Guidelines for Successfully Mentoring an Undergraduate Neural Science Honors Thesis
Honors theses should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at DUS@cns.nyu.edu.
Spring grads: Theses are due by 5pm on the Friday before spring break in order to be considered for university and departmental prizes. If absolutely necessary, students who do not want their work to be considered for prizes can turn their theses in by 5pm on May 1.
Fall grads: Theses are due by 5pm on December 1. University and departmental prizes are only issued in the spring, but fall theses will be considered for these prizes.
Production of the Thesis Document:
The student is expected to play a leading role in at least part of the study or studies that is to make up the honors thesis project. While students can rarely see a whole project through from start to finish, the student’s responsibility for the sub-project that is typically the focus of a thesis project should be carried out by the student with guidance from lab members/mentors. This includes data gathering, data analysis and writing up the thesis in its entirety. **Note that we ask that all theses include a statement of exactly how the student contributed to the work. Students should not only be responsible for gathering data on their own, but should also be responsible for running the statistics presented in the thesis as well.
The lab head or a designated mentor from the lab (i.e., graduate student or post-doc) should take responsibility for teaching the student, guiding them through the research process, and ensuring that they have done the relevant background reading to get a firm grasp of the scientific themes of the lab and of their specific part of the project. All mentors are encouraged to read drafts as well as final submitted version of the thesis document to sign to ensure that the thesis meets the scientific standard of the lab.
Does the student have enough data to produce a thesis?
The goal of the thesis is for students to attempt to answer a research question in a thoughtful and scientifically sound way. So, while ideally students will gather and meaningfully analyze a large amount of data, we all know science is not predictable and sometimes the best laid plans do not work out. Strong theses can address these issues, explaining not only what results were found, but also descriptions of the data the student attempted to gather and an extensive discussion of the reasons for the lack of data and/or of the kind of data that could be gathered in the future.
Please reach out to the neural science director of undergraduate studies at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about these instructions/suggestions.