It’s one of the toughest programs to get into and considered the best program of its kind in the world. Now the new undergraduate neurosciences program also acclaims 100 per cent of its first graduating class achieved First Class Honours.
The University of Calgary awards first class honours to students with a GPA of 3.60 or better over the last 15 full-course equivalents of their degree. This is an honour earned by all 12 of the graduating students of the neuroscience program.
“An accomplishment such as this really speaks to the calibre of students the University of Calgary is producing,” says Cam Teskey, the incumbent education director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. “This is a terrific bunch of students. Everybody should be very proud.”
The undergraduate neuroscience degree program – developed in response to the rapid growth in neuroscience research and launched in September 2008 – is a collaboration of the faculties of science, arts and medicine, and is designed to offer students an interdisciplinary experience.
The curriculum draws on the vast neuroscience expertise that exists at the university, with students benefiting from the wisdom of more than 100 scientists in more than 10 different disciplines. The program draws upon the long established clinical and research expertise of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and is unique in its broad coverage spanning basic biology to the neuroscience clinic. It offers a large number of experiential hands-on elements.
“Receiving first class honours by my fourth year was a lot of hard work,” says Laura Ansell, one of the program’s 12 graduating students. “I can tell you that all of us put thousands of hours into studying, reading papers, discussing research, and writing in our four years.”
The development of the program was championed by six faculty members from a variety of disciplines, with the HBI a significant catalyst to its development. According to Teskey, it was ranked the No. 1 program at the university in 2008 in regards to its priority for provincial EPE funding.
“The government was so supportive they wanted us to start a year early,” says Teskey.
Students from this year’s graduating class students plan to continue on to professional programs, including medicine and a number of graduate programs and career paths related to neuroscience.