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Frequently Asked Questions

top ⇑ Pre-Medical* School Requirements

Pre-medical* students are strongly encouraged to talk to the Pre-professional Advisor to learn about the requirements for medical* school. The standard pre-medical course requirements can be completed by the student majoring in neuroscience. Because medical schools require 2 semesters of biology lecture and laboratory, pre-medical students should take CELL 2110 as one of their laboratory requirements plus either EEOB 1010/1110 or CELL 3010/ 3020 or CELL 3110/3120 in addition to the neuroscience co-requisite courses. EEOB 1010/1110 counts as an elective lecture course, as does CELL 3010 or 3110. CELL 3020 or 3120 would count as one of the three required laboratory courses.

* Note: Pre-dental and Pre-veterinary students also are encouraged to talk to the Pre-professional Advisor

top ⇑ Study Abroad

A student who plans to study abroad for a semester or year, should talk to his/her college advisor and the neuroscience major representative, Dr. Beth Wee, about possible courses which are equivalent to Tulane courses. Once these courses have been identified, the student should take the course descriptions to each faculty member who teaches a similar course at Tulane and let that person decide whether or not the course really is equivalent. If it is, then the faculty member should sign the paper with the course description, indicating that it is an acceptable substitute. The student, his or her advisor, and the neuroscience office (via Dr. Wee) all should keep copies of these approved course descriptions. In some cases, a course NOT offered at Tulane, may still be acceptable as an elective, but this should be cleared with Dr. Wee and the student’s college advisor. All of these arrangements should be done BEFORE the student leaves for the semester abroad. Students are advised to keep a syllabus from each course taken abroad to verify the course’s content.

top ⇑ Graduating With Honors

A student who at the time of graduation has achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.600 and has completed the Honors Program requirements will be awarded the degree magna cum laude. The degree summa cum laude is reserved for students who have achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.800 and have completed the Honors Program requirements upon graduation. These distinctions are reserved for Tulane Honors Students only.

To be eligible for departmental honors, a student must earn a cumulative grade-point average of a least 3.400 and a grade-point average of at least 3.500 in courses counting toward the major, must complete an honors thesis or project, and must fulfill all of the department’s other requirements for honors.

More information can be obtained from the Honors Program.

top ⇑ Honors Thesis

What is an Honors Thesis?

An honors thesis is a year-long research project conducted during the senior year. Neuroscience majors are not required to do an honors thesis. Successful completion of an honors thesis qualifies the student to graduate with departmental and university honors and is required for candidates for the degrees of summa cum laude and magna cum laude in Newcomb College or Tulane College. For specific information about the requirements for graduating with Honors, contact the Honors Program, 119 Norman Mayer Hall, 865-5517.

An empirical research project is required for an Honors Thesis in Neuroscience. An empirical research project includes the design, implementation, analysis, and write-up of an original experiment that tests a specific scientific hypothesis. Non-laboratory projects, such as papers based solely on library research, clinical internships, or community service activities, do not meet the standards of an Honors Thesis in Neuroscience. Completion of an Honors Thesis in Neuroscience requires two full semesters, typically conducted during the senior year. A student should only attempt an Honor Thesis in Neuroscience under the guidance of a faculty member with whom Independent Study has been pursued during one or more previous semesters.

Note : No student may receive academic credit for research activities if that student receives a salary or stipend for those activities. This policy applies to research conducted during the academic year and during the summer.

How Do I Sign Up to Do an Honors Thesis?

No later than the spring of your junior year, you should select a Neuroscience faculty member to serve as your thesis director. You might begin by approaching one of your instructors, or your Neuroscience major advisor. You also should review the list of Neuroscience research faculty, to learn about the research interests of the Neuroscience faculty members.

Students should be aware that space in faculty laboratories is limited. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to contact the faculty member well before the end of the spring semester of their junior year. Once the faculty member has agreed to serve as your thesis director, make plans with him or her to carry out preliminary work for the thesis during the spring or summer before your senior year.

Students should sign up for Honors Thesis credit, NSCI 4990 in the fall, and NSCI 5000 in the spring, of the senior year. In order to sign up for NSCI 5000, students need to complete the Honors Approval Form and return it to the Neuroscience Program office. Students should go to the Honors Program Office (119 Norman Mayer) to pick up the guidelines and schedule well in advance of your registration for an honors thesis. Students who are doing an Honor’s Thesis will need to fill out the Tulane Honor’s Thesis and Neuroscience Honor’s Thesis forms. The completed forms should be turned in to the Neuroscience Office, 2013 Stern Hall, to get a section number and be cleared to do the Honor’s thesis. For additional information, look at the honors program and the honors thesis web pages.

By midway through the first semester, the student must submit a prospectus to the Honors Program that has been approved and signed by the thesis director and a second reader. A first progress report, approved and signed by the thesis director and the second reader at the end of the first semester, indicates whether the thesis is to be continued or terminated. A second progress report is due in the middle of the second semester. A complete draft of the thesis is due to the honors thesis committee a month before the projected date of graduation. The thesis must be completed two weeks before graduation, and the oral examination is held after all other requirements have been met.

