How Competitive Are Neuroscience Phd Programs

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You’ve given it some thought, and a neuroscience PhD could be in your future. So, what do you need to get there?
Undergraduate degrees before the PhD

Preparing for a neuroscience PhD. You don't need a neuroscience… | by  Ashley Juavinett | The Spike | Medium

harvard neuroscience phd acceptance rate

Academic Eligibility:

  • Students must register full-time until receipt of the degree, for a minimum of two years.
  • At the discretion of the program, this requirement can be reduced up to one year (eight courses: 32 credits) if academic credit is given for work done elsewhere.
  • In addition, those admitted must have completed the equivalent of a senior-level course in the area of theoretical courses related to this program.
  • Minimum grade point ‘B+’ (75% – 79%) is required to enroll in this program.
The application process for admission at Harvard University starts in September for all the programs. The University admits students through either Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision, with decisions released by the end of March. With an acceptance rate of 3.43%, Harvard has one of the lowest admission rate among the eight Ivy League schools for the Class of 2025.

Harvard Neuroscience PhD Acceptance Rate – CollegeLearners.com

How Competitive Are Neuroscience Phd Programs

In theory, you could come from almost any academic background before coming into neuroscience, as long as you also have research experience (see below). According to a recent Society for Neuroscience report, most students who matriculate into Ph.D. programs in the U.S. have degrees in neuroscience, biology, or psychology. However, a huge chunk of applicants also come from chemistry and mathematics, and many students come in with dual degrees (see SfN 2016 for more details).

neuroscience graduate programs neuroscience phd prerequisites neuroscience phd reddit best neuroscience phd programs

You’ve given it some thought, and a neuroscience PhD could be in your future. So, what do you need to get there?

easiest neuroscience phd programs to get into

In theory, you could come from almost any academic background before coming into neuroscience, as long as you also have research experience (see below). According to a recent Society for Neuroscience report, most students who matriculate into Ph.D. programs in the U.S. have degrees in neuroscience, biology, or psychology. However, a huge chunk of applicants also come from chemistry and mathematics, and many students come in with dual degrees (see SfN 2016 for more details).

I was curious about the broader population of neuroscientists beyond those currently enrolled in PhD programs, so I conducted a Twitter survey:

Many, many people had write-in responses. When we pull together all of the responses (n=950), here’s what the breakdown looks like:

Image for post

There were a host of other undergraduate degrees ranging from biotechnology to animal behavior to economics (okay, isn’t that just very advanced animal behavior?) with one or two folks claiming them. They’re not included in the graph for simplicity, but the full dataset is here. Not surprisingly, the answers for computational neuroscientists were slightly different.

Among the list, there were a few fun answers. Neuroscientist and Journal of Neuroscience Editor-in-Chief Marina Piciotto was a Biology & English major. Famed neuroscientist David Eagleman also had a surprising answer: British & American Literature. “No joke,” he added.

In summary, neuroscientists come from a wide range of backgrounds, and you shouldn’t feel like there’s only one path into a career of neuroscience. Neuroscience is a wonderfully diverse field that touches on almost every other discipline — after all, it is fundamentally the study of how brains (and their owners) interact with the world. Our field is better off with perspectives from every intellectual angle, as well as with people who have thought deeply about very specific subfields.

How competitive is it?

Regardless of your undergraduate major, you should be at the top of your game academically. Neuroscience programs in the U.S. receive anywhere between 5 and 875 program applicants — 170 on average. For the academic year 2016–2017, the average acceptance rate for U.S. PhD programs was 19%. Although there’s more applicants, most programs report that they’re accepting the same number of students, largely because of limited funding from training grants and space in faculty labs. So, it does seem to be getting more competitive, and it’s not clear that more positions for graduate students are going to be opening soon.

How Do I Get Into Stanford Neuroscience? - NeuroTray

What are admissions committees looking for?

Most graduate programs will evaluate you on three main categories: your research experience, your GPA (grade point average from college), and your GRE scores (Graduate Record Examinations, a commonly required standardized test in the U.S.). The relative weight of those attributes will vary between school to school, and even depends on the members on the admissions committee. Some schools will set hard cutoffs for the numerical categories there, but they’re typically not disclosive about it. Applicants in 2016 had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.56, and average verbal as well as quantitative GRE scores of 158.

Your best bet is to do as best as you can in those three categories. Of course, if you’re out of college, it’s hard to go back and change your GPA. If you have a low GPA and GRE scores, the best way to improve your chances of getting into graduate school is by spending some time working in a lab.

Research experience before graduate school

While there isn’t usually a strict requirement for research experience, a striking 98% of applicants to U.S. PhD programs have at least some previous experience working in lab. Still, you should get some research experience for more than just getting into PhD programs— you should have research experience so that you have insight into whether or not you like doing research.

Your research experience could be in one lab for a long time, or short bursts in other labs. If you’re at a college that doesn’t have a ton of research, there are many summer research programs out there. I found it really informative to find research experiences beyond the brick walls of my small liberal arts school. Many summer programs are also specifically for underrepresented minorities, and most of them will pay you a stipend as well as cover room and board.

