Neuroscience PhD Programs
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the structure and functions of the nervous systems, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience is advantageous for top careers in both academic and corporate sectors. Learn more about this program, including the common courses taught and the admission requirements.
Ph.D. in Neuroscience: General Information
The program length of a Ph.D. in Neuroscience can range from three to seven years. The first year of the program is attributed to coursework, followed by fieldwork and research in the subsequent years. The coursework of Ph.D. in Neuroscience mainly constitutes topics like neuroanatomy, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, mathematical modeling, and systems neuroscience.
A course on neuroanatomy explains the structure of the nervous system, especially the mammalian nervous system, and details its major divisions. The course teaches the organization and functions of the different components of the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System, such as sensory neurons, motor neurons, and cranial cells. It also looks into the process of information flow through the nervous system. The coursework might include dissection and slide view of the brains of different organisms.
Cellular neuroscience studies the structure and function of the neurons at the level of cells and molecules. It explores the cellular physiology that occurs during different events such as the development of neurons, signal formation and transformation, release of neurotransmitters, plasticity, and formation of nervous systems. The course might also include defense mechanisms corresponding to different neurological diseases. Various literature and advanced findings related to the subject might be included in the class.
Behavioral neuroscience studies the role of the brain in the formation and manifestation of behavior in humans. It explores the neurological reactions behind action, perception, memory, emotion, learning process, aging, or motivation. The course might also explore various behavioral and neurological disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, drug abuse, anxiety, dyslexia, etc. The course might analyze prevalent methodologies in the area to distinguish between 'normal' and 'abnormal' behavior.
Much like behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience also studies how neural activities affect cognition and other related processes such as perception, decision making, attention, inference of sensations, language, movement control, and vision. The course might introduce basic factual surveys, evidence-based theories, and different methodologies applied in the research of cognitive neuroscience. It might also consider diseases like amnesia, stroke, and Parkinson's disease to give a better understanding of the subject. Techniques such as functional imaging and behavioral mapping for measuring cognitive abilities might also be used.
A course in mathematical modeling teaches how to use computational methods, mathematical models, statistics, data analysis for neuroscience research purposes. The course might include various case studies and experimental data to understand and practice the mathematical approach in research. The course familiarizes you with applied mathematics and its methods, such as probability, Hodgkin-Huxely equation, stochastic processes, etc. These methods will be used to explain neural events such as neural spikes, diffusion, neural circuits, and signal accumulation.
A neurobiology course might include advanced topics such as developmental neurobiology and molecular neurobiology. This course focuses on the development of neural systems and the molecular aspects underlying it. The course might discuss factors such as the formation and removal of synapses, connectivity of nerves, and the effect of neural development on behavior. The course might incorporate major readings that discuss advanced research in the field.
Ph.D. in Neuroscience: Requirements for Admission
The minimum eligibility for admission to the Ph.D. program is an undergraduate degree or an equivalent from an accredited institution; it would be beneficial if the undergraduate degree field is related to neuroscience. Most of the schools do not require submission of GRE score, though you are allowed to submit it if you wish. Submission of three letters of recommendation and unofficial/official academic transcripts is mandatory. Other requirements might include a curriculum vitae or resume and/or a personal statement that explains your educational and career goals.
Ph.D. programs in Neuroscience include coursework in topics like neuroanatomy, systems neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, mathematical modeling, and cognitive neuroscience. Admission to these programs requires an accredited undergraduate degree or an equivalent and the submission of recommendation letters, academic transcripts, resume, and personal statements.