Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

Frequently Asked Questions

NSCI students and faculty Alz walk 2016

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 2115 as one of their laboratory requirements plus either EBIO 1010/1015 or CELL 3010/ 3020 or CELL 3110/3120 in addition to the neuroscience co-requisite courses. EBIO 1010/1015 counts as an elective lecture course (but not a lab 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

Study Abroad

A student who plans to study abroad for a semester or year should identify possible neuroscience courses in their study abroad programs. After these courses have been identified, the student should arrange a meeting with the neuroscience major director Dr. Beth Wee, to confirm that the courses are eligible to be transferred into the neuroscience major. Please make sure to have at least a syllabus off-hand for this meeting.

Once confirmed by Dr. Wee, the student and Dr. Wee will fill out a Course Equivalency Form and Degree Audit Substitution Form, to be processed and approved by Academic Advising and the Registrar.

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.

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.

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 them 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, 200 Flower Hall, or emailed to Jana Whipple (jwhipple2@tulane.edu) 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.

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.

Independent Study

Students may sign up for Independent study credit for research in a neuroscience research laboratory as NSCI 4910. Up to six graded (A-F) credits may be earned. After that, if the student wants to continue to do research, s/he should sign up for NSCI 4920, which is S/U graded. Independent study forms are available from the Neuroscience Office, 200 Flower 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 the Neuroscience office, the student will be cleared to add the independent study to their schedule. Keep in mind that six credits is the maximum amount of regular graded credit that a student can earn from all independent study courses, even if the work is completed in more than one research laboratory. Please note student completing a NSCI major and PSYN minor may only count one independent study (3 credit hours) towards either the major or the minor but not both. 

If a student wants to do independent study in a non-neuroscience laboratory, they should contact Dr. Beth Wee (bwee@tulane.edu) about earning SCEN 4910/4920 credit, as per the guidelines outlined above.

Guidelines to contact faculty about doing research

Capstone in Neuroscience

As of January 2015, the Capstone is no longer required for the Neuroscience Major, effective immediately for all undergraduate students.

Please note: Capstone requirements are still required for other majors and degree programs, so if you are pursuing a double major or dual degree, please check with your other program regarding their Capstone policy.

Service Learning Courses Relevant to Neuroscience Majors

The following three credit Neuroscience lecture courses may have an optional service learning component which fulfills the second tier Service requirement. 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

In addition, if the student has at least a B average, they 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 this course in the Neuroscience office, 200 Flower Hall:

  • NSCI 4570 Neuroscience Internship

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. Beth Wee ( bwee@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:

  • Meet with Dr. Wee to design your major course plan.
  • Complete the form that identifies your courses in each major.
  • Meet again with Dr. Wee for final approval of your major course plan.
  • Visit the Psychology Office in Stern 2007 or email Michelle Illidge (millidge@tulane.edu) to declare your Psychology major.
  • Visit the Neuroscience Office in Flower 200 or email Jana Whipple (jwhipple2@tulane.edu) to declare your Neuroscience major.
  • Neuroscience Office will keep copies of your course plan and declaration form on file.
  • Deliver your completed declaration form to the Newcomb/Tulane Advising Center.

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 Cell and Molecular Biology department.


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 (PSYN)
A minor in Psychology when completed with a major in Neuroscience requires the completion of PSYC 1000 and four additional elective courses in Psychology which do not overlap with course requirements in Neuroscience and are not cross-listed as PSYC/NSCI.

Neuroscience Major with Cell and Molecular Biology Minor
Students wishing to minor in cell and molecular biology must complete five 3-credit non-neuroscience courses as follows. Three required courses: CELL 3030 - Molecular Biology , CELL 3750 - Cell Biology, & CELL 4010 - Cellular Biochemistry; two additional electives from the following: CELL 3050,3210, 3400, 4110/4111, 4130, 4160, 4200*, 4220, 4250, 4260, 4340, 4440, 4710, 4780. *Note that CELL 4200 may not be used for the CELL minor elective if NSCI 4200 is used as a major elective.

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.

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.


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.

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.