Admissions Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum GPA or GRE score you require for admission?
There is no minimum requirement for these forms of assessment.
I do not have a background in science, am I still eligible? What field/major do most accepted applicants come from?
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. The admissions committee works very hard to holistically evaluate each applicant. Students are selected from diverse backgrounds based on a variety of factors, including academic achievements, letters of recommendation attesting to research and academic skills, statement of purpose, and Graduate Record Examination scores. 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.
Which courses should I take to prepare 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.
Must applicants have publications in order to be admitted?
No, publications are not required.
How important is research experience?
Research experience is very important, but the exact disciplinary area is not critical.
Do I need an advanced degree (M.A., M.S.) to apply?
No, you do not need an advanced degree.
Is there only one application period each year?
How many applications do you receive?
While it varies from year to year, we generally receive several hundred applications each admissions cycle.
How many students are accepted to the program?
8-15 students are generally accepted each year.
Which GRE Subject Test should I take?
The GRE subject test is not required. Should you choose to take the subject test, any of them are suitable except perhaps the English literature test. Some applicants opt to take the Biology test.
Can I substiute MCAT scores for GRE scores?
My recommenders/institution would like to use a letter service - is this OK?
What if my supplemental materials do not arrive by the specified deadline?
Your application must be submitted by the application deadline in order to be considered. It is possible that supplemental information received after the deadline will be reviewed but we cannot guarantee this.
What if one of my recommenders fails to provide you with a letter?
Your application may still be reviewed, but it is not guaranteed. We strongly encourage applicants to ask for letters of recommendation early.
Is there any advantage to applying as soon as the application period begins?
No, there is no distinct advantage, as all of the applications are reviewed after the final deadline. However, it is important not to wait until the last minute to submit your application and certainly it is important to give your letter writers plenty of advance notice of the deadline.
Interviews and Acceptance
When will I find out if I got an interview?
Generally, invitations to attend interviews are extended in early to mid-January.
Must I attend the entire interview session?
Can I do an interview via Skype or phone?
I was not invited to interview. Can you tell me why, or how I can improve my application?
Unfortunately, our office does not have the resources to inform applicants as to why they were not invited to interview. Similarly, we are not able to assess your qualifications as an applicant.
When will I find out if I was accepted to the program?
It does vary, but generally, applicants being offered admission into the program receive an offer soon after interview session. However, with a rolling admissions process, offers of admission may be extended at any time before April 15.
Can I reapply if I am not admitted in a given year?
May I contact faculty directly?
Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact faculty with whom they might be interested in working. However, it should be made absolutely clear that the faculty member is being contacted only about the work he/she is doing in the lab and not about admissions-related questions.
How long does the program take?
The average time to degree is just over 5 years.