While research is not required for all majors, BBB encourages its majors to independent study credit within the major (BBB 399 and 499). BBB students have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of professors who study neuroscience, including those in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Dentistry. Engaging in research provides undergraduates the chance to not only learn new information, but to appreciate and experience the excitement of discovering new information.
Students interested in finding a laboratory in which to pursue research should first think about the area(s) of neuroscience most interesting to them. Students may then review a list of topics under current investigation by members of the Neuroscience Graduate Group at Penn online at http://www.med.upenn.edu/ngg/faculty_categories.shtml. Under each heading, students will find a list of researchers and links to more detailed descriptions of their work. Students are encouraged to contact professors to inquire about research opportunities in their lab early in the semester before the term for which they wish to receive BBB 399 credit. Professors are accustomed to being approached by students, and if they have an opening, they will typically also have an outline of the project. Still, it is advisable to be courteous when approaching the lab, and to ask about the full range of lab research objectives, as well as their expectations of you.
After meeting with one or more potential research advisors, students may choose the laboratory in which they would like to pursue an independent project. A short research proposal must be submitted to the BBB Office no later than the end of the first week of classes in order to be considered for credit. Students who wish to continue their research for a second term may be considered for BBB 499, Honors Thesis research, if their GPA is above 3.3. Students may count up to 2 semesters of research credit towards their BBB elective requirements. Students pursuing BBB 499 must meet additional requirements in order to graduate with honors. Those requirements are listed on the BBB website at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/bbb/research/honors. These including completing a 400 level BBB class, participating in the honor seminar and presenting in the research symposium. Students whose GPA is below 3.3 can still receive BBB credit for completing a second semester of BBB399, and can continue doing research under BBB399 for credit, although only 2 research credits can be counted for the major. Please note that if students are working in the laboratory for pay, they are not eligible to also receive credit for this work.