The Graduation with Distinction Program (GwD) is intended for students who demonstrate academic excellence through the successful completion of a significant research project during their undergraduate career. This is especially important for students planning to pursue a graduate degree, but is highly recommended for any student with a strong interest in research.
GwD is an opportunity for senior neuroscience majors to expand their research further and present their findings via an oral defense, a written thesis, and a poster presentation.
Please see bottom of page for faculty mentors and the titles of student theses from the last 3 years.
Important Dates to Remember
- May graduates: applications are due in the Fall semester senior year, by 4:00pm on Friday during the first week of classes.
- February 23rd-April 1st 2024: Turn in a draft of your Results & Discussion sections of thesis to your mentor for comments
- Assemble defense committee list and email names to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 pm on Friday, March 1st 2024
- Completion of final polished version of thesis must be submitted to committee members between March 18th-April 5th, 2024
- Oral defense period: April 8th-19th, 2024. Your committee members have to be given your thesis a week prior to your presentation day. Completed form must be submitted to Tyler Lee April 19th
- Poster Presentation date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024, 4:30pm (set up at 4pm in DIBS)
- Final Distinction paper due: April 26th, 2024 emailed to email@example.com
Fall/December graduates must submit their application in the spring semester prior, by 4:00pm on Friday during the first week of classes.
Frequently asked questions for GwD in Neuroscience
What is the criteria for the selection of GwD students?
Neuroscience majors with a GPA of 3.5 or above in neuroscience courses may apply for Graduation with Distinction in Neuroscience. They must also maintain at least this level of performance in their neuroscience coursework (Gateway, Core, Statistics, and Electives) throughout the remainder of their studies at Duke. The written application form must include a summary of the student’s research topic, be endorsed by the student’s faculty mentor, and be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
What is the evaluative body?
You and your mentor should choose 2 committee members for your oral defense. One member of your committee (either your mentor or one of your two additional committee members) must be a neuroscience faculty member from an Arts and Sciences department, or be a faculty member who teaches regularly in the undergraduate neuroscience program. One member of your committee can be a postdoctoral fellow or an advanced graduate student who has completed their preliminary exam. Dr. Len White may be able to be the third person on your committee, but you must ask ahead of time so he can plan. You should form your committee as soon as possible but no later than March 1st, 2024. Contact Tyler Lee to give her the names of your committee members along with the date, time and location for your defense.
Is there another program that could help with my GwD research?
Yes, Summer Neuroscience Program is an undergraduate summer program that allows students to strengthen their research and portfolio.
Are there special courses, other activities required, or other comments?
The thesis is usually based on at least two semesters of independent studies in neuroscience (NEUROSCI 493 and 494) with the same faculty mentor.
Students aspiring to graduate with distinction will register for NEUROSCI 499 Current Research in Neuroscience. This spring-term lecture course includes review of directed reading and research in both theoretical and experimental neuroscience, as well as discussion of the students’ independent study projects. Emphasis is placed on the development of the ability to critically evaluate empirical research and to construct mathematical or deductive/inductive models. The final project in this course includes preparation of a formal research proposal and a review of the role of ethics in science.
Graduation with Distinction in Neuroscience research projects will be presented as scientific posters during a celebration on April 23rd, 2024 at 4:30 pm, (arrive at 4:00 pm to set up your poster) LSRC; DIBS. The student will need to arrange poster printing of their work. Please contact Tyler Lee ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more information.
Faculty mentors and titles of student theses (2020-2023)
Lab information: https://www.adcocklab.org/
- Pre-Learning Affective States and Trait Anxiety Impact Learning from Error
- Learning from Prediction Error: The Impact of Perfectionism, Anxiety and Perspectives on Learning
More information: https://dibs.duke.edu/profile/edna-andrews/
- Multilingualism, Literacy, and Cultural Preservation in Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Diaspora
- Electrophysiological Analysis of Lifelong Musicianship: a New Approach using Dry EEG
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/miles.berger
- Intraoperative EEG Pre-Burst Suppression as a Predictor of Postoperative Delirium
- APOE2 Effects on Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers and Cognition
Lab information: https://bilbolab.com/
- Neuroimmune Regulation of Dopaminergic Circuitry throughout Adolescent in the Dorsal Striatum
- The Role of Inflammation in Maternal Diet-Induced Sex-Specific Behavioral Differences
- Impacts of Maternal Mouse Diet
- Healing the Brain by Healing the Gut: Microbiome Modulation Prevents Social Behavior Deficits following Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Stressors
- Cross-Fostering Influences the Effects of Air Pollution and Prenatal Stress on Social Behavior
- The Microglia of the Guy? Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Stressors Alters Intestinal Macrophage Populations in Male Offspring
- Exploring the Effects of IL34 Knockout on Microglia in Male and Female Adult Mice
- Central MYD88 Signaling and Alcohol Consumption
- The Impact of Ablated Microglial MYD88 Signaling on Neurodevelopment
Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/calakos-lab
- DYT1 Dystonia Impairs eIF2A Signaling through Nuclear Sequestration of the Proteasome
- Identifying Motor Cortical Neural Ensembles Associated with Habit Learning
More information: https://medicine.duke.edu/profile/jonathan-edward-campbell
- Investigating how the CNS Engages Alpha-Cell GPCRs to Initiate Glucagon Secretion during Counter Regulation of Hypoglycemia
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/o.chibafalek
- Exploring the Mechanistic Role of A-synuclein in the Nucleus: Insights from Familiar Parkinson's Disease
- The Role of DNA Methylation at SNCA Intron1 in Gene Regulation: Mechanistic Understanding of Parkinson's and Implications for Gene Therapy
Lab information: https://www.imclab.org/
- The Structural Correlates of Moral Foundation in Younger Children and Older Adults
- Investigating Age-Related Differences in Moral Judgments and Resting-State Functional Connectivity
- Eye Tracking the Mental Simulation and Counterfactual Reasoning in Developing Casual Judgment for Children Ages Five to Seven
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/christopher.donnelly
- Behavioral Characterization of Humanized Mice: A Platform to Understand Chronic Graft- Versus Host Disease-Associated Pain?
