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Departmental Honors

Neuroscience Departmental Honors Program

Graduation with Departmental Honors in Neuroscience signifies that a student has taken advantage of special opportunities. These opportunities include participation in the intellectual environment of courses with extra challenges as well as the stimulation of individual research that culminates in an honors thesis. College Honors status is not required.


The Neuroscience Departmental Honors Program is separate from the College Honors Program. College Honors credit for Departmental Honors courses may require a separate Honors Contract. Please see the Division of Honors in A-311 Murphy Hall for more information on the College Honors Program. 


Admission is restricted to Neuroscience majors who have completed the preparation for the Major with at least a 3.0 GPA and have achieved at least a 3.2 GPA overall at UCLA. Students may apply before all the preparation classes are completed, but will be dismissed from Departmental Honors if they do not finish all the preparation classes with the required 3.0 GPA.

OPTIONAL: To express your interest in pursuing the Neuroscience Departmental Honors program (and to help with planning out how to fulfill your requirements), please consider filling out the following form and/or make an appointment to meet with a Neuroscience Academic Advisor to review the requirements: Neuroscience Departmental Honors Program Interest Form (please note: this interest form or an advising appointment is not required to pursue departmental honors – submission of your first honors contract will indicate your participation in the departmental honors process).


1. Two courses with honors content: At least one of these courses must be a core class (NEUROSC M101A, M101B, M101C, 102), while the other can be an upper division elective for the major or a second core course. Please see the honors contract information below. These courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better and meet the terms of the contract to receive honors credit. “Honors content” can be earned in three ways: enroll in an honors course (e.g. PSYCH 119AH); enroll in an honors discussion section taught by the professor; complete an honors contract with the professor (this is the most common method).

​You can find the Neuroscience Departmental Honors Contract here:


(Departmental Honors contracts and NEUROSC 189HC contracts, which are for students pursuing both Departmental Honors and College Honors and created via MyUCLA, can be submitted via the Bruin Learn website.

NEUROSCIENCE 189HC Contracts (created through MyUCLA) are due to the Bruin Learn website by Noon on Wednesday of Week 2. ***Please make sure that 189HC contracts created for courses in other departments (i.e. PhySci, Psych, etc.) are submitted to those departments, approved by them, and you are enrolled by Friday of Week 2.*** 

Neuroscience Departmental Honors contracts (see form above) are due to the Bruin Learn website by 4:00 p.m. on Friday of Week 2.

Requirements for courses contracted for honors credit will vary widely. While a special term paper or readings may form the basis of the contract, other programs of study can be developed. Some suggestions are:

  • Use of primary sources and original documents.
  • Supplementation of coursework with independent study, research, surveys, field work, and on-the-scene experience.
  • Presentation of the student’s work in class or a part of the class by preparation of a lecture on one of the topics in the course (I.e. TED talk style) or the preparation of audio-visual supportive materials. Students could test new experiments, develop working models or demonstrations, and present them to the class.
  • Honors work should enable students to “dig beneath the surface”, to individually explore particular areas of interest and points of view, and to design and execute special projects.
  • Application of coursework outside of class.
  • Take advantage of local resources such as regional libraries and community projects.
  • Form a group which meets regularly to explore current literature and new trends in the field.
  • Attend research meetings or department colloquia or regional or national scholarly meetings or other meetings pertinent to the course.
  • Organize honors discussion sections or laboratories. 

2. Honors Thesis: Honors theses are based on empirical research with scholarly review of related literature. To complete the Honors thesis, the student must enroll in Neuroscience 198A and 198B. It is important that the student contact potential faculty sponsors well in advance, because one or more quarters of preparation may be necessary before the start of the thesis.  Neuroscience M101A + SRP 99 (or departmental 199 research contract) are prerequisites. NEUROSC 198A/B will be used in lieu of NEUROSC 199A/B and the student must follow all rules and meet all deadlines for Neuroscience 199s. The thesis will be evaluated by the sponsoring faculty member and a second reader. The second reader must be a tenure track faculty member in a closely related field and should be suggested by the advisor. The readers will make recommendations to the Chair of the IDP concerning the quality of the thesis (Not Honors, Honors, or Highest Honors).

3. NEUROSC 191H: (Prerequisite: one Statistics course) This course must be taken during the Winter Quarter of the academic year that the student enrolls in NEUROSC 198A/B. This seminar is designed to bring honors students together to discuss scientific communication, ethics and current literature with a faculty member. This course is not applicable toward the elective requirements for the major; it is applicable toward the university upper division requirement. The Neuroscience advisors will reach out to students in Fall Quarter to collect enrollment information from students planning to take this course.

4. G.P.A. Requirement: To be awarded Departmental Honors, the student must have completed all required courses and have a G.P.A. of at least 3.4 in the major (not including the prep) and at least 3.2 overall and the student’s thesis must be given a rating of Honors or Highest Honors by both readers. For Highest Honors, the G.P.A. in the major (not including the prep) must be at least 3.7, the overall G.P.A. must be at least 3.5, and the student’s thesis must be given a rating of Highest Honors by both readers.