Graduation ceremony photo students

Honors in the Major/Senior Thesis

Why complete Honors in the Major?

Honors in the Major (HM) -Neurobiology is intended for students who are interested in original research and who wish to graduate with the best possible undergraduate training in neurobiology. Students must communicate their intent to complete HM – Neurobiology with a Neurobiology Major advisor. Honors in the Major must also be declared with L&S Honors Program, complete an L&S Honors in the Major declaration form.


Requirements – Honors in the Major

To earn the B.A. or B.S. with Honors in Neurobiology, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major and the following additional requirements:
• Earn a 3.300 University GPA
• Earn 3.300 GPA in all major courses.
• Complete at least 14 credits in honors courses in the Neurobiology Major while in residence at UW-Madison. This requirement can be broken down as indicated below:

o Two of the following 3 Required Neuroscience Courses for honors:
PSYCHOLOGY 454- Behavioral Neuroscience
ZOOLOGY 523- Neurobiology
ZOOLOGY 500- Neuroscience Seminar
o At least 1 additional Distributed Neuroscience Course for honors (see our courses page).
o 6 credits of a Two-semester Senior Honors Thesis – 681-682; a Course Authorization Form may be required to enroll. The Honors Thesis project MUST show relevance to a neuroscience-related topic.


Senior Honors Thesis AND Senior Thesis

Proposal Due Date: By the end of the first week of classes. This proposal needs to be approved by the Neurobiology Major before you can enroll in thesis credits. Email a single PDF copy to Dr. Catherine Auger: cauger@wisc.edu.

Proposal submission steps (in one PDF file) include:

1. An Honors Thesis/Senior Thesis proposal form , this should be signed by you and your mentor. If a dual honors thesis is intended, you must still submit a proposal to Neurobiology, and note that you are pursuing a dual thesis on this form. Please talk to your Neurobiology advisor before beginning your research. 

2. A 2-3 page double-spaced proposal for your thesis project. This proposal should include the following components:

A. Experimental question
B. Rationale for this experiment
C. Description of the methods
D. The expected results
The thesis proposal MUST show relevance to a neuroscience-related topic.

3. A Course Authorization Form to be given authorization to enroll in thesis courses in Zoology.

    • Honors Thesis – enroll in 681 semester 1, and 682 semester 2
    • Senior Thesis – enroll in 691 semester 1, and 692 semester 2
    • A Course Authorization Form must be submitted before enrolling each semester.

Thesis Due Date: The Monday after finals week. A signed electronic copy of the thesis is due to the Neurobiology Major (see Thesis title page template link below). Additional formatting guidelines are linked below. If you are unsure about appropriate formatting see your Neurobiology Major advisor. Email a single PDF copy to Dr. Catherine Auger: cauger@wisc.edu.

Grading: It is the responsibility of your mentor to grade your final thesis. Once you have finished writing, turn in your thesis to your faculty mentor for grading. The final version of the thesis must be graded before submission to the Neurobiology Major.  Your faculty mentor must also input your grade into their Faculty Center. The Neurobiology Major does not grade your thesis.

Where to Submit Proposals and Final Thesis: A single PDF copy should be emailed to Dr. Catherine Auger :cauger@wisc.edu.

Useful links for students completing a Honors/Senior Thesis:
• A timeline for completing the thesis can be found on the L&S Honors Program website.
Formatting guidelines can be found here.
• The writing center can help with every aspect of the writing process.
Thesis title page template
• The UT-Austin Senior Thesis Manual provides useful guidelines and tips for writing the thesis.