- STING Signaling in Peripheral Sensory Neurons Confers Protective Immunity against Listeria Monocytogenes Infection
Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/deed/
- Asymmetry in Manual Exposures during Naturalistic, Caregiver-Infant Play and Communication Development in 9-24-Month-Old Infants and Toddlers
- Resting-State Functional Connectivity of the Ventral Attention Network and Non-Clinical Anxiety in Early Childhood
- Amygdala-mPFC Functional Connectivity and its Relationship to Emotion Regulation in Preschool-Aged Children
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/beth.gifford
- Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Levels
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/ahmad.hariri
- Is Sleep Reflected in the Brain: Functional Connectivity Patterns and Disordered Sleep
- Graph Theoretical Analysis of fMRI: Test-Retest Reliability of Common and Innovative Approaches to Network Neuroscience
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/deborah.jenson
- An Analysis of French and English Indo-Caribbean Literary Depiction of Indentured Servitude and its Associated Neurological Implications
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/jason.luck
- Quantifying the Association between Oculomotor Response and Sub-Concussive Loading among High School Football Players using Deep Learning
- Oculomotor Responses as an Assessment for Subconcussive Loading in the Pediatric Population
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/rajendra.morey
- Impacts of mTBI and Subconcussive Head Injury in Military Veterans
- More than an Increase in Sea Levels: The Impact of Climate Change on Mental Illness Prevalence
Lab information: https://www.mcablab.science/
- Dopamine Modulation of Preferences for Equity in Economic Exchange
- Individual Differences in Grit and Physical Activity
- Drugs, Dopamine, and Dollars: Subjective Responses to Dextro-amphetamine are related to fMRI Anticipatory Responses to Monetary Reward
- Examining the Effectiveness of Neural and Behavioral Predictors of Physical Activity
- Digital Neurointerventions: Self-Efficacy, Subclinical Depression and Motivating Physical Activity
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/moria.smoski
- Resilience and Psychological Functioning in the Context of Infertility
- The Neuroendocrinological Underpinnings of Affective Responding within Anhedonia
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/hss
- The Effects of Adolescent Intermittent Ethanol Exposure on a Memory-Related Hippocampal Circuit
- Hippocampal-Hypothalamic Circuit that Mediates Anxiety-Like Behavior
- Role of SMARCAL1 in Pediatric Malignant Gliomas with ARTX Mutations
- Identification and Characterization of STAT3 Post Translation Modifications in the U251 Glioblastoma Cell Line
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/williams
- Exploring the Proteomic Implications of Therapeutic Intervention with Physical Activity in a Female Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
- The Role of Arginine Bioavailability and Exercise in a Female Model of Menopause and Alzheimer's Disease
- Neuroprotective Effects of Exercise on Dysfunctional Cognition and Ceramide Metabolism in a Female Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
- Observing the Microglial Response to Alzheimer's Pathology in Chronically Exercised and Menopause Model Mice
- The Effects of Exercise Amount and Type on Behavioral Impairments, Brain Structure, and Connectivity in the Female CVN Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Lab information: https://www.woldorfflab.org/
- Does Spontaneous Prestimulus Alpha Power Support Conscious Visual Perception? A Meta-Analysis
- Disambiguating the Neural Processes Underlying Expectancy and Reward-Feedback Processing
- Investigating the Neural Mechanisms by which Perceived Value Impacts Prospective Memory
- The Learning of Reward Associations Bases on Spatial Location
Lab information: https://people.duke.edu/~hy43/
- Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Use of Sensory Feedback during Fine Motor Behavior
- Regulation of Multimodal Orienting Behavior to Targets in Egocentric Space by the Superior Colliculus
More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/zucke001
- Using Visualization to Reduce Test Anxiety in Collegiate Student Anxiety
- Freshmen Attitudes towards Mental Health Treatment: The Effects of Psychoeducational Dialogues