My personal advice is this: Take the courses that keep you engaged and motivate you to learn. If your gut homunculus pulls you into cognitive science, follow that. If you find molecular models dreamy, by all means, build them all. Put in the time and effort to do well on your GREs. Apply to many summer research programs, either at your home institution or beyond. You’ll excel when it becomes less about grades and more about the mysteries that the brain refuses to simply roll out on a red carpet for us. And ultimately, that’s what being a neuroscientist is about, anyway.

Perhaps at some point during your childhood your partially-developed (and frankly, self-absorbed) brain thought to itself, “I wonder how brains work.”

Or perhaps you’ve been doing neuroscience research and although you’d never admit this — you kinda like poking brains. And you kinda think you could do this whole poking thing for a bit longer.

First, let’s be clear — getting a PhD in neuroscience isn’t the only way to learn about the brain. You could go to the library and take out every book related to neuroscience. You could take online courses in neuroscience, or with some money, you could attend classes at your nearest university.

A PhD in neuroscience gives you more than just facts, though. When it’s done right, you learn a whole array of cognitive and experimental process skills.You’ll learn how to assess information, develop arguments, and think critically about work in your field. You’ll also gain know-how about techniques used to conduct your research — anything from loading a matrix up in MATLAB or swiftly picking up a pipette with one hand and filling 100 mini tubes with ridiculously small amounts of highly valuable liquid.

These may or may not be skills that are worth your precious time. So the question is: should you spend the next 5.5 years of your life in an intense research program?

A few good reasons why you should get a neuroscience PhD

You’ll open doors to different careers, and higher (paying) positions.

There are certain jobs that require a PhD. If you’d like to be a project manager at a pharmaceutical company, for example, you’ll need a PhD. If you want to run a lab or teach at a university, you’ll also need a PhD (and very likely postdoctoral research experience). In other cases, a PhD may earn you higher pay, but not be necessary. For instance, you can be a consultant without a PhD, but it does give you a big advantage.

You’ll — hopefully — gain a lot of self confidence.

When you work on your PhD, you’ll primarily be working alone, making your own decisions, and grappling with the outcomes of your work. In an ideal scenario, you also have a supportive mentor and labmates, but this isn’t guaranteed. It’ll be lonely at moments, but here’s the upside: you’ll have gained experience working on a significant project that is all yours. For many folks, that can be a huge confidence booster, and it should be!

You’ll get five years of intense research experience

A small portion of the population can say that they’ve worked in a lab at all, better yet for 5.5 years on their own, independent project. This experience will give you insight into the process of science and, when done right, expose you to valuable research skills for the bench and beyond. You’ll likely gain some technical skills, sure, but you’ll also learn how to design experiments and think critically about data and outcomes.

A few misguided reasons for getting a PhD in neuroscience

You want to learn about the brain

I wouldn’t advise spending a sizable chunk of your life in a PhD program because you want to learn. First off, PhD programs don’t usually have that much coursework. Most of the learning you’ll do is on your own, and you could do that in many other ways without the opportunity cost of a PhD program.

How Do I Get Into Stanford Neuroscience? - NeuroTray

For the money

There’s a chorus of professors somewhere maniacally laughing about this subtitle. Completing a PhD doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money — whether you make the big bucks largely depends on your career path. Across fields, people with PhDs do make more money than people with Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, but this doesn’t take into account what those people with PhDs could have done instead. Further, there are plenty of career paths (pharmacy, biotech, data science, and consulting, to name a few) that don’t require a PhD, and pay more than many career paths in academia.

To help people

In the long run, both clinical and basic neuroscience research have an impact on humanity. I firmly believe that. But if you’re the kind of person who wants to feel like they’re doing good on a daily basis — research isn’t the career for you. The gains in research are long term, and the impacts on human health and society are rarely immediate. You will occasionally talk to a stranger who will commend you on your contributions to society, though. And that’s rather nice.

To PhD, or not to PhD?

In my opinion, it really boils down to two reasons why you should get a PhD:

  1. you’re positive you need a PhD to get to the next step in your career
  2. you’ll just really, really love 5+ years of intense research and the value that will bring to your life

If neither of these are true, consider working in a lab for a year or two (e.g. in a postbaccalaurate program) to test the waters. If you’re feeling convinced that a neuroscience PhD is for you, let’s talk about preparing for a neuroscience program.

neuroscience phd acceptance rate

Regardless of your undergraduate major, you should be at the top of your game academically. Neuroscience programs in the U.S. receive anywhere between 5 and 875 program applicants — 170 on average. For the academic year 2016–2017, the average acceptance rate for U.S. PhD programs was 19%. Although there’s more applicants, most programs report that they’re accepting the same number of students, largely because of limited funding from training grants and space in faculty labs. So, it does seem to be getting more competitive, and it’s not clear that more positions for graduate students are going to be opening soon.

neuroscience phd requirements

Section 6: Requirements for the PhD in Neuroscience

6.1 OBJECTIVES

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Neuroscience shall reflect a mastery of such areas as cellular, molecular and developmental neurobiology, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, behavioral neuroscience, neuro-oncology, neuroimmunology, and neurotrauma.  During the course of study, the student has the option of deciding whether to specialize in one or more of the above areas.  All students are strongly encouraged to complete the doctoral degree within a five (5) year time period.

6.2 RESIDENCE AND CREDIT HOUR REQUIREMENTS

All doctoral students must fulfill the Graduate School’s residence and credit hour requirements.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires the equivalent of at least 3 academic years of work beyond the baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 80 hours of graduate credit.  If a student has earned a master’s degree in a relevant area, then a minimum of 50 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree is required.   If the master’s degree was earned at another university, it must be transferred to this university.

