BA/MA Program in Neuroscience

Program Director: Prof. Sarah Raskin

General Program Description

 This accelerated BA/MA program is intended for superior students who have demonstrated academic excellence, who have already inaugurated an approved research project and who intend to continue their graduate or professional education.
We anticipate that students who could spend one year seeing a research project to completion will strengthen their future graduate school applications and will acquire tremendously useful research skills. Students will be expected to complete both BA and MA degrees within 5 years.  Since courses will be co-listed for graduate and undergraduate credit, students will need to take at least 4 courses for graduate credit during their undergraduate years in fulfillment of requirements for an undergraduate major in neuroscience.


This program is restricted to Trinity College students.

Before applying, students are expected to:

  • Be an undergraduate at Trinity College in good standing and have declared their major field of study to be neuroscience
  • Have completed NESC 201 Principles of Neuroscience with a grade of B- or better
  • Have completed either NESC 201 lab or NESC 301 with a grade of B- or better
  • Have already completed sufficient research under the supervision of a Trinity College neuroscience faculty member for them to be able to comment on the student's abilities
  • Have a specific research project in mind for the thesis that has been approved by this same faculty member

Acceptance will be based on satisfactory academic performance as indicated by having earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 and on written approval from a Trinity College faculty sponsor who accepts the student for a continuing research project.


Applications are due either on April 1 of the sophomore year or December 1 of the Junior year.

  • Applicants must have completed or be about to complete at least 4 terms of study at Trinity College with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all subjects and in neuroscience.
  • To be considered, applicants must submit a detailed description of their major research project as approved by a member of the neuroscience faculty who has agreed to supervise the project and who supports it in a written recommendation.
  • Applications must be accompanied by a second letter of recommendation from a regular member of the faculty of Trinity College.
  • Applications, along with all supporting documentation, must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office (Trinity Commons, Room 113), using the application form for the BA/MA program in neuroscience, no later than April 1 of an applicant's sophomore year or December 1 of the junior year.
  • The Dean of Graduate Studies will forward applications meeting the above criteria to the Neuroscience Coordinating Committee for consideration. Applicants will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision by the beginning of registration for the subsequent term.

Applicants to this program should understand that not everyone who meets the minimum qualifications above will be selected for participation. Factors such as the academic quality of the proposed research project, availability of faculty and laboratory resources to support particular research projects, and other considerations may influence the Committee’s decision.


 To earn a BA/MA in Neuroscience, students must complete all requirements for a BA in Neuroscience, including at least 4 courses for graduate credit that can be simultaneously applied toward requirements for the BA, a 1-credit graduate research seminar (0.5 credit each term), 2 credits of independent research (generally the undergraduate senior thesis), one additional graduate elective course, and a 2-credit master’s thesis for a grade of B- or better. To receive an MA degree, a minimum graduate GPA of 2.667 must be earned.

The thesis will be evaluated by the Neuroscience Coordinating Committee to determine that it meets the requirements for a master’s degree and, as appropriate, honors consideration.

Either as part of the requirements of the major, or in addition, BA/MA students are required to complete the following courses. In addition to a graduate research seminar, independent graduate research, and the master’s thesis, at least five of the courses listed below (co-listed for graduate/undergraduate credit) must be taken for graduate credit. Students taking courses for graduate credit will be expected to complete additional writing or laboratory assignments and will be graded with expectations commensurate with graduate level work.

 Required Courses (five total)*:
Two of the following three courses:
NESC 401/801, Neurochemistry (1 credit).
NESC 402/802, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (1 credit).
ENGR 316/NESC 816, Neural Engineering (1 credit).
PSYC 391/NESC 891,  Psychology of Language (1 credit).
PSYC 334/NESC 834, Current Issues in Cognition  (1 credit).
PHIL 374/NESC 874, Minds and Brains (1 credit).
PSYC 302/NESC 302, Behavioral Neuroscience (1 credit).
NESC 362/862, Neuroethology (1 credit).
PSYC 392/NESC 392, Human Neuropsychology (1 credit).
PSYC 365/NESC 365, Cognitive and Social Neuroscience (1 credit).
*Courses offered at the University of Connecticut Health Center or the University of Hartford may substitute for some of the above courses. See the Program Director for additional information and permission.

 Typical Schedule

Fall​ Spring Summer After
​Sophomore ​PSYC 261 Brain & Behavior
NESC 301 Neuroscience Methodology
Research Assistant
​NESC 201 Principles of Neuroscience
Research Assistant
​Summer Research
Assistant (optional)
Junior​ ​Research Assistant ​One graduate-level course
Research Assistant
​Summer Research
Assistant (optional)
Senior​ ​One or two graduate-level courses
NESC 498 Senior Thesis
(or NESC 951) required
One or two graduate-level courses
NESC 499 Senior Thesis
(or NESC 951) required
​Summer Research
(1.0 credit required)
Fifth Year​ ​One graduate-level course
Graduate Seminar (0.5 credit)
NESC 953 Thesis (1.0 credit)
Graduate Seminar (0.5 credit)
NESC 954 Thesis (1.0 credit)
Note: Completion of a research project suitable for a thesis will require residence through at least one summer.

Total graduate credits = 10

In order to earn Honors in Graduate Scholarship, students must compile a cumulative GPA of 3.750 (no rounding) in  graduate-level courses.

Other Considerations

Students who enroll for at least 2 credits per fall and spring terms may be eligible for student loans.
Although housing cannot be guaranteed, on some occasions students might serve as paid research assistants, teaching assistants, or residence assistants.