Research Opportunities

Research is an important component in the investigation of the biological basis of behavior. Undergraduates in the Neuroscience majors can participate in research opportunities with faculty in the Program as well as across the University. These experiences can enhance the college experience beyond traditional coursework.

What are the benefits of getting involved in research?

  • Gaining hands-on experience that will extend classroom learning.
  • Increased competitiveness and training for graduate school, medical school, and other career opportunities.
  • Building important connections with professors, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who can help you reach your career goals.
  • Research experience can fulfill course electives.

What kinds of research opportunities are available?

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP): current high school seniors entering FSU in the Fall, transfer students and current FSU first year students can apply to UROP. Accepted students will choose a topic from a list of approved projects and are paired with a Research Mentor. More Information.

Directed Individual Study (DIS):DIS is independent work done outside of the classroom in a Neuroscience faculty lab. Any student can participate in a DIS as long as they meet the requirements of the lab in which they wish to join. DIS is a great way to gain valuable laboratory experience for which you can receive up to 6 elective credit hours.

Honors in the Major Program (HITM): Advanced students in their junior or senior year with at least one semester of DIS experience may have opportunities to conduct their own research under the supervision of a faculty member through the HITM program. Students should discuss the possibility of completing an honors thesis with their DIS faculty advisor and meet with the Honors Liaison for Neuroscience BEFORE applying to the HITM program.

Behavioral Neuroscience majors completing HITM will enroll in the Psychology Honors course, PSY 4039, regardless of research topic or faculty affiliation.

Cell and Molecular Neuroscience majors completing HITM will enroll in the Biology Honors course, BSC 4970, regardless of research topic or faculty affiliation.

What can I expect from a DIS research opportunity?

Neuroscience research can involve either human subjects or non-human subjects such as rodents, birds, fish, fruit flies or cell culture. DIS generally requires a two semester, 9-10 hours per week commitment outside of course work. Please be sure to do an honest review of your academic and extracurricular activities before committing to a lab.

Upon accepting an invitation to work in a lab, make sure tasks and grading expectations are clearly stated and understood by you and your faculty advisor. The progress and outcome of the DIS will vary depending on the lab environment. Some professors will require attendance at weekly laboratory meetings where the DIS student is expected to participate in the discussion and presentation of scientific papers. Other professors will require a research paper or project.

How can I secure a DIS research opportunity?

Contact a faculty member – Browse Neuroscience faculty webpages to get an idea of the types of ongoing research opportunities available through the Program in Neuroscience. Make a list of 3 – 5 faculty who are conducting research that interests you. Reach out to individual faculty via email to express your interest in their research and ask whether they are accepting new DIS students and would be willing to meet with you to discuss the possibility of you joining their lab. You may attach a resume, particularly if you have some prior research experience.

Plan ahead – Start looking for a lab no later than midway through the semester BEFORE you intend to begin DIS work. This will increase your chance of securing a DIS, as research positions for undergraduate students are limited.

How do I enroll in a DIS research opportunity?

DIS is variable credit, usually 1-3 credit hours per semester as determined at the beginning of the semester. Up to six (6) hours of letter-graded DIS (PSY 4910 or BSC 4900) may be used as elective credit for the Neuroscience degree. You may only use DIS as elective credit for either Biology OR Psychology, NOT both. If you wish to discuss how to decide which is best for your degree progress, please contact Neuroscience Advising. Following acceptance to the lab, your faculty advisor will give you a permission code to add the DIC course to your schedule.