Residence at the University is required to afford the student an opportunity to engage in intensive, concentrated study over an extended period of time in association with faculty members and other students in an atmosphere conducive to a high level of intellectual and scholarly activity.  All domestic students are required to establish Ohio residency by the end of autumn semester in their second academic year.

The following requirements must be fulfilled after the master’s degree has been earned or after the first 30 hours of graduate credit have been completed:

  • a minimum of 24 graduate credit hours required for the PhD must be completed at this University
  • a minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer session with a full-time enrollment must be completed while in residence at this University
  • a minimum of 6 graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session must be completed after admission to candidacy

6.3 COURSE REQUIREMENTS

It is required that all NGP students, with the exception of those in the MD/PhD track, take the introductory core course sequence, consisting of:

Fall Semester

  • NEUROSC 7001: Foundations of Neuroscience 1 (6 credit hours)
  • NEUROSC 7100: Current Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour) – paper discussion course to accompany NEUROSC 7001
  • NEUROGS 7887: Seminar Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour)

Spring Semester

  • NEUROSC 7002: Foundations of Neuroscience II (6 credit hours)
  • NEUROSC 7200.01: Neuroscience Laboratory (1 credit hour) – 1st half of semester
  • NEUROSC 7050: Neurobiology of Disease (3 credit hours)
  • NEUROGS 7887: Seminar Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour)

May Term

  • BME 894 or BIOPHRM 5510: Responsible Conduct in Neuroscience Research

These courses are normally scheduled in the first year and must be completed by the end of the second year.  After satisfactorily completing the Candidacy Examination, it is normally expected that a student will not enroll in any course other than NEUROGS 7887 and the 8999 course of the advisor’s home department.

Students who transfer into the Program from other graduate programs, whether at OSU or another institution, must also meet the core course requirement.  They may petition to the NGP Committee to accept courses taken in their former Program.  The NGP Committee will determine if the courses taken are equivalent to the NGP core courses and will determine if the transfer student may be exempted from taking one or more core courses.

In certain instances, with permission of the NGP Committee and the student’s advisor, students may be exempted from taking a core course if adequate proficiency or equivalency can be demonstrated.  The NGP Committee may approve an alternative course of study.

All Neuroscience Graduate Students may enroll in additional elective coursework.  The student should consult her/his advisor for recommended additional coursework in accordance with the student’s chosen course of study.

A list of “Recommended Electives” includes, but is not limited to: 

  • MOLGEN 5701: DNA Transactions and Gene Regulation
  • NEUROSC 5644: Behavioral Endocrinology
  • NEUROSC 5790H: Developmental Neurobiology
  • NEUROSC 7500: Neuroimmunology
  • NGSY 8250: Biology of the Tumor Microenvironment

Other electives may be taken, at the discretion of the student and his/her advisor.

All students are also strongly encouraged to receive training in statistics and ethics.  The student together with her/his advisor will determine which electives the student will take.

6.4 LAB ROTATIONS AND THESIS RESEARCH

Students are engaged in research during every semester and summer session of their training.  Students doing laboratory rotations should register for the 6193 course of the rotation mentor’s home department, e.g. NEUROSC 6193 (Individual Studies in Neuroscience) for mentors who are in the Department of Neuroscience.  Once students have successfully passed their candidacy examination, they should register for the 8999 course of the advisor’s home department, e.g. NEUROSC 8999 (Research in Neuroscience) for advisors who are in the Department of Neuroscience.

The following policy is predicated on the principle that students should have exposure to multiple research experiences prior to selecting a dissertation laboratory:

  1. Three rotations are the norm and are strongly encouraged.
  2. Rotations will be in 7 week modules; 2 in autumn semester, 2 in spring semester and all first-year students must be performing research in labs during all 4 modules.  Generally students will decide on a lab in consultation with the relevant mentor after the third rotation.
  3. If a student has not identified/chosen a lab after three rotations he/she may continue for a final 7 wk session in one of the three rotation labs (in consultation/agreement with the relevant mentor) or do a 4th rotation.
  4. If a student has identified/chosen a lab after 2 or 3 rotations in consultation with the relevant mentor he/she should continue in that lab in the ensuing rotation modules.
  5. Students are expected to have chosen a lab by the beginning of summer session at the end of year one.

Exceptions: As with all guidelines some exceptions may be made (e.g. if a student transfers midyear from another program/institution with a newly arriving faculty, or if a new student is financially supported from the outset by the advisor and not by the program). Any such exceptions would require a petition with the graduate studies committee.

6.5 RESEARCH REQUIREMENT

Communication of research results is critically important in any scientific research endeavor. Published research papers are the primary form of written communication, and the most important measure of research productivity. The second most important method of research communication is oral presentation of data at research meetings. The following are the research expectations of NGP students:

  • The general requirement is that the thesis-associated work should be published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Specifically, at least two published primary research papers, one with first-authorship and one with first- or middle-authorship, are required; this minimal requirement, however, is generally considered below the expectations of the program, unless the papers are of extraordinary content and impact
  • The expectation is at least two first-authored published papers, two middle-authorship papers, and one review article, but there can be diversity in the publication portfolio (e.g., 3 first authored-papers and two middle-authored papers); however, the normal expectation in each neuroscience research sub-area is to be determined by the research mentor
  • A minimum of two research presentations, internal or external, each year after entering a research laboratory (talk or poster); presentations in the NGP Student Seminar (NeuroGP7887) do not count towards this requirement
  • Exceptions to any of the above may be made on an individual basis after consulting with the NGP committee.

