The applications for Autumn 2021-22 will open in Mid-September 2020 and will be available on the Biosciences Admissions website.
In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford reaffirms its commitment to perform individualized, holistic review of each applicant to its graduate and professional programs. We recognize that students may have faced significant challenges during the period of disruption caused by the pandemic, and we will take such individual circumstances into account during application review. Importantly, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Credit/No Credit and other grading options during this unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruption, whether they are made by institutions or by individual students. Our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are excellent and encompass a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences that enrich the graduate educational experience.
Do you want help with interview prep (and more!) from current Stanford grad students and postdocs?
Consider applying to SNAAP!
To apply for interview assistance from the Stanford AAP, please use this link: SNAAP Application.
If you’re a current Stanford PhD student or post-doc who would like to become a SNAAP mentor, please fill out this form: SNAAP Mentor Form.
(Please see our Frequently Asked Questions below for a full program description)
PhD Program Eligibility
Selection for admission to the program is based on a student's academic achievements, letters of recommendation attesting to research and academic skills, and statement of purpose. Research experience is very important, but the exact disciplinary area is not critical. The program does not have specific course requirements or recommendations to be considered for admission.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience, students with biological, computational, and psychology backgrounds are equally appropriate for the program:
- 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. Advice on how to choose between neuroscience and psychology programs is offered here by one of our faculty members.
Students admitted to the Neurosciences Program are provided with a living stipend, tuition, and health insurance. The University also offers a limited number of fellowships to outstanding admitted students. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for extramural predoctoral fellowships.
Please see the Graduate Admissions "Required Exams" web page for information regarding COVID-19 and special TOEFL Test accommodations.
Final Official Transcripts
Graduate Admissions only requires admitted applicants who accept the offer of admission to submit official transcripts that shows their degree conferral. More details on this can be found on the following Graduate Admissions web page. Please do not send or have sent any official transcripts to our office.
Biosciences PhD Admissions Temporary Mailing Address
Biosciences PhD Admissions
3165 Porter Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304-5261
How to Apply
- Applications must be made through Graduate Admissions by Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 11:59:59 pm PST). Late applications will not be accepted.
- All supporting materials must be submitted by the deadline in order for your application to be considered in the review process. Late applications will not be accepted.
- Review all information on this site, on the Biosciences Admissions website, and the Graduate Admissions website prior to starting your application.
- When you are ready to apply, click here to start your online application.
Program Interview Session Dates
A virtual Interview Session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 – Saturday, March 6, 2021, but may shift.
- Mid-September: Biosciences Application Opens
- December 1, 2020: Application Deadline
- Early January: Invitations to Interview Session Sent
- Early March: Offers of Admission Begin
- April 15, 2021: Deadline to Accept Offer of Admission
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Stanford Neuroscience?
Students have the opportunity to work with any of the faculty members who are affiliated with the Neuroscience program. Our faculty come from departments campuswide including Neurobiology, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Neurosurgery, Biology, Genetics, Comparative Medicine, Electrical Engineering, Otolaryngology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Applied Physics, Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Ophthalmology, and Anesthesia. All are distinguished scientists who have made fundamental discoveries in all areas of neuroscience from molecules to cognition, and have international reputations for excellence in both research and teaching.
Graduate students can choose how they would like to distribute their credit requirements, offering great flexibility in their coursework. Students are also encouraged to take courses in other departments that may benefit their research (i.e. biosciences, math, and engineering). Stanford School of Medicine continually strives to improve the graduate education system. Most recently, the kernel course, an introductory course for all bioscience students, and mini courses, one to three week practical courses, have been introduced into the curriculum.
The program has a strong community, fostered in part by the SIN boot camp for first year students, an annual retreat held in Monterey, and many other student-run events that encourage mingling such as happy hours, inter-class dinners, and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute seminar series. Starting in the fourth year, students present their work to the community during monthly Superfriends gatherings. In addition to the existing book club for discussing popular science literature, our students also lead a homegrown neuroblog - NeuWrite West - to improve their own skills in communicating science to a general audience.
Students participate in a variety of activities both on and off campus. The gorgeous weather year-round allows students to hike, bike, and rock climb in the area, with weekend ski trips to Lake Tahoe common in the winter. Our students have performed with the Stanford Shakespeare company, swing and salsa clubs, and local music groups. The graduate community organizes social events including movie nights, restaurant outings, and parties.