Research Scholars Program
The Research Scholars Program in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), McGovern Institute for Brain Research (MIBR), and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory (PILM), is a prestigious two-year, non-degree, fully funded post-baccalaureate program for outstanding recent college graduates who plan to pursue a research career in cognitive, systems or cellular neuroscience, cognitive science, computational cognitive science, computational neuroscience, or neuroengineering. This program is specifically designed to provide additional research and academic training to individuals from historically underrepresented minority groups and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, first-generation college students, students with disabilities, and veterans preparing to apply to PhD programs.
Participants will conduct supervised research in a lab of their choice, including several labs within MIT’s Yang-Tan research center community, and have the opportunity to take courses at MIT, and immerse themselves in the MIT culture and its academic rigors, while gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to become competitive PhD applicants and successful graduate students. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the representation of groups historically underrepresented in academic and industry leadership positions in the fields of brain and cognitive science and neuroengineering.
Scholars have access to the same activities as graduate students. In addition to conducting supervised research, they take courses for credit, attend seminars, meet with their assigned advisor on a regular basis and are able to experience first-hand the life of a graduate student and the culture of MIT. Participants receive a highly competitive stipend, health benefits and tuition remission. The stipend is matched to that of PhD students in the department.
All applicants must:
- Have US citizenship or US permanent residency (no exceptions)
- Be from under-represented minority groups and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
- Have graduated from a four-year accredited US institution by the start of the program. Preference will be given to students who have graduated from college within the last 24 months.
- Have strong academic records (minimum GPA of 3.3)
- Have majored or minored in a STEM field with some prior research experience and a demonstrated interest in pursuing a PhD degree
Priority will be given to applicants who had limited research opportunities in college. Physics, math, psychology, engineering and computer science majors who are interested in the brain are welcome to apply.
For more information, please contact: Mandana Sassanfar.
The program is based on average of 80% research effort and 20% academic enrichment and course work. Participants will be assigned an academic advisor, with whom they will meet on a monthly 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. Participants are strongly encouraged to start as MSRP students and will receive all of the benefits MSRP students receive. Students will start the BCS Post-bac program on September 1st and will receive a stipend, health insurance, tuition remission, and similar benefits offered to MIT graduate students.
Participants will conduct supervised research in a host laboratory in one or more of the following areas:
- Cellular and molecular neuroscience
- Cognitive neuroscience
- Cognitive science
- Computational neuroscience
- Systems 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. At the end of the first year, all participants will give a formal research presentation open to the BCS community.
Course work will be tailored to each individual's needs. Participants will take up to one course a semester for credit to build skills and knowledge in computational and quantitative methods, critical reading, analysis of primary research literature, and fundamental and advanced concepts in cognition and neuroscience.
Participants will prepare their graduate school application during the summer after completing their first year. Participants will be given guidance during the application process, learning what is required to submit a competitive application and have a successful interview, exploring funding opportunities for graduate school, and learning about various careers available to PhD degree holders.
Advancement to the second year will depend on the participant's performance review at the end of their first year. At the completion of the program, students will receive a certificate and an official transcript from MIT that documents the subjects and research completed in the department. It is expected that following the completion of the program, all participants will start a PhD program.
This program is funded by K. Lisa Yang, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.