6.6 ONE-SEMESTER TEACHING REQUIREMENT

The NGP considers that teaching is an important part of a student’s professional development.  To this end, all students, including those appointed as Graduate Research Associates, are required to teach one semester during their training.  Students may obtain a list of all teaching opportunities by contacting the Program Administrator.  The student should normally have completed this requirement by the end of the second academic year.

6.7 NEUROSCIENCE SEMINAR SERIES ATTENDANCE

All students must attend all invited speaker seminars in the Neuroscience Seminar Series and Frontiers in Neuroscience series in all years of tenure in the NGP (see section 15.2); limited exceptions are allowed on a case-by-case basis, and must be pre-approved. Exceptions include research-related travel and vacations, illness, or research-related scheduling conflicts that cannot be avoided.

6.8 OUTREACH/SERVICE

As part of their professional development NGP students are expected to participate in service to the program and to engage in research education in the community. Service may include participation on the student NS Seminar Committee, participation in luncheons with invited seminar speakers, annual recruitment events, and other activities. Such service is ongoing in every year. Community research education includes mandatory participation in the annual Brain Awareness Week event in March at COSI. Each student must participate in at least one morning or afternoon session, twice during their tenure in the program (two different years). Other outreach activities could include participation in the student-led outreach group, NEURO. 

6.9 INSTRUCTION IN RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT IN RESEARCH

All students must engage in a nine-session course in Responsible Conduct in Neuroscience Research (BME 894 or BIOPHRM 5510). The courses are primarily discussion based and cover i) Ethics and the Practice of Science, ii) Mentor and Trainee Relationships and Collaborations, iii and iv) Data Acquisition, Analysis, Presentation, Sharing and Management, v) Research Publication, Conflict of Interest, and Confidentiality, vi) Grant Application and Institutional Responsibility, vii) Patents, Intellectual Property and Inventions, viii) Animal Experimentation, and ix) Research with Human Subjects.

6.10 CANDIDACY AND FINAL DOCTORAL EXAMINATIONS

All students are required to satisfactorily complete the Candidacy Examination in order to proceed with their thesis research.  To graduate from the Program, all students must successfully complete the Final Doctoral Examination.  These examinations are described in sections 10 and 11, respectively.

6.11 DEACTIVATION

Enrollment eligibility for a pre-candidacy doctoral student who has not registered in the Graduate School within the preceding two full calendar years will be automatically deactivated.  Eligibility for doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examination is automatically deactivated at the end of a five-year candidacy period if they have not graduated by then.  To reenroll, the student must petition the NGP Committee for reactivation and  there is no assurance of readmission.

phd 2021 neuroscience

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • UK requirements
  • International requirements
Degree requirementsYou’re normally expected to have an upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above.
Subject-specific requirementsYour qualification should be in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research. You may also be considered for the degree if you have other professional qualifications or experience of equivalent standing.

Admissions information for applicants

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) for international studentsYes. You should apply for this course as early as possible so that you have time to apply for ATAS clearance. Find out more about ATAS clearance on the Student Hub.
Research proposalIf you are applying for a PhD on a self-funding basis, you’ll need to write a research proposal. Find out how to write a research proposal.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, contact us

HOW TO APPLY

If you’d like to join us as a research student, there are two main routes:

  • browse funded projects in this subject area
  • browse our potential supervisors and propose your own research project.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Sussex

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to work on your research full time or part time, to fit around your work and personal life. For details about part-time study, contact us at [email protected]

PhD or MPhil?

You can choose to study for a PhD or an MPhil. PhD and MPhil degrees differ in duration and in the extent of your research work.

  • For a PhD, your research work makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your chosen field.
  • For an MPhil, your work is an independent piece of research but in less depth than for a PhD. You’ll graduate with the degree title Master of Philosophy. You might be able to change to a PhD while you study for an MPhil.

neuroscience phd gre

The Stanford Neurosciences Program is committed to training a diverse group of neuroscientists who come from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Qualified applicants who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents are eligible for admission. 

Students are admitted into the program each year from a variety of disciplines. There is no one “right” way into the Neurosciences Program and no one “composite” student. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Neurosciences, students are enrolled with backgrounds ranging from computational to biological; the program selects talented and highly motivated students with evidence of creativity and scientific rigor, regardless of exact disciplinary background. 

Students are selected from diverse backgrounds based on a variety of factors, including academic achievements, letters of recommendation attesting to research and academic skills, and statement of purpose. The admissions committee works very hard to holistically evaluate each applicant. 

There is no minimum GPA requirement and GRE scores are no longer used. 

We do not publicly share information about the average scores of applicants or matriculated students.

The program does not have specific course requirements or recommendations to be considered for admission. However, students from traditional biology backgrounds are expected to show strong achievement in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and neuroscience. Students from more quantitative backgrounds should demonstrate considerable competence in mathematics (calculus, differential equations, linear algebra), physics, probability theory, and statistics. Students from psychology backgrounds should be well versed in cognitive science, experimental psychology, neuroscience and statistics.

