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Bachelor's Essay in Neuroscience

Many neuroscience students choose to complete a Bachelor’s Essay in Neuroscience (BIOL/PSYC 448), a two-semester independent research course that counts towards the research requirement of the neuroscience minor.

To enroll in a Bachelor's Essay, you first need to identify a mentor.  In the Neuroscience Program, Bachelor’s Essay research must be conducted with a CofC Neuroscience Program faculty member or with a faculty member at MUSC, and the research must be related to the field of neuroscience. You should reach out to potential mentors early in the minor--do not wait until the fall of your senior year!

Once you have connected with a mentor, you will need to enroll.  The Bachelor's Essay is an individual enrollment course, which means you cannot simply sign up for it in the manner that you register for regular classes.  To enroll, you must do the following:

  1. Work with your mentor to write a detailed description of your research project.  This description should address the following four learning objectives for the Bachelor's Essay:
    1. Develop a strong intellectual foundation in research by reading the primary research literature and acquire knowledge of advanced principles of neuroscience research through these readings.
    2. Acquire proficiency in specialized neuroscience techniques and apply knowledge of molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience gained from the core neuroscience courses to their research and/or written thesis.
    3. Develop competence in data collection, interpretation, and evaluation of neuroscience research, and engage in activities that foster critical thinking skills about research.
    4. Promote the development of professional and technical written communication skills.
  2. Obtain the approval of the Neuroscience program director by completing and submitting the Neuroscience Bachelor's Essay approval form. You can obtain this form from any CofC neuroscience faculty member.
  3. Complete and submit the departmental Individual Enrollment form. Check with the relevant department (usually PSYC or BIOL) to obtain this form. Note that the department might have separate requirements for the Bachelor's Essay--check with a Neuroscience faculty member in the relevant department. If you are conducting your research at MUSC, you need a CofC faculty member to be the faculty member of record (since MUSC faculty cannot submit grades, etc.) Typically this is the Neuroscience program director.
  4. Complete all of these steps by the deadline for individual enrollment (see the Registrar's Office calendar for the specific date).

Note: Grades for both semesters of the Bachelor’s Essay in Neuroscience will be given after submission of the final draft of the written component in the second semester.  A grade of “IP” (in progress) is submitted after the first semester.

Contact the Neuroscience Program Director or talk with a CofC Neuroscience faculty member if you have questions about this process.  If you are working with someone at MUSC, they are unlikely to be familiar with this process.