Distinguished Majors Program

All neuroscience majors are encouraged to apply for the Distinguished Major Program (DMP) during their sixth semester. The Program culminates in writing a thesis of empirical research done under the mentorship of a faculty member who directs research in neuroscience. The requirements for admission to the DMP are:

  • Satisfaction of all college requirements as stated in this record with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 in the student’s college and university courses;
  • A GPA of at least 3.4 in all courses taken as part of the Neuroscience Major;
  • A brief (1-2 page) proposal of the project, outlining the research question to be pursued, methods to be used, and expected outcomes that would support the hypothesis. A timetable to complete the project and a written endorsement of the work by the faculty member who will sponsor the distinguished major project should also be included.

Paperwork needs to be completed and approved before the end of classes in the sixth semester.

To gain admission to the DMP, the student submits his/her cumulative and Neuroscience GPA (with transcripts) and a proposal to the Director of the DMP. The names of the primary (i.e., mentor) and secondary faculty readers and the declared graduation date must also be included. Once admitted, the student registers for three credits of NESC 4970 in the first semester of the fourth year. In this course, students conduct research under the supervision of a UVA faculty member who directs research in neuroscience. In the second semester, the student registers for NESC 4980 to complete any unfinished research and write a thesis. The research project is intended to foster independent thought and develop the student’s critical ability to formulate and conduct scientific research. The date of the student’s final submission of the DMP thesis to the committee is two weeks before the last day of classes for that semester. The two-member faculty committee (mentor and second reader) reports its evaluation of the thesis to the DMP Director by the first day of the exam period. The executive committee of the major then considers the thesis evaluation, along with the student’s academic record, to submit a final level of distinction (Distinction, High Distinction, and Highest Distinction) to the College Registrar. Students also receive a grade for NESC 4970 and NESC 4980. Graduation with Distinction as part of the Distinguished Majors Program requires a GPA of 3.4 or greater both in cumulative and NESC Major courses.

For further information on entering the Distinguished Major Program in Neuroscience, students should contact the current director, JC Cang.