Graduate Programs in Neuroscience | Programs | Graduate School of Arts and  Sciences (GSAS) | Brandeis University

how long does it take to get a phd in neuroscience

The PhD in Neuroscience is a research intensive program that emphasizes the development of individual scholarship and excellence through the collaborative interactions within this interdisciplinary program. Students in the program experience a very wide exposure to all aspects of neuroscience research from cellular molecular to cognitive neuroscience. Student with an MSc usually complete this program within 4 years. Direct entry into the program by students with a BSc is possible for outstanding candidates.

The Program typically takes between 4-6 years to complete. Across the UCSF Graduate Division, the median time to PhD degree is 5.75 years.

neuroscience graduate programs neuroscience phd prerequisites neuroscience phd reddit best neuroscience phd programs

You’ve given it some thought, and a neuroscience PhD could be in your future. So, what do you need to get there?

easiest neuroscience phd programs to get into

In theory, you could come from almost any academic background before coming into neuroscience, as long as you also have research experience (see below). According to a recent Society for Neuroscience report, most students who matriculate into Ph.D. programs in the U.S. have degrees in neuroscience, biology, or psychology. However, a huge chunk of applicants also come from chemistry and mathematics, and many students come in with dual degrees (see SfN 2016 for more details).

I was curious about the broader population of neuroscientists beyond those currently enrolled in PhD programs, so I conducted a Twitter survey:

Many, many people had write-in responses. When we pull together all of the responses (n=950), here’s what the breakdown looks like:

Image for post

There were a host of other undergraduate degrees ranging from biotechnology to animal behavior to economics (okay, isn’t that just very advanced animal behavior?) with one or two folks claiming them. They’re not included in the graph for simplicity, but the full dataset is here. Not surprisingly, the answers for computational neuroscientists were slightly different.

Among the list, there were a few fun answers. Neuroscientist and Journal of Neuroscience Editor-in-Chief Marina Piciotto was a Biology & English major. Famed neuroscientist David Eagleman also had a surprising answer: British & American Literature. “No joke,” he added.

In summary, neuroscientists come from a wide range of backgrounds, and you shouldn’t feel like there’s only one path into a career of neuroscience. Neuroscience is a wonderfully diverse field that touches on almost every other discipline — after all, it is fundamentally the study of how brains (and their owners) interact with the world. Our field is better off with perspectives from every intellectual angle, as well as with people who have thought deeply about very specific subfields.

How competitive is it?

Regardless of your undergraduate major, you should be at the top of your game academically. Neuroscience programs in the U.S. receive anywhere between 5 and 875 program applicants — 170 on average. For the academic year 2016–2017, the average acceptance rate for U.S. PhD programs was 19%. Although there’s more applicants, most programs report that they’re accepting the same number of students, largely because of limited funding from training grants and space in faculty labs. So, it does seem to be getting more competitive, and it’s not clear that more positions for graduate students are going to be opening soon.

How Do I Get Into Stanford Neuroscience? - NeuroTray

What are admissions committees looking for?

Most graduate programs will evaluate you on three main categories: your research experience, your GPA (grade point average from college), and your GRE scores (Graduate Record Examinations, a commonly required standardized test in the U.S.). The relative weight of those attributes will vary between school to school, and even depends on the members on the admissions committee. Some schools will set hard cutoffs for the numerical categories there, but they’re typically not disclosive about it. Applicants in 2016 had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.56, and average verbal as well as quantitative GRE scores of 158.

Your best bet is to do as best as you can in those three categories. Of course, if you’re out of college, it’s hard to go back and change your GPA. If you have a low GPA and GRE scores, the best way to improve your chances of getting into graduate school is by spending some time working in a lab.

Research experience before graduate school

While there isn’t usually a strict requirement for research experience, a striking 98% of applicants to U.S. PhD programs have at least some previous experience working in lab. Still, you should get some research experience for more than just getting into PhD programs— you should have research experience so that you have insight into whether or not you like doing research.

Your research experience could be in one lab for a long time, or short bursts in other labs. If you’re at a college that doesn’t have a ton of research, there are many summer research programs out there. I found it really informative to find research experiences beyond the brick walls of my small liberal arts school. Many summer programs are also specifically for underrepresented minorities, and most of them will pay you a stipend as well as cover room and board.

My personal advice is this: Take the courses that keep you engaged and motivate you to learn. If your gut homunculus pulls you into cognitive science, follow that. If you find molecular models dreamy, by all means, build them all. Put in the time and effort to do well on your GREs. Apply to many summer research programs, either at your home institution or beyond. You’ll excel when it becomes less about grades and more about the mysteries that the brain refuses to simply roll out on a red carpet for us. And ultimately, that’s what being a neuroscientist is about, anyway.

Perhaps at some point during your childhood your partially-developed (and frankly, self-absorbed) brain thought to itself, “I wonder how brains work.”

Or perhaps you’ve been doing neuroscience research and although you’d never admit this — you kinda like poking brains. And you kinda think you could do this whole poking thing for a bit longer.

First, let’s be clear — getting a PhD in neuroscience isn’t the only way to learn about the brain. You could go to the library and take out every book related to neuroscience. You could take online courses in neuroscience, or with some money, you could attend classes at your nearest university.

