course will take advantage of the diversity of research experiences that can only be accessed at MBL. Each NSCI course will have a duration of 3 weeks. Together these three courses comprise a full quarter 3-course schedule.

The Fundamentals of Synapses course will examine the structure and function of the synapse, the means through which neurons communicate. Much of our fundamental understanding of the synapse arises from classic studies using marine and aquatic models. 

The Neurons and Glia course will provide in-depth analysis of the molecular and cell biology of the nervous system using advanced imaging and molecular biological approaches.

The Dynamic Camouflage: Behavior, Visual Perception and Neural Skin Patterning in Cephalopods course will take an integrative approach to the examination of the neurally controlled system of dynamic defense against visual predators.

Students may also register for a Visual Language course that can be used to fulfill the general education requirement in the Arts, and/or they may register for an MBL version of Physics III rather than one of the NSCI courses. 

Please visit the NSCI MBL Spring Quarter site for further details.