Independent Work Timeline
In the Fall semester of your junior year, you will participate in small group tutorials to discuss research papers from the primary literature. These tutorials provide an interactive format for you to learn to read and analyze current primary scientific literature — this is essential for you to develop new ideas about research and for formulating hypotheses.
You will participate in discussions headed by postdoctoral instructors once a week for 1.5 hours. The tutorial is broken into two 5-week sections, each with a distinct topic area. At the end of each section, you will be asked to write a short critique of a relevant research paper assigned by the instructor. Students will attend and participate in a total of 8 discussion groups and will write 2 short papers for the fall tutorial. See the 2021 Fall Tutorial Guide
(PDF) for important details.
In the Spring of junior year, individual faculty members will be advising you on your junior independent work. In most cases, you will continue working with this faculty adviser for your senior thesis in the following year.
In late September of junior year, NEU juniors will meet as a group with Professor Liz Gould and Dr. Paryn Wallace to discuss the process of adviser assignment.
In early October of junior year, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire ranking your preferences for research area and research approaches. You will also have the opportunity to communicate any specific research interests or experiences you would like the faculty to consider in the assignment process.
In early November of your junior year, you will be informed of your assigned adviser*, as well as next steps in setting up meetings and beginning independent work.
*Note that this process does not involve students reaching out directly to faculty. Selections will be made based on your preferences and faculty availability, after which meetings with your faculty adviser will be arranged.
One major product: Students’ Spring Independent Work culminates with the submission of a research proposal. This proposal will serve as the basis for your senior thesis work. As is typical of research proposals, the document will include a short survey of the literature.
The senior thesis in neuroscience is the culmination of original research conducted by the student with the guidance of a faculty member in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (including associated and affiliated members).
This comprehensive written work, ideally, is the application of the skills learned in coursework, Junior tutorials and Junior papers to an original research project. It is worth noting that a number of students generate original findings that are eventually incorporated into peer-reviewed scientific articles. See the Senior Thesis Guidelines and Structure
for more information.