A PhD in neuroscience gives you more than just facts, though. When it’s done right, you learn a whole array of cognitive and experimental process skills.You’ll learn how to assess information, develop arguments, and think critically about work in your field. You’ll also gain know-how about techniques used to conduct your research — anything from loading a matrix up in MATLAB or swiftly picking up a pipette with one hand and filling 100 mini tubes with ridiculously small amounts of highly valuable liquid.

These may or may not be skills that are worth your precious time. So the question is: should you spend the next 5.5 years of your life in an intense research program?

A few good reasons why you should get a neuroscience PhD

You’ll open doors to different careers, and higher (paying) positions.

There are certain jobs that require a PhD. If you’d like to be a project manager at a pharmaceutical company, for example, you’ll need a PhD. If you want to run a lab or teach at a university, you’ll also need a PhD (and very likely postdoctoral research experience). In other cases, a PhD may earn you higher pay, but not be necessary. For instance, you can be a consultant without a PhD, but it does give you a big advantage.

You’ll — hopefully — gain a lot of self confidence.

When you work on your PhD, you’ll primarily be working alone, making your own decisions, and grappling with the outcomes of your work. In an ideal scenario, you also have a supportive mentor and labmates, but this isn’t guaranteed. It’ll be lonely at moments, but here’s the upside: you’ll have gained experience working on a significant project that is all yours. For many folks, that can be a huge confidence booster, and it should be!

You’ll get five years of intense research experience

A small portion of the population can say that they’ve worked in a lab at all, better yet for 5.5 years on their own, independent project. This experience will give you insight into the process of science and, when done right, expose you to valuable research skills for the bench and beyond. You’ll likely gain some technical skills, sure, but you’ll also learn how to design experiments and think critically about data and outcomes.

A few misguided reasons for getting a PhD in neuroscience

You want to learn about the brain

I wouldn’t advise spending a sizable chunk of your life in a PhD program because you want to learn. First off, PhD programs don’t usually have that much coursework. Most of the learning you’ll do is on your own, and you could do that in many other ways without the opportunity cost of a PhD program.

How Do I Get Into Stanford Neuroscience? - NeuroTray

For the money

There’s a chorus of professors somewhere maniacally laughing about this subtitle. Completing a PhD doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money — whether you make the big bucks largely depends on your career path. Across fields, people with PhDs do make more money than people with Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, but this doesn’t take into account what those people with PhDs could have done instead. Further, there are plenty of career paths (pharmacy, biotech, data science, and consulting, to name a few) that don’t require a PhD, and pay more than many career paths in academia.

To help people

In the long run, both clinical and basic neuroscience research have an impact on humanity. I firmly believe that. But if you’re the kind of person who wants to feel like they’re doing good on a daily basis — research isn’t the career for you. The gains in research are long term, and the impacts on human health and society are rarely immediate. You will occasionally talk to a stranger who will commend you on your contributions to society, though. And that’s rather nice.

To PhD, or not to PhD?

In my opinion, it really boils down to two reasons why you should get a PhD:

  1. you’re positive you need a PhD to get to the next step in your career
  2. you’ll just really, really love 5+ years of intense research and the value that will bring to your life

If neither of these are true, consider working in a lab for a year or two (e.g. in a postbaccalaurate program) to test the waters. If you’re feeling convinced that a neuroscience PhD is for you, let’s talk about preparing for a neuroscience program.

neuroscience phd acceptance rate

Regardless of your undergraduate major, you should be at the top of your game academically. Neuroscience programs in the U.S. receive anywhere between 5 and 875 program applicants — 170 on average. For the academic year 2016–2017, the average acceptance rate for U.S. PhD programs was 19%. Although there’s more applicants, most programs report that they’re accepting the same number of students, largely because of limited funding from training grants and space in faculty labs. So, it does seem to be getting more competitive, and it’s not clear that more positions for graduate students are going to be opening soon.

neuroscience phd requirements

Section 6: Requirements for the PhD in Neuroscience

6.1 OBJECTIVES

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Neuroscience shall reflect a mastery of such areas as cellular, molecular and developmental neurobiology, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, behavioral neuroscience, neuro-oncology, neuroimmunology, and neurotrauma.  During the course of study, the student has the option of deciding whether to specialize in one or more of the above areas.  All students are strongly encouraged to complete the doctoral degree within a five (5) year time period.

6.2 RESIDENCE AND CREDIT HOUR REQUIREMENTS

All doctoral students must fulfill the Graduate School’s residence and credit hour requirements.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires the equivalent of at least 3 academic years of work beyond the baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 80 hours of graduate credit.  If a student has earned a master’s degree in a relevant area, then a minimum of 50 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree is required.   If the master’s degree was earned at another university, it must be transferred to this university.

Residence at the University is required to afford the student an opportunity to engage in intensive, concentrated study over an extended period of time in association with faculty members and other students in an atmosphere conducive to a high level of intellectual and scholarly activity.  All domestic students are required to establish Ohio residency by the end of autumn semester in their second academic year.

