Honors in Neuroscience
Students in the B.S. in Neuroscience program have the opportunity to graduate with honors in the major by completing an honors thesis. The honors program is a 3 semester program that culminates in the successful completion and presentation of an honors thesis, which is an independent research project. Students who are interested in completing an honors thesis should plan to take NEUR 410 or NEUR 411, the writing intensive requirement for the neuroscience major, in their junior year. Catalog information about the honors program can be found here:
- NEUR 410: Current Topics in Neuroscience or NEUR 411: Seminar in Neuroscience. These are the writing intensive courses for the neuroscience major.
- NEUR 450: Honors Thesis Proposal
- NEUR 451: Honors Thesis
To be eligible, students must have completed at least 60 credits, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and a minimum GPA of 3.25 in neuroscience courses.
Selecting a Thesis Advisor
Thesis projects are completed under the supervision of a faculty member at Mason, who serves as the “thesis advisor.” Students must identify a faculty member who agrees to serve as the thesis advisor before applying to the program. We recommend that students begin research in a faculty member’s lab 1 or more semesters before they are planning to enroll in NEUR 450: Honors Thesis Proposal.
Students who are interested in doing research at Mason, and potentially completing an honors thesis, should identify faculty whose research aligns with their interests. Contact these faculty to set up a meeting and discuss available research opportunities in their labs. Neuroscience faculty research interests and contact information can be found on the faculty web page.
Applying to the Program
Students should apply to the program in the semester before they intend to enroll in NEUR 450. Follow the procedures below.
- Get a verbal agreement from your thesis advisor to do the honors thesis.
- E-mail the proposed thesis topic to the director of the B.S. in Neuroscience program, Saleet Jafri (firstname.lastname@example.org). Copy your thesis advisor on the e-mail.
Assembling a Committee and Enrolling
- Once you have received confirmation of acceptance to the program, you should form a committee of 3 faculty who will evaluate your thesis. The committee will consist of the neuroscience director, your thesis advisor, and one additional neuroscience faculty member. We recommended that students discuss the selection of the additional faculty member with their thesis advisor. Once you have assembled your committee, send this information to the neuroscience director.
- Enroll in NEUR 450: Honors Thesis Proposal. Enrolling in NEUR 450 requires an Individualized Section Form, which should be submitted to a neuroscience advisor.
Completing the Program
- While enrolled in NEUR 450, you should work on preparing your honors thesis proposal. Specific proposal requirements should be discussed with your thesis advisor. At a minimum, proposals should include: a description of the project, preliminary studies, and approach. The proposal should be submitted to your thesis advisor for approval. Once approved, the proposal should be e-mailed to the director of the B.S. in Neuroscience program, Saleet Jafri (email@example.com). Copy your thesis advisor on the e-mail.
- Once the director has accepted your proposal, you will enroll in NEUR 451: Honors Thesis. Enrolling in NEUR 451 requires an Individualized Section Form,
- Requirements for the completion and presentation of the thesis in NEUR 451 should be discussed with your thesis advisor. Upon completion of NEUR 451, the completed thesis must be approved by both the thesis advisor and the program director.
- To graduate with honors, students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.50 in their honors courses, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and complete an honors thesis.