|Download the Special Permission for Independent Research in Neuroscience, click here for form.|
We strongly encourage all NS majors to engage in independent research as part of their curriculum. We have many avenues into research, and hope that you begin this process sooner rather than later! Please note that you will need to talk to your professors in order to enroll in these research courses. Approach them well before registration period to ask if you can join their lab – spots are competitive and labs can fill quickly. A good time to ask a professor about joining their lab is after a semester has finished and you've just completed a course with that professor and done well in it.
In addition, consider applying for Skidmore's Summer Collaborative Ressearch Program.
NS 275 - Introduction to Neuroscience Research (1 credit): this is often the entry-point in a professor's lab. It is a 1-credit research experience
that varies quite a bit, depending upon the professor. Generally speaking, it will
give you the opportunity to see what kind of research goes on in a professor's lab
and how you could fit into that research program. You can do several of these, with
different professors. It can often be beneficial to join a lab in this manner your
1st or 2nd year at Skidmore.
Course description from the college catalog: An introductory exploration of conducting research in neuroscience. The purpose of this learning experience is to provide students with an interactive research experience in the laboratory or field, in coordination with a faculty member. Students may be exposed to, and participate in, several aspects of the research process, including planning, designing, and implementing the research, as well as in data analysis and interpretation of the results. This experience will allow students at various stages of their careers to sample research questions/methodologies in particular subdisciplines of neuroscience, and will enhance the student's ability for more independent work. Prerequisites: completion of NS 101 and permission of instructor. This course can be repeated for credit up to five credits. Must be taken S/U.
NS 371- Research Experience in Neuroscience (1-, 2-, or 3- credit as NS 371 A, B, or C, respectively): this is the next step up for NS majors, in terms of independent research. The time commitment is more intense and you will likely be spending 9-12 hours per week in the lab as part of this experience. You should approach your professor before registration (during advising week or even earlier) to see if they would be willing to mentor an NS 371 experience for you.
Course description from the college catalog: Directed study providing students with the opportunity for an intensive research experience in a particular laboratory or field setting. The emphasis is on the further development of students' research skills within a particular area of neuroscience inquiry. Each student will work with an individual faculty member on various aspects of the research process including the design and implementation of a research project, data analyses and interpretation, and scientific writing. This one-semester experience may be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: NS 101 and agreement of a faculty member to serve as mentor.
Must be taken S/U.
NS 375/NS 376 – Senior Research Project I/II (4 credits each): this is the most advanced and intensive form of independent research you can do as an NS major. It is what many students and faculty call a "senior thesis." It is a two-semester experience, with NS 375 occurring in the fall of senior year and NS 376 occurring in the spring. Again, you will work closely with a faculty mentor on an intensive research experience. Only for the most motivated and organized students!
Course description of NS 375 from the college catalog: NS 375 is designed to be the first semester of a year-long research project ("thesis" experience"); following successful completion of NS 375, students should enroll in NS 376 in the following semester. Students will work with an individual faculty member to develop a major research project. This development will include the conceptualization of a topic, review of the scientific literature, the learning of any necessary research techniques, the execution of any preliminary research, and the submission of a research proposal to the faculty supervisor. Prerequisites: previous research experience (e.g, NS 275, NS 371, PS 275, PS 371, BI 275, BI 371, summer research, etc.) and agreement of a faculty member to serve as mentor. Not S/U.