Research Independent Study in Neuroscience

Student performing researchMany of the best and most exciting learning experiences happen in research. Accordingly, students in neuroscience are strongly encouraged to pursue research independent research projects in some area of neuroscience under the supervision or sponsorship of Undergraduate Neuroscience Faculty.

Due date:  Proposal applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday of the first week of class

Please plan ahead and consider completing and submitting your proposal before the end of the current semester, well before the due date.

Research Independent Study Proposal Form

Overview:

Research Independent Studies in Neuroscience are academic courses [NEUROSCI 493 and 494] of scholarly content overseen by faculty principal investigators. The criteria for Independent Studies include:

  1. Eligible students are typically in their junior or senior year and should have completed 2 or more Neuroscience courses (courses that carry the NEUROSCI subject code). Interested sophomores may also be eligible, but they should first discuss their plans for independent study with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience or the Associate Director. Students pursuing a minor in Neuroscience may also enroll in research independent study.
  2. Mentorship is the responsibility of a faculty member (affiliated non-faculty research associates and assistants may also contribute to the supervision of the research).
  3. Student research must focus on Neuroscience and occur primarily in a basic science or clinical science research setting. The student must explain in their proposal for research independent study how their work will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the field of neuroscience (see proposal application).
  4. The work should be fundamentally academic and/or scholarly in nature (acquisition of research techniques may be included as part of the experience, but should not be the primary goal of the research independent study).
  5. Students proposing a second term of independent study on the same project should plan to enroll in NEUROSCI 494 (192). Please note that an approved proposal is required for enrollment in NEUROSCI 494 (192). In preparing a 494 (192) proposal, the project description section should focus on the specific scientific aims and learning objectives that are to be accomplished in the second term of the research independent study.
  6. At the end of the term for both NEUROSCI 493 (191) and 494 (192), the research activities should be summarized in a substantive written paper, which should take the form of scientific manuscript, with Background and Significance, Methods, Results and Discussion sections (standard APA format or grant proposal format is acceptable). The precise format and length of this paper should be discussed by the student and research mentor. At the end of the term, the paper should be submitted to the research mentor for evaluation. The student’s grade for the term will in part depend on the mentor’s evaluation of this scholarly product.
  7. A copy of the final paper must be submitted electronically to Tyler Lee ( tyler.lee@duke.edu ) in the Office of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience during the week of finals.
  8. No more than one term of research independent study in neuroscience will be approved for Summer Session.

Students may wish to pursue research independent study with faculty who are not presently designated as Undergraduate Neuroscience Faculty. If this is the case, the student should discuss her/his interests with the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience. If the proposed project satisfies the above criteria, the student may be directed to a faculty sponsor from among the ranks of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Faculty who will serve as a liaison between the Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience Office and the student’s faculty mentor. Under these circumstances, the student will work directly with the faculty mentor in pursuit of the research aims, but the proper conduct of the course (including grade submission) is the responsibility of the faculty sponsor.

Remember, no course credit can be awarded for paid work.

If interested in applying for research independent study in neuroscience, download, complete and submit the PDF application (see above) to the Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience Office (LSRC, DIBS B022).

Permission numbers for registration will be issued from that Office. Proposal applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday of the first week of class.

Lastly, please note that only NEUROSCI 493 (191) through 496, Research Independent Study, terms 1-4, will count toward completion of Neuroscience major requirements. Independent study courses from other departments/majors will not count toward completion of major requirements.