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Last Updated: August 30, 2021

Top Neuroscience Programs

Neuroscience is a field that deals with the study of the brain and nervous system where candidates will have to deal with topics like cellular and molecular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience. These topics deal with subjects like behavior, thoughts, and consciousness. The field is interdisciplinary in nature and often requires candidates to have a basic knowledge of the sciences before they can delve deep into this topic.

Neuroscience graduate programs are incredibly competitive no matter where the candidate chooses to go to. Overall excellent grades, high GRE scores, related professional experience, and excellent letters of reference will help students gain admission to these programs.

Undergraduate Programs in Neuroscience

Undergraduate programs in Neuroscience let candidates deal with basic subjects that can help them create a foundation in the subject. They will mostly deal with subjects like psychology, chemistry, statistics, and biology during the duration of the course. The fields these candidates will be able to work in include engineering and health-related sectors. Most candidates often also go on to research the subject. A major in Neuroscience typically takes candidates around 4 years or less of study to complete depending on the university they go to.

Graduate Programs in Neuroscience

Candidates who choose to do a graduate program in Neuroscience will mostly be looking for research opportunities and hence will be keen on specializing in subjects under the field. They will be able to do an MS in Neuroscience or a Ph.D. depending on the level of education they have previously received. MS programs in the subject generally focus on topics like aging and plasticity. Apart from the core subjects that candidates will be required to take, they will be required to be part of seminars, lab rotations, and depending on the course, they will have to complete a dissertation in the area of research.

The subjects that they will be dealing with include molecular and cellular neuroscience, brain science, anatomy and physiology of the nervous system along with biochemical bases of information processing. Narrowing down the fields, they will be dealing with topics like neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuro-ethics, etc. The duration of an MS program is around 2 years or less depending on the university of choice.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience

Candidates who wish to do a Ph.D. in Neuroscience will have to choose a specialization and find a research question upon which they can work on. They will mostly have to apply directly to the department they want to be part of according to the areas of emphasis those departments have. The general areas of emphasis include behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, social psychology, quantitative psychology, etc.

They will have to start the program by completing the necessary number of credits as part of their coursework before they can focus on their thesis and publications. A Ph.D. program can take candidates anywhere between 4 to 5 years for completion.

Top Universities for Neuroscience Programs

Top Programs for Neuroscience

Ph.D. in Neuroscience- Harvard University

Harvard University's Division of Medical Sciences offers a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. The program is unique because participating faculty members come from several different departments. Likewise, students have the opportunity to work and conduct research at various Harvard departments and affiliated hospitals.

A completed application for this program will include a $105 fee, online letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and essays along with an iBT TOEFL score that is not lesser than 100 or an IELTS score of 7. The application deadline for the program is scheduled to be December 1st. Accepted students will receive a stipend and a full-tuition scholarship.

The first few years of the Ph.D. program consist of structured, rigorous coursework while the subsequent years are spent writing a research dissertation. Graduates of Harvard's Ph.D. program gain access to extensive career services for students. The graduate programs have contacts and services depending on a student's choice of chosen career path. In addition, students should take advantage of Harvard's general Office of Career Services.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience- Stanford University

Candidates who wish to pursue a Neurosciences degree from Stanford University will be able to do so only as a doctoral program. The university doesn’t offer a master’s program in the subject unless candidates take it up as part of their doctoral program in another subject. The Neurosciences Department is part of the school of medicine in the university. The application requirements for the course include letters of recommendation, academic achievements, transcripts, and a statement of purpose. GRE scores are no longer required for the application. For further details, candidates will have to personally contact the department.

The courses that are taught as part of the program include neuroscience developmental care, neuroscience molecular core, neuroscience systems core, neuroscience computational core, neuro-cellular core, etc. The common subject that candidates will have to study is a core course in neurobiology. The graduate fee that candidates will have to pay for every 11-18 units is estimated to be around $18,105.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience- Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine offers a prestigious Ph.D. program in neuroscience. The program is one of the oldest in the United States. Their department is quite large, with nearly 400 Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows working in its laboratories and around 14-16 students taken every year within the Neuroscience department. Unlike the other graduate programs mentioned above, Hopkins' department of neuroscience has over 30 faculty members just for neuroscience. It also has nearly 100 other faculty members from other departments.

The core courses are limited to maximize student flexibility. Applications are due December 1st. A completed application includes curriculum vitae, statement of interest, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a nominal application fee. Selected applicants will be invited to interview.

Admission for Hopkins is incredibly competitive, but students come from a variety of studies. In essence, they just need to have majored in the biological or physical sciences. Even computer science and mathematics majors may be accepted into the program. Students should have done coursework in chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics. The subjects they have to learn include neuroscience cognition, quantitative methods for brain sciences, circuits and brain disorders, etc. Every Ph.D. student receives full-tuition scholarships and a living stipend. Ph.D. students at Hopkins have access to the Johns Hopkins University Career Center.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience- Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers several Ph.D. programs in neuroscience in their Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Students may study Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computation, and Cognitive Science. Students begin research assistantships from their first semester. The core sequence is designed to allow students some flexibility in their choice of study.

The final application is due no later than December 1st. At the bare minimum, applicants should be able to demonstrate their research interests. Students with a variety of undergraduate majors may be accepted, but it is necessary to have impeccable mathematics and sciences records. The completed application has twelve parts including letters of recommendation, transcripts, GRE scores, and personal essays. GRE scores are not required while applying for this course.

As the program is small there is no class profile. This program is a good choice for long-term careers because all students have the opportunity to work as teaching assistants and to guide seminars. Students can make excellent use of MIT's Global Education and Career Development. Programs like one-on-one appointments, career fairs, resume and cover letter guidance, and job boards are available at MIT's career office.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience- University of California - San Francisco

The University of California - San Francisco offers a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Like Harvard, UCSF's faculty is drawn from other departments and research institutions. Students gain a multi-faceted education and participate in a series of temporary rotations in neuroscience labs. The admission deadline is December 1st. A completed application includes the online application, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. The selected candidates will be invited to interview on campus. Admission decisions are made a few weeks after the interview.

The courses that are included in this program are cellular and molecular neurosciences, cellular and developmental neuroscience, systems and behavioral neuroscience, etc. They also offer mini-courses like topics in basic or translational neuroscience and ethics and responsible conduct of research. Their alternate courses include genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular and cellular immunology, etc.

Students receive funding and full-tuition scholarships. The program is very competitive but accepts students with diverse backgrounds in the sciences. Students should have taken courses like inorganic and organic chemistry, calculus, and biology before admission. UCSF has an Office of Career and Office Development as well as a separate office to assist medical students in their professional development. These offices offer personal attention and several thorough, online guides to finding the perfect career.

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