Independent Work Timeline


Junior Year

JP Tutorials

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 meets for 8 weeks. At the end, you will be asked to write a short critique of a relevant research paper assigned by the instructor. See the 2022 Fall Tutorial Guide (PDF) for important details.


AdvisEr Assignment Process

At the start of Fall semester of junior year, you will be assigned a faculty adviser for your independent work. In most cases, you will continue working with this faculty adviser for your senior thesis in the following year.

In August before the semester starts, NEU juniors 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 late September 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. Students are strongly encouraged to start planning their independent work with their faculty adviser during the Fall semester. 

*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.  

Spring Junior Year

Junior 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.

You should expect to meet with your advisor several times to formulate the project and discuss the literature. See the Junior Spring Independent Work Guidelines and Structure for more information.


Senior Thesis

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.  See the Senior Thesis Guidelines and Structure for more information.