The following requirements must be fulfilled after the master’s degree has been earned or after the first 30 hours of graduate credit have been completed:

  • a minimum of 24 graduate credit hours required for the PhD must be completed at this University
  • a minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer session with a full-time enrollment must be completed while in residence at this University
  • a minimum of 6 graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session must be completed after admission to candidacy

6.3 COURSE REQUIREMENTS

It is required that all NGP students, with the exception of those in the MD/PhD track, take the introductory core course sequence, consisting of:

Fall Semester

  • NEUROSC 7001: Foundations of Neuroscience 1 (6 credit hours)
  • NEUROSC 7100: Current Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour) – paper discussion course to accompany NEUROSC 7001
  • NEUROGS 7887: Seminar Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour)

Spring Semester

  • NEUROSC 7002: Foundations of Neuroscience II (6 credit hours)
  • NEUROSC 7200.01: Neuroscience Laboratory (1 credit hour) – 1st half of semester
  • NEUROSC 7050: Neurobiology of Disease (3 credit hours)
  • NEUROGS 7887: Seminar Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit hour)

May Term

  • BME 894 or BIOPHRM 5510: Responsible Conduct in Neuroscience Research

These courses are normally scheduled in the first year and must be completed by the end of the second year.  After satisfactorily completing the Candidacy Examination, it is normally expected that a student will not enroll in any course other than NEUROGS 7887 and the 8999 course of the advisor’s home department.

Students who transfer into the Program from other graduate programs, whether at OSU or another institution, must also meet the core course requirement.  They may petition to the NGP Committee to accept courses taken in their former Program.  The NGP Committee will determine if the courses taken are equivalent to the NGP core courses and will determine if the transfer student may be exempted from taking one or more core courses.

In certain instances, with permission of the NGP Committee and the student’s advisor, students may be exempted from taking a core course if adequate proficiency or equivalency can be demonstrated.  The NGP Committee may approve an alternative course of study.

All Neuroscience Graduate Students may enroll in additional elective coursework.  The student should consult her/his advisor for recommended additional coursework in accordance with the student’s chosen course of study.

A list of “Recommended Electives” includes, but is not limited to: 

  • MOLGEN 5701: DNA Transactions and Gene Regulation
  • NEUROSC 5644: Behavioral Endocrinology
  • NEUROSC 5790H: Developmental Neurobiology
  • NEUROSC 7500: Neuroimmunology
  • NGSY 8250: Biology of the Tumor Microenvironment

Other electives may be taken, at the discretion of the student and his/her advisor.

All students are also strongly encouraged to receive training in statistics and ethics.  The student together with her/his advisor will determine which electives the student will take.

6.4 LAB ROTATIONS AND THESIS RESEARCH

Students are engaged in research during every semester and summer session of their training.  Students doing laboratory rotations should register for the 6193 course of the rotation mentor’s home department, e.g. NEUROSC 6193 (Individual Studies in Neuroscience) for mentors who are in the Department of Neuroscience.  Once students have successfully passed their candidacy examination, they should register for the 8999 course of the advisor’s home department, e.g. NEUROSC 8999 (Research in Neuroscience) for advisors who are in the Department of Neuroscience.

The following policy is predicated on the principle that students should have exposure to multiple research experiences prior to selecting a dissertation laboratory:

  1. Three rotations are the norm and are strongly encouraged.
  2. Rotations will be in 7 week modules; 2 in autumn semester, 2 in spring semester and all first-year students must be performing research in labs during all 4 modules.  Generally students will decide on a lab in consultation with the relevant mentor after the third rotation.
  3. If a student has not identified/chosen a lab after three rotations he/she may continue for a final 7 wk session in one of the three rotation labs (in consultation/agreement with the relevant mentor) or do a 4th rotation.
  4. If a student has identified/chosen a lab after 2 or 3 rotations in consultation with the relevant mentor he/she should continue in that lab in the ensuing rotation modules.
  5. Students are expected to have chosen a lab by the beginning of summer session at the end of year one.

Exceptions: As with all guidelines some exceptions may be made (e.g. if a student transfers midyear from another program/institution with a newly arriving faculty, or if a new student is financially supported from the outset by the advisor and not by the program). Any such exceptions would require a petition with the graduate studies committee.

6.5 RESEARCH REQUIREMENT

Communication of research results is critically important in any scientific research endeavor. Published research papers are the primary form of written communication, and the most important measure of research productivity. The second most important method of research communication is oral presentation of data at research meetings. The following are the research expectations of NGP students:

  • The general requirement is that the thesis-associated work should be published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Specifically, at least two published primary research papers, one with first-authorship and one with first- or middle-authorship, are required; this minimal requirement, however, is generally considered below the expectations of the program, unless the papers are of extraordinary content and impact
  • The expectation is at least two first-authored published papers, two middle-authorship papers, and one review article, but there can be diversity in the publication portfolio (e.g., 3 first authored-papers and two middle-authored papers); however, the normal expectation in each neuroscience research sub-area is to be determined by the research mentor
  • A minimum of two research presentations, internal or external, each year after entering a research laboratory (talk or poster); presentations in the NGP Student Seminar (NeuroGP7887) do not count towards this requirement
  • Exceptions to any of the above may be made on an individual basis after consulting with the NGP committee.

6.6 ONE-SEMESTER TEACHING REQUIREMENT

The NGP considers that teaching is an important part of a student’s professional development.  To this end, all students, including those appointed as Graduate Research Associates, are required to teach one semester during their training.  Students may obtain a list of all teaching opportunities by contacting the Program Administrator.  The student should normally have completed this requirement by the end of the second academic year.