Ethics Approval Deadlines

Students must secure prior approval for honors theses from the appropriate ethics committees by the end of the first semester of their senior year. Approval of empirical studies with human subjects or animal subjects must be obtained from the appropriate internal review board. Students should consult with their thesis advisors regarding this process. Review and approval normally requires at least one month. Therefore, it is important that all forms be submitted by the thesis advisor to the appropriate committee NO LATER THAN November 15.

Proposal Approval

Research proposals, submitted in late January to the Honors Program office as the “first chapter,” must include an introduction and complete methodology. Before submission to the Honors Program office, the proposal must be approved by a committee comprised of the thesis director, and another faculty member, who will serve as the second reader. The proposal must be approved before the data for the primary study are collected.

Can I Complete an Honors Thesis at the Tulane Medical Center, or at Another Institution?

Yes, however, students must adhere to the same guidelines as those given [below] for Independent Study projects.

Answer Given for Independent Study Projects.

Students who wish to perform an independent study project at another institution must have two faculty sponsors: One at the host institution, and one in the Neuroscience Major. The student must obtain prior approval from the Neuroscience sponsor for the project. The sponsor will communicate with the host institution sponsor to make sure that the work being performed meets our major requirements for independent study projects. Also, the grade for the project will be submitted by the Neuroscience sponsor, in consultation with the host institution sponsor.

At the beginning of the project, your host institution sponsor must submit, by letter or e-mail, a description of the project to your Neuroscience sponsor. It is essential that your Neuroscience sponsor and your host institution sponsor communicate with one another to evaluate your final work; otherwise, an incomplete grade may result.

top ⇑ Independent Study

Students may sign up for Independent study credit as NSCI 4910 (fall) or NSCI 4920 (spring). Independent study forms are available from the Neuroscience Office, 2013 Stern Hall. This form must be completed by the student in consultation with and signed by the faculty member(s) supervising the research. After the completed form is returned to Sherrie in the Neuroscience office, the student will be cleared to add the independent study to his/her schedule.

top ⇑ Capstone in Neuroscience

Students may fulfill their capstone requirement by completion of one of the following:

  1. Honor’s thesis in the laboratory of a faculty member in the Neuroscience Program
  2. Independent study in the laboratory of a faculty member in the Neuroscience Program that includes an extensive literature review or other writing component related to the research. Students who choose this option should sign up for NSCI 5111 (when taking NSCI 4910) or NSCI 5112 (when taking NSCI 4920) and complete paperwork for the independent study in the Neuroscience Office, 2013 Stern
  3. Behavioral Endocrinology with Lab (NSCI 4060/4065) (fall semester)
  4. Cognitive Neuroscience with Lab (NSCI 4380/4385) (spring semester)
  5. Methods in Neuroscience with Lab (NSCI 69150/6155) (fall semester)
  6. Neuroscience Capstone (NSCI 6910) topics course, occasionally taught by members of the Neuroscience Faculty. Contact Dr. Wee (bwee@tulane.edu) for details.

Note: If a student is doing a double major with one degree (e.g., B.S. OR B.A., completing 120 hours), and the other major requires a capstone, then the student does not need to complete a capstone in Neuroscience. However, if a student is completing a dual degree (e.g., B.S. AND B.A., completing 150 hours) with two majors, then capstones must be completed in each major.

top ⇑ Service Learning Courses Relevant to Neuroscience Majors

The following three credit Neuroscience lecture courses may have an optional service learning component which fulfill the second tier Service requirement if taken after the student has completed 60 credits or more (i.e., during the third and fourth years of study). Courses which require 40 hours of volunteer service are worth 1 credit; courses that require only 20 hours of service are worth zero credit, but still fulfill the service requirement.

  • NSCI 4110 Brain and Language
  • NSCI 4340 Neurobiology of Disease
  • NSCI 6550 Behavioral Endocrinology
  • NSCI 4130 Sports Related Brain Injury
  • NSCI 6190 Neuroscience Capstone

In addition, if the student has at least a B average, s/he may apply to the Center for Public Service to complete a Service Learning Internship. The neuroscience service learning internship consists of 70 hours of volunteer service plus participation in a weekly seminar class. If approved, the student should sign up for one of these courses in the Neuroscience office, 2013 Stern Hall:

  • NSCI 4560 Neuroscience Internship (Fall semester)
  • NSCI 4570 Neuroscience Internship (Spring semester)

top ⇑ Double Major in Neuroscience and Psychology

Students can complete double majors in Neuroscience and Psychology by completing 18 non-overlapping courses from the curricula of the two majors.  Courses listed in the Neuroscience curriculum of 3 or 4 credits can be included among the 18 non-overlapping courses.  The following exceptions apply.  (1) Laboratories that are one-credit components of lecture courses cannot count as separate courses.  Four-credit courses that include laboratories, 3-credit independent study courses, and seven-credit honors theses can count toward the 18 non-overlapping courses.  (2) Neuroscience co-requisite courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics do not count towards the list of 18 non-overlapping courses.

