This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the major.

How and when can I join the major?

The Neuroscience major accepts applications on an ongoing, rolling basis. You can apply once you have completed, or are on track to complete the semester you apply, all three of the prequisites or two out of the three prerequisites plus one of the Foundation courses (NSCI 160 or NSCI 320).

Which specific courses are required of all majors?

The two Neuroscience foundation courses, NSCI 160 and NSCI 320.

How many credits do I need to complete the major?

Both the B.S. and B.A. require a minimum of 18.5 credits, including the three prerequisites, 15 lecture or seminar courses, and one laboratory.

Can classes taken toward another major count towards Neuroscience major?

Per Yale College policy, no more than two courses (beyond prerequisites) may be applied to the requirements of a double major.

May I use a single course to satisfy more than one requirement, for instance counting toward two of the elective cores?

No, individual courses may only satisfy a single requirement of the major.

What is the Senior Requirement?

All majors must complete a full year of thesis research as a senior. The B.S. degree requires two course credits of empirical research, NSCI 490 (Fall) and 491 (Spring). The B.A. degree requires two course credits of non-empirical research, NSCI 480 (Fall) and 481 (Spring), or one credit in non-empirical research, NSCI 480 or 481, and one credit in empirical research, NSCI 490 or 491.

What is the difference between empirical and non-empirical research?

Empirical research consists of collecting, analyzing, and/or modeling experimental data to advance knowledge in the field of Neuroscience. Empirical research can be conducted in person (physically in a lab) or remotely (via computational research).

Non-empirical research consists of a review and synthesis of the existing literature on a topic and must include a novel intellectual contribution, such as resolving a debate or proposing a theory.

In either case, students must identify a research mentor who is a full-time member of the Yale faculty with expertise relevant to neuroscience.

What kind of research can I do for my Senior Requirement?

Senior research for the Neuroscience major must be an investigation of brain function. This can occur in humans or in animals but cannot consist of clinical trials to test drug efficacy. It can include neural data, behavioral data, and/or computational models. If you have a specific research lab or project in mind, please check with the DUSes about whether it qualifies.

Can Senior Requirement start before Senior year?

No, except in unusual cases of early graduation or not being in residence in senior year (requires advance permission by DUSes).

Is clinical research acceptable?

Research in which a clinical population or condition is used to understand basic mechanisms of the brain and behavior could be acceptable. Working on a clinical trial of a drug or participating in clinical care are not eligible activities.

What should I do in the Summer before my Senior year?

It is recommended that Neuroscience majors seek out a research laboratory during the term or summer preceding senior year. The major and Yale College offer fellowship support for students who plan to work in a Neuroscience lab over the summer on a competitive basis.

Does the Neuroscience major offer Summer Funding?

Yes. The NSCI major is able to support a number of students in their research over the summer. The application process is identical to the Dean’s Research Fellowship, and due on the same date in February. The application process for the fellowship can be found under “Summer Funding”.

There is a course that is now applicable toward the major, but wasn’t when I joined the major?

Any new courses added to the major while you are still working to fulfil your requirements can be applied toward your degree. Likewise, any course that was eligible when you joined remains eligible throughout your degree, even if later removed from the major.

How is Distinction determined in the Major?

Per Yale College policy, distinction is awarded to students who have earned grades of A or A– in 3/4 of the credits in the major subject or program and who have earned a grade of A or A– on the senior requirement. All courses taken for the major are included in these calculations. Grades of F and marks of CR in courses taken Credit/D/Fail are included as non-A grades. Marks of W, for Withdrawal, which carry no course credit, and marks of P, for Pass, do not figure in the calculation for Distinction. Yale College has updated their policy for any students who were required to take a grade of Pass/Fail for courses in their major in the Spring term of 2020.  Please see COVID-19 FAQ page for the most up-to-date information.

Can I Credit/D/Fail a course?

No course taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the major, including prerequisites.

There is a course that I’m interested in taking, that I’d like to know if it can be applied toward the major — can I get an exception?

The major is expansive and inclusive, and so it is rare that additional courses will be identified that would count toward the major. If you feel that you have a strong case, please submit an email request containing a copy of the course syllabus, justification for the exception, and to which elective core you feel the course should apply.

Can I work in a research lab for credit?

Sophomores and juniors are eligible to take NSCI 470 (Fall) or 471 (Spring) for credit toward their college requirements. The credit earned does not count toward completion of NSCI major requirements.

Who can serve as a Senior Research Mentor?

Only a faculty member member at Yale University can serve as a research mentor for Senior Research (i.e. Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor).

How do I find a research lab?

Please follow the link for our Roadmap to Research guide.

Research guide