6.7 NEUROSCIENCE SEMINAR SERIES ATTENDANCE

All students must attend all invited speaker seminars in the Neuroscience Seminar Series and Frontiers in Neuroscience series in all years of tenure in the NGP (see section 15.2); limited exceptions are allowed on a case-by-case basis, and must be pre-approved. Exceptions include research-related travel and vacations, illness, or research-related scheduling conflicts that cannot be avoided.

6.8 OUTREACH/SERVICE

As part of their professional development NGP students are expected to participate in service to the program and to engage in research education in the community. Service may include participation on the student NS Seminar Committee, participation in luncheons with invited seminar speakers, annual recruitment events, and other activities. Such service is ongoing in every year. Community research education includes mandatory participation in the annual Brain Awareness Week event in March at COSI. Each student must participate in at least one morning or afternoon session, twice during their tenure in the program (two different years). Other outreach activities could include participation in the student-led outreach group, NEURO. 

6.9 INSTRUCTION IN RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT IN RESEARCH

All students must engage in a nine-session course in Responsible Conduct in Neuroscience Research (BME 894 or BIOPHRM 5510). The courses are primarily discussion based and cover i) Ethics and the Practice of Science, ii) Mentor and Trainee Relationships and Collaborations, iii and iv) Data Acquisition, Analysis, Presentation, Sharing and Management, v) Research Publication, Conflict of Interest, and Confidentiality, vi) Grant Application and Institutional Responsibility, vii) Patents, Intellectual Property and Inventions, viii) Animal Experimentation, and ix) Research with Human Subjects.

6.10 CANDIDACY AND FINAL DOCTORAL EXAMINATIONS

All students are required to satisfactorily complete the Candidacy Examination in order to proceed with their thesis research.  To graduate from the Program, all students must successfully complete the Final Doctoral Examination.  These examinations are described in sections 10 and 11, respectively.

6.11 DEACTIVATION

Enrollment eligibility for a pre-candidacy doctoral student who has not registered in the Graduate School within the preceding two full calendar years will be automatically deactivated.  Eligibility for doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examination is automatically deactivated at the end of a five-year candidacy period if they have not graduated by then.  To reenroll, the student must petition the NGP Committee for reactivation and  there is no assurance of readmission.

phd 2021 neuroscience

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • UK requirements
  • International requirements
Degree requirementsYou’re normally expected to have an upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above.
Subject-specific requirementsYour qualification should be in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research. You may also be considered for the degree if you have other professional qualifications or experience of equivalent standing.

Admissions information for applicants

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) for international studentsYes. You should apply for this course as early as possible so that you have time to apply for ATAS clearance. Find out more about ATAS clearance on the Student Hub.
Research proposalIf you are applying for a PhD on a self-funding basis, you’ll need to write a research proposal. Find out how to write a research proposal.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, contact us

HOW TO APPLY

If you’d like to join us as a research student, there are two main routes:

  • browse funded projects in this subject area
  • browse our potential supervisors and propose your own research project.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Sussex

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to work on your research full time or part time, to fit around your work and personal life. For details about part-time study, contact us at [email protected]

PhD or MPhil?

You can choose to study for a PhD or an MPhil. PhD and MPhil degrees differ in duration and in the extent of your research work.

  • For a PhD, your research work makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your chosen field.
  • For an MPhil, your work is an independent piece of research but in less depth than for a PhD. You’ll graduate with the degree title Master of Philosophy. You might be able to change to a PhD while you study for an MPhil.

neuroscience phd gre

The Stanford Neurosciences Program is committed to training a diverse group of neuroscientists who come from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Qualified applicants who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents are eligible for admission. 

Students are admitted into the program each year from a variety of disciplines. There is no one “right” way into the Neurosciences Program and no one “composite” student. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Neurosciences, students are enrolled with backgrounds ranging from computational to biological; the program selects talented and highly motivated students with evidence of creativity and scientific rigor, regardless of exact disciplinary background. 

Students are selected from diverse backgrounds based on a variety of factors, including academic achievements, letters of recommendation attesting to research and academic skills, and statement of purpose. The admissions committee works very hard to holistically evaluate each applicant. 

There is no minimum GPA requirement and GRE scores are no longer used. 

We do not publicly share information about the average scores of applicants or matriculated students.

The program does not have specific course requirements or recommendations to be considered for admission. However, students from traditional biology backgrounds are expected to show strong achievement in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and neuroscience. Students from more quantitative backgrounds should demonstrate considerable competence in mathematics (calculus, differential equations, linear algebra), physics, probability theory, and statistics. Students from psychology backgrounds should be well versed in cognitive science, experimental psychology, neuroscience and statistics.

Graduate Programs in Neuroscience | Programs | Graduate School of Arts and  Sciences (GSAS) | Brandeis University

how long does it take to get a phd in neuroscience

The PhD in Neuroscience is a research intensive program that emphasizes the development of individual scholarship and excellence through the collaborative interactions within this interdisciplinary program. Students in the program experience a very wide exposure to all aspects of neuroscience research from cellular molecular to cognitive neuroscience. Student with an MSc usually complete this program within 4 years. Direct entry into the program by students with a BSc is possible for outstanding candidates.

The Program typically takes between 4-6 years to complete. Across the UCSF Graduate Division, the median time to PhD degree is 5.75 years.

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