Neuroscience Dual BS/MS Degree

Program Overview

The University of Montana Neuroscience Program now offers a combined Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Neuroscience with an emphasis on Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience. This five-year (“4 + 1”) accelerated program is specifically designed for students who have demonstrated academic excellence and are deeply interested in pursuing intensive research training in preparation for graduate/professional schools, or who wish to enter the biomedical/biotech sector with advanced standing.

The first 3 years of study are aligned with the existing Cellular & Molecular track of the B.S. in Neuroscience. Some students in the Cognitive & Behavioral track may also be eligible, depending upon their course selections. In the 4th year, students will take graduate neuroscience courses and complete their B.S. degree. This will allow students to enter the Neuroscience Graduate Program with advanced standing and, pending completion and defense of an M.S. thesis project, earn an M.S. in 5 years.

To enter to the Dual 5-years B.S./M.S. program students must be pursuing a B.S. in the Cellular & Molecular track (or the Cognitive & Behavioral track with appropriate course options) of the undergraduate Neuroscience major and apply before the end of the Autumn semester of their Junior year. Most importantly, students must identify a research mentor, project and plan of study as part of the application process. This may necessitate a student working in the laboratory of their prospective mentor during their Sophomore year.

We also recognize that there will be Neuroscience majors in their junior and senior years who will be unable to apply to this program because they are too far along in their study plans to meet the required time frame. This is an unfortunate consequence of starting any accelerated program and we regret any frustrations this may cause. We also hope a similar dual degree can be established in the near future that aligns with the Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience track. Neuroscience majors, especially those in their junior or sophomore years, who are interested in the BS/MS dual degree program should contact Professor Richard Bridges as soon as possible. Application materials and a program handbook will soon be available online.

Application

The Dual BS/MS Program in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience is available to undergraduate students enrolled in the BS program in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience that have carried out research in the lab of one of the Neuroscience faculty.

Application Fee

There is no application fee. An application fee will be charged by the UM Graduate School when BS/MS students formally apply to the UM Graduate Program during their senior year.

Timeline

A timeline for the program is available on the Dual BS/MS Degree Timeline page.

Importantly, as the application to the program requires that students already have a research mentor and project area identified, students are encouraged to talk with program advisors and/or faculty as a sophomore to begin working in a research lab.

BS/MS students will receive their B.S. degree in Neuroscience at the end of their Senior (4th) year, pending the completion of the required coursework and credits. Up to 16 credits of Neuroscience Graduate Program coursework that was completed during their Senior year will be applied to the BS degree. Students will enter the Neuroscience Graduate Program with advanced standing because of the graduate coursework completed during their Senior year. During their “5th” year, students complete any necessary coursework and complete their research project with a written thesis and defense as approved by their graduate research committee, after which an M.S. degree in Neuroscience will be awarded.

Funding

Importantly, the University of Montana does not provide guaranteed support in the form of stipends and/or tuition waivers for BS/MS students during their time in the MS portion of the program. Similarly, Graduate Teaching Assistantships are generally not available for students in this program. Thus, students should enter the program with the expectation that they will be responsible for tuition and fees during the 1-year MS portion of the program. Prospective students should discuss opportunities for salary support with their research mentor during the preparation of their application to the BS/MS program.