A double major should broaden a student's knowledge in both areas of study, therefore, students are encouraged strongly to complete courses in their Psychology major that are outside the field of Neuroscience such as courses in developmental, social, and quantitative psychology.

Students planning to double major in Neuroscience and Psychology must meet with Dr. Gary Dohanich ( dohanich@tulane.edu ) to develop their double major curriculum plan.

NOTE: The Neuroscience program does not offer a minor in Neuroscience.  Neuroscience majors can complete minors in other fields that offer minors provided that departmental requirements are met.

Steps in Declaring a Double Major in Neuroscience and Psychology


  1. Meet with Dr. Dohanich to design your major course plan.
  2. Complete the form that identifies your courses in each major.
  3. Meet again with Dr. Dohanich for final approval of your major course plan.
  4. Visit the Psychology Office in Stern 2007 to declare your Psychology major.
  5. Visit the Neuroscience Office in Stern 2013 to declare your Neuroscience major.
  6. Neuroscience Office will keep copies of your course plan and declaration form on file.
  7. Deliver your completed declaration form to the Newcomb/Tulane Advising Center.

top ⇑ Double Major in Neuroscience and Cell and Molecular Biology

Questions about the double major in CMB and Neuroscience should be directed to Dr. Jeff Tasker in the CMB department.

top ⇑ Minors

The Neuroscience program does not offer a minor in Neuroscience. Neuroscience majors can complete minors in other fields that offer minors provided that the departmental requirements are met.

Major in Neuroscience with Minor in Psychology

A minor in Psychology requires completion of PSYC 1000 or 1010, PSYC 3090, one course that can overlap with the Neuroscience major, and three additional 3 or 4 credit courses that do not overlap with the Neuroscience major.


PSYC  1000 or 1010 (can overlap with Neuroscience)
PSYC  3090 (can overlap with Neuroscience)
PSYC  3000 - 6000 (can overlap with Neuroscience)

PSYC  3000 - 6000 (cannot overlap with Neuroscience)
PSYC  3000 - 6000 (cannot overlap with Neuroscience)
PSYC  3000 - 6000 (cannot overlap with Neuroscience)

Neuroscience Major with Cell and Molecular Biology Minor

Students wishing to minor in cell and molecular biology must complete CELL 1010, 2050, 3750, and 3030; two additional electives in biology; and 16 credits in chemistry (one year of both general and organic chemistry and their respective laboratories). In accordance with Tulane’s undergraduate catalog, students completing a minor must complete at least 24 credits in the major which do not overlap with the minor. Questions about the minor in CMB should be directed to Dr. Jeff Tasker in the CMB department.

top ⇑ Why Tulane Neuroscience?

Competitive Strengths:

What Distinguishes this Academic Program from Other Colleges and Universities?

Most colleges and universities do not offer a major in Neuroscience. Tulane’s Neuroscience major allows students to pursue an interdepartmental curriculum that focuses on the nervous system and its role in regulating physiology and behavior, as well as providing research experiences in this field. The plan of study expands the knowledge base of students beyond that normally attainable in conventional majors and establishes an excellent foundation for future medical and graduate training.

Research and Scholarship:
What are Some Research and Scholarly Activities that Faculty and Students Are Involved In?

Neuroscience majors pursue research in the University’s Neuroscience laboratories as Independent Studies, Honors Theses, and summer employment. These experiences allow students to bring knowledge learned in the classroom into the actual research environment. Tulane undergraduates continue to play a vital role in the federally-funded research programs of Tulane neuroscientists. Their efforts have led to co-authorships on scientific publications and conference presentations.

Facilities Do Students in This Program Have Access to Any Significant Facilities, Technology, or Equipment?

Tulane currently is building a modern, multipurpose laboratory that will be the centerpiece of undergraduate Neuroscience at Tulane. The purpose of the laboratory classroom is to allow students to utilize the most contemporary instrumentation in the field of Neuroscience guided by faculty members who are experts in the application of techniques related to their own research questions. In addition, undergraduates who work in the University’s research laboratories will continue to have access to all the instrumentation and facilities used by faculty members in their research programs.

Internship Opportunities What type of Internship Programs are Available for Students in this Field?

Majors work in research laboratories throughout the University, as well as in laboratories at the Tulane medical school. Service Learning allows students to work in hospitals, clinics, and community settings to apply classroom knowledge to real-life experiences.

top ⇑ What do I do with my Tulane Neuroscience Degree?

What do graduates of This Program do After Graduation?

The majority of students graduating with a B.S. in Neuroscience have gone on to prestigious medical and graduate schools including Tulane University, Yale University, Cornell University, University of California, Baylor University, University of North Carolina. Tulane offers a 4+1 Program in Neuroscience in which students who receive a B.S. degree can obtain their M.S. degree during an additional year of study.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu