All Neuroscience majors are required to submit a written thesis and make an oral presentation based on their research in order to earn the Neuroscience degree. To graduate, an approved thesis (i.e., title page signed by research mentor) must be submitted to the Director and successful oral presentation must be completed by the last day of classes of their final semester.
Preparing the Written Thesis
Neuroscience honors theses should be formatted like research manuscripts. Students should endeavor to follow the format taught in Psych 213W or Bio 330 for the preparation of written research manuscripts. Specifically, the honors thesis should contain the following double-spaced sections:
Title page (1 page that includes the title, student’s name, student’s affiliation, and name of the research mentor. Mentors must sign the title page to indicate approval of thesis.
Abstract—brief description of the research (approximately 250 words)
Introduction—introduces the basis and rationale for the research, including a brief overview of important concepts and literature (approximately 500-1000 words).
Methods—detailed presentation of the methods used to generate the data.
Results—description of the results obtained framed in terms of the research questions, including any graphs, tables, figures and statistics.
Discussion—overview of what the results mean within the context of the literature and current theory, including alternative explanations, caveats, and future directions (1500-2500 words).
Acknowledgments—brief statement acknowledging contributions of others (e.g., student’s mentor, collaborating scientists, other students who worked on the project, funding sources, those providing reagents or other assistance).
Figure Captions and Figures, if not inserted into the text of the results (the Neuroscience major staff will accept either format for honors theses).
Curriculum Vitae—a current CV must appear as an Appendix. An electronic copy must also be sent to the Director of the major.
Once signed by the student’s research mentor to indicate approval, a hard copy must be submitted to the Director of the Neuroscience major. Please note that it is acceptable to submit the same thesis for Neuroscience, HMNS, and the Honors College.
Preparing the Oral Presentation of the Thesis
Oral presentations last 10-15 minutes during which PowerPoint slides are used to show the highlights of your research findings.
Tips for preparing a presentation:
Plan for one minute per slide, or 10-15 slides total.
Start with a title slide and end with a slide acknowledging your funding sources and colleagues
Include a few slides for each of the following points:
Background and rationale for your research question
Experimental design and methods
Results (graphs, tables, figures)
Discussion of the meaning of your findings and how they advance our knowledge and suggestions about future directions