University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

Research Opportunities

The Department of Neuroscience encourages interested undergraduate majors to gain research experience within an active neuroscience laboratory. Most undergraduates who enroll in research for credit are interested in completing an independent project that results in an undergraduate thesis.

Finding a lab

After you identify area(s) of interest

Once you find an open lab position

Neuroscience Undergraduate Research Courses:

NROSCI 1901, Independent Study

This course is intended as the first research experience in a laboratory. Students typically immerse themselves in the research that is ongoing in the laboratory, attend laboratory meetings, meet frequently with the faculty mentor to discuss research and acquire skills necessary for doing original research in the laboratory. If the student decides to continue research and do a thesis, the student will begin to focus on the hypotheses he wants to investigate and begin designing the requisite experiments. Of course, this is all done in close collaboration with the faculty mentor and is usually an integral part of, or a related tangent, from the mentor’s current research focus.

NROSCI 1961, Thesis Research

Students enroll in this course if they plan to continue research that culminates in a thesis. Students perform the experiments that will form the basis of the thesis; attend lab meetings and have regular meetings with their faculty mentor. This course is typically taken for at least two terms, although the length depends on the specific project.

NROSCI 1962, Thesis Writing Practicum

This course will fulfill the departmental writing course requirement. The student is usually enrolled concurrently in NROSCI 1961 and has collected the majority of the data needed to write the thesis. The student will need to complete a Thesis Writing Practicum Agreement to register for this course. The student will also need to select a committee composed of the faculty mentor and at least one other faculty member to act as a thesis reader. One member of the committee must be a primary faculty member from the Department of Neuroscience.

Contact the Undergraduate Advising Office at 412-624-5156 to register for research courses.

Life Sciences Research Certificate

Life Sciences Research Certificate

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences 

Undergraduate Certificate in Life Sciences Research

Objectives:

Overview

For more information, please download handout here.

Student Application

Faculty Application

Checklist

 

Fellowship Opportunities

Brackenridge Undergraduate Research Fellowships

These fellowships are named for Hugh Brackenridge (1748-1816), the founder of the University of Pittsburgh. They support full-time undergraduate students on the Oakland campus while they devote full-effort to conducting an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. These Fellowships are open to undergraduates from any field.

Who may apply

Full-time, undergraduate students on the Oakland campus who are sponsored by and working with a full-time faculty member during the Fellowship. The fellowship is open students from any field and any class, including freshmen as well as seniors.

Fall/Spring

These awards support University of Pittsburgh undergraduates who conduct an independent research project, participate in a weekly seminar in which Fellows present and discuss their projects, and attend a series of (almost) weekly faculty lectures. The fellowship awards a stipend of $800; in addition, it requires students to register for 1 credit of research. Please note that if the 1 credit pushes a fellowship winner over 18 credits, with special permission the Fellow may register for this credit in a later term.

Approximately 20-25 awards will be made each term. The student Fellows must be able to attend one of two weekly student seminars and the Honors College's Friday Faculty Lectures (2:00 - 2:50 p.m.), when faculty members will give presentations about their work. (Students who are unable to attend the faculty presentations because of a schedule conflict will not necessarily be eliminated from consideration; they will be offered an alternative way to make up for missing these lectures.)

Projects may be analytic or purely creative. Fellows are selected on the basis of their academic record,the quality of the proposal, the originality and promise of their proposed projects, as well as their aspiration to create and participate in an interdisciplinary community of students in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and applied disciplines.

Deadlines

For the 2017 Fall Term awards: FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

 

Summer

Brackenridge Fellows receive a stipend of $3,500 for the summer (mid-May through July) to assure that they can devote themselves full-time to their projects and the associated responsibilities without having to support themselves by means of a summer job. Fellows may not take a summer course or hold a summer job. Approximately 40 to 45 awards will be made.

In addition to working on their individual research projects, all Fellows must be available to attend weekly seminars during which students present reports on their research, a series of lectures given by some of the faculty mentors throughout the summer, and the 2½-day retreat of the entire group on the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown campus (tentatively scheduled for May 15-17, 2017) which starts the summer program. Students are also encouraged to participate in informal workshops, typically initiated by the Fellows themselves, which allow further discussions of their research projects and other subjects of interest.

