There are many undergraduate research opportunities available to neuroscience majors in the labs of the Neuroscience Institute faculty. Our undergraduate researchers learn how to design experiments, conduct experiments with cutting edge techniques, analyze data, interpret results, write scientific papers, and make presentations. This complete research experience is individually arranged with the faculty director of each laboratory. We encourage all of our students to join a lab as an undergraduate researcher as early as they can.
Undergraduate research positions are arranged one-on-one between the undergraduate and the faculty director of each laboratory.
Some important facts to consider:
- No prior research experience is necessary for most undergraduate research positions
- Undergraduate researchers are most often unpaid volunteers, though limited financial assistance can sometimes be arranged with the faculty director of each laboratory
- Undergraduate research volunteers often devote 10-20 hours/week to the laboratory
- NEUR 4980, Undergraduate Research in Neuroscience, provides course credit for your research
Steps to joining a lab:
- Look through the list of Core, Associate and Affiliate Neuroscience Institute Faculty and identify a faculty member whose research you find inspiring. You can also find faculty by browsing through the Neuroscience Institute Research Areas.
- Send an e-mail to that faculty member letting them know that you are interested in an undergraduate research position. They want to know:
- Why you are interested in his/her research
- What you want to learn
- How the experience fits your educational plans and goals
- How much time you can devote to the research
- Whether you want to receive course credit, pay, or to volunteer
- What relevant courses you have taken
- What laboratory experience you may have
- When you can meet to discuss your involvement
- Meet with the faculty lab director
Be sure you come with knowledge of their research, questions about their research, and an idea of how you see yourself fitting into the lab
Resources are limited and faculty lab directors may not always have open undergraduate research positions. Sometimes, your interests and the faculty member’s interests don’t align. If you are not offered an undergraduate research position, don’t get discouraged, begin again why, and use that new knowledge to begin again with another faculty member!
Already engaged in research?
- Ask about a Brains & Behavior Summer Scholarship
Ask your faculty lab advisor about continuing your research through the summer using a
Brains & Behavior Summer Scholarship.
- Join a scientific society
The major neuroscientific societies have undergraduate members who attend meetings, present results, and participate in other benefits of membership. Some of these are:
- Present your research at a scientific conference
Many neuroscientific societies provide opportunities for undergraduates to present research. In addition, the GSU Research Conference provides an annual meeting for undergraduates to present their research.
- Publish your research
The endpoint of a scientific project is publishing your results in a scientific journal to inform the world about what you have found. Scientific journals will accept and publish papers from anyone, including undergraduates, so long as the paper meets accepted standards of scientific quality. Your faculty advisor is your best source of help on this.