Information for Students

Student applications are now being accepted through February 17, 2017.

Bass Connections: Brain & Society offers

  • Scholarship driven by current issues facing society
  • Synergistic research with students and faculty from diverse disciplines
  • Summer research experience
  • Class credit opportunities during spring and/or fall semesters
  • The opportunity to work in tandem with Duke faculty

The program requires commitment of one summer session and one academic year. 

Summer program expectations:

Students accepted to a Bass Connections: Brain & Society team are expected to complete a summer component AND two semesters of independent study with the project team. Summer components range from 6-10 weeks in length, and dates are indicated for each team. Students receive a living stipend for their summer work, but are expected to acquire their own housing. The required two semesters of independent study MAY qualify for credit within the student’s major, depending upon the nature of the project and major’s requirements. Projects not aligning with major requirements will receive credit towards the general curriculum. Students are expected to work approximately 40 hours per week during the summer component.

Prior research experience is not required.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Brain & Society team?

A Brain & Society team consists of two or more faculty, one or more postdoctoral fellows or graduate/professional students, and 3-5 undergraduates. Team members are selected from a variety of disciplines and come with varying skills. For example, a team focused on connections of neuroscience to education might include undergraduates with majors in developmental psychology, computer science, philosophy and neuroscience. The typical lifespan of a team is anticipated to be about one and a half years, with opportunities for renewal. Learn about the 2017-2018 teams.

How are Brain & Society team members selected?

Brain & Society teams are formed around faculty interests. Graduate students or postdoctoral fellows are typically recruited based on the connections to faculty members or the topic area. Undergraduates are either recruited by faculty members or through an open application call which begins in late January. Program staff assist in assembling a balanced team for each project.

What topics do Brain & Society teams investigate?

Brain & Society teams can approach any topic within the broad theme of “brain and society,” with substantial flexibility therein. Most topics will be faculty-generated, based on shared interests that connect to some interdisciplinary and real-world issue. Brain and Society directors are available to facilitate collaborations and assist with interest matching.

What if I'm not ready to commit to a research team, but interested in interdisciplinary work?

There are many ways to learn about interdisciplinary research and begin exploring prior to joining a team. Students are always welcome to attend scholarly lectures advertised on the DIBS events listing. In addition, the following courses represent neuroscience offerings that have a "brain & society" orientation (check official course listings for course times and availability):

  • Neuroscience and Human Language
  • Flaubert's Brain: Neurohumanities
  • The Mimetic Brain: Literature and Cognition
  • Philosophy and Neuroscience
  • Neuroethics
  • Looking Inside the Disordered Brain
  • Sex/Gender - Nature/Nurture: Intersections of Biology and Society
  • Social and Affective Neuroscience
  • Neuroscientific Approaches to Social Behavior
  • Neuroscience of Movement and Athletic Performance
  • Topics in Literature and Neuroscience
  • Educational Neuroscience
  • Behavior and Neurochemistry
  • Biology of Nervous System Diseases
  • Auditory Neuroscience - From Sound to Music
  • Neuroscience and Multilingualism
  • Reward and Addiction
  • Cognitive and Neurolinguistics
  • Computational Neuroengineering
  • Brain and Language
  • Neural Prosthetic Systems
  • Topics in Philosophy of Mind
  • Learning and Cognition in Humans, Animals, and Robots
  • Biological Pathways to Psychopathology

Learn more about DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


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