Deadlines

For the 2017 Summer Term awards: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2017

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

 

CNUP Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Each summer, the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP) sponsors a 10-week program in which selected undergraduate students conduct research investigating diverse aspects of nervous system function under the guidance of individual CNUP training faculty. The 2017 CNUP Summer Undergraduate Research Program will begin on Tuesday, May 30. The program includes a $3,500 stipend, housing at no cost in a double-occupancy, on-campus dormitory, and a ConnectCard to ride Port Authority public transportation buses.

Program Goals

Deadlines

For the 2017 summer program:  FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

Who may apply
  1. Appplicants must have completed their sophomore or junior year of undergraduate training before the start of the program.
  2. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 ("B") or higher; strong performance in science, math, and related coursework is especially important.
  3. Applicants must be undergraduate students currently enrolled full-time at a U.S. college or university.
  4. International applicants will be required to provide official authorization for Optional Practical Training (OPT) from their home institution, prior to their arrival in Pittsburgh.
  5. Note: Students who envision their future in clinical medicine typically will not be competitive for this fellowship, unless that vision also includes an important potential role for laboratory-based neuroscience research.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

 

CTMHR Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship

The Center for Translational Mental Health Research (CTMHR) Undergraduate Research Fellowship provides highly talented undergraduate students with early-career, hands-on engagement in cutting edge neuroscience research. Research opportunities focus on schizophrenia and related disorders, and the neurobiological systems behind these illnesses. Fellows begin the program during the summer following the freshman or sophomore year with a full-time, 10-week research experience supported by a $4,000 stipend.

Deadlines

For the 2017 Summer Fellowship: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

Who may apply

The program is designed for students enrolled at an institution in the greater Pittsburgh area. Only students in their freshman or sophomore years are eligible to apply. 

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

 

Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowships


The Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowship is intended to support student involvement in independent research under the direction of a faculty mentor. Up to ten $800 fellowships, administered by the University Honors College (UHC), are offered to encourage the enrichment of the students' experience in defining objectives and selecting methodologies appropriate to original research in their chosen field of study. The fellowships are available for one term, either fall or spring.

Deadlines

For the 2017 Fall Term: FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017

For the 2018 Spring Term: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2017

Who may apply

Undergraduate students who are sponsored by and working with a faculty member during the upcoming fall or spring term may apply. Students also must be registered for courses full time during the term for which the fellowship is awarded. Preference is given to applicants with a 3.25 cumulative GPA.

PLEASE NOTE: Students can apply for both the Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a Fall/Spring Brackenridge Fellowship in the same term; however, because the Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Fellowship are awarded before the Fall/Spring Brackenridge Fellowships are awarded, if offered a Chancellor's Undergradate Research Fellowship, your name will be withdrawn from consideration for the Fall/Spring Brackenridge Fellowship in that term.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

 

Chancellor's Undergraduate Teaching Fellowships

Ten $800 undergraduate teaching fellowships, awarded for joint student-faculty teaching projects and administered by the University Honors College (UHC), are available for each term.

These fellowships are offered to encourage the enrichment of course offerings and to improve teaching through the collaboration of faculty members with students in the planning and implementation of creative teaching projects. The fellowships are available for one term, either fall or spring.

Deadlines

For the 2017 Fall Term: FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017

For the 2018 Spring Term: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2017

Who may apply

Undergraduate students who are sponsored by and working with a faculty member teaching an undergraduate-level course during the upcoming fall or spring term may apply for a fellowship. Although it is not necessary that the applicants complete the course they wish to participate in teaching, superior background and knowledge of the course is expected. Students also must be registered for courses full time during the term for which the fellowship is awarded. Preference is given to applicants with a 3.25 cumulative GPA.

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.

Summer Undergraduate Research Awards

The Summer Undergraduate Research Awards (of the Office of Undergraduate Research,
Scholarship, and Creative Activity
) provide a $3,500 stipend to conduct independent research over the course of the summer. Titles of recent SURA topics range from "Internet Memes and Popular Culture" to "The Mirror and the Mind: Medieval Literary Mirrors and the Neuroscience of the Mirror Response." SURA recipients also enroll in a 12-week summer SURA course to learn how to communicate their research findings to a general audience.

As part of the summer awards program, all SURA recipients participate in an ethics workshop where ethics case studies are discussed with Dietrich School faculty and staff members from the Academic Resource Center and OUR. Because ethical concerns are inherent in every kind of research, the ethics workshop provides students, faculty, and staff with a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the kinds of ethical concerns that will guide young scholars far into the future.

Deadline

For the 2017 Summer Term: FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017

Who may apply

Applications will be accepted from any Dietrich School undergraduate who:

For more information, including how to apply, please visit this link.