Research Scholars Program in Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Research Scholars Program in Brain and Cognitive Sciences

The Research Scholars Program in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is a prestigious post-baccalaureate scholarship program for outstanding college graduates from under-represented minority groups or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who would benefit from additional course work or research experience to prepare them for graduate school in cognitive science, computational cognitive science, or neuroscience. This two-year, fully funded program allows Scholars to take courses at MIT, conduct supervised research in BCS labs, and immerse themselves in the MIT culture and experience its academic rigors, while gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to make them competitive graduate applicants, and successful graduate students.

For more information, please contact: Mandana Sassanfar, Ph.D. Outreach Officer MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Bldg. 46-2047 by Email: mandana@mit.edu

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Program structure

The program is based on a 70% research effort and 30% academic enrichment and course work. Participants will be assigned an academic advisor, with whom they will meet on a biweekly basis, and a research mentor (an MIT faculty member in the department of Brain and cognitive Sciences) who will host the student in his or her lab. Scholars will receive a weekly stipend, health insurance, access to MIT graduate student housing, tuition remission, and other benefits offered to MIT graduate students.

Course work
Course work will be tailored to each individual's needs. Participants will take one to two courses for credit per semester to build their skills and knowledge in computational and quantitative methods, critical reading, analysis of primary research literature, and fundamental and advanced concepts in cognition and neuroscience. Each participant will present their research on a monthly basis. Participants will prepare their graduate school application during the summer after completing their first year, take the GRE exam, learn about the various aspects of the graduate application process required for submitting a competitive application and having a successful interview, explore funding opportunities for graduate school, and learn about various careers available to Ph.D. degree holders.

Research
Participants will conduct supervised research in a host laboratory (85% in the summer, 70% during the academic year) in one the following areas: Cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, systems neuroscience, neuro-engineering, and cellular and molecular neuroscience. Participants will work in a fast-paced, supportive research environment and learn to become independent researchers, who can design and conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and present their work to both general and specialized audiences.

Completion of Program
At the completion of the BCS Research Scholars Program, students will receive an official transcript from MIT that documents the subjects and research completed in the department. It is expected that successful candidates will be fully prepared for graduate study at MIT or elsewhere.

For more information, please contact: Mandana Sassanfar, Ph.D. Outreach Officer MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Bldg. 46-2047 by Email: mandana@mit.edu

Eligibility

This program is intended for individuals from under-represented minority groups, first-generation college students, socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or individuals with disabilities.

All applicants must:

  • have US citizenship or US permanent residency
  • have graduated from a four-year accredited US institution by the start of the program (graduating seniors and applicants who have received their undergraduate degree within the last 24 months are eligible to apply) 
  • have strong academic records (minimum GPA of 3.5)
  • have majored or minored in a STEM field with some prior research experience and a demonstrated interest in pursuing a PhD degree
Application, dates and deadlines

Program dates: July 2018- June 2020. The online application will go live on December 15th, 2017. Application deadline: February 28, 2018. Applicants will be informed of their application status by April 15.

For more information, please contact: Mandana Sassanfar, Ph.D. Outreach Officer MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Bldg. 46-2047 by Email: mandana@mit.edu