Research Opportunities in Neuroscience

Students use microscopes to work with leach ganglia.

Students use microscopes to work with leech ganglia.

Hands-on involvement in research is considered a central component of the neuroscience program at Lafayette College. This research enables you to experience what neuroscience research entails and offers you unparalleled opportunities to understand an aspect of neuroscience. You may even get to present your work at local or national meetings, or possibly publish your work in a refereed scientific journal. Neuroscience research will likely form a valuable capstone experience to your undergraduate education, and may play a major part in helping you develop and achieve your future goals. In fact, a survey by the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs found that approximately 80% of the students pursuing advanced degrees in neuroscience had undergraduate research experience.


Neuroscience majors may enroll in either Independent Study (Neur 391, 392), Advanced Research (Neur 491,492), or Thesis (Neur 495,496). The student works individually with a faculty mentor on a specific research project. Independent Study is typically taken by students who are interested in exploring a topic not available through regularly offered courses; it may include library or laboratory research. Advanced Research and Thesis are reserved for projects that emphasize original research. Depending on the scope of the research project, students will enroll in Advanced Research for either one or two semesters. No more than four credits of Advanced Research may be applied toward graduation or fulfillment of the degree requirements. Frequently, students will use Advanced Research as preparation for enrolling in Thesis (Neur 495,496).

On-Campus Research

EXCEL Scholars

Faculty may apply to hire students as EXCEL Scholars during the semester, interim or summer. This competitive program requires the student to have a 3.25 or higher GPA for consideration. EXCEL Scholars should expect to work with faculty on a project of mutual interest, and are paid for their work. Housing can also be provided over interim or during the summer.

Off-Campus Internships and Programs

LEARN Scholars

This pairs students with Lafayette alumni neuroscientists at research universities during the summer. Applications are accepted at the beginning of spring semester with work beginning at the end of May. The LEARN program pays a summer salary, summer housing, and transportation costs.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program

The program provides on-campus housing in cabins for all students, meals, and a $4,000 stipend for the 10-week program. Students are expected to give a short preliminary talk at the beginning of the summer and a final talk at the program’s symposium.

Brown University Summer Research-Early Identification Program (SR-EIP)

The program includes activities directed by your faculty mentor, participation in weekly meetings, and a variety of professional development activities sponsored by SR-EIP and the Brown community. In addition, participants will attend The Leadership Alliance National Symposium and present their research before faculty and peers. The program runs for a total of nine weeks, provides $3,600 stipend, and round-trip transportation to Providence, Rhode Island. Students are provided with housing in a suite with a kitchen and four single rooms.

Amgen Scholars Program at UCLA

Participants of this 10-week program are mentored by a UCLA faculty member of choice. Scholars attend weekly luncheons to meet and discuss science with invited faculty speakers and weekly workshops on various topics such as careers in science, learning how to write a personal statement, and how to give a research presentation. A three day Biotechnology Symposium, sponsored by the Amgen Foundation, is also included, along with a GRE test preparation course, a science writing course, a stipend of $3500, housing, and meals.