Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Neuroscience program offer a Master’s degree?
No, the Neuroscience Program offers a PhD degree only.

How long does it take to complete a PhD?
The program typically takes between 4-6 years to complete.

How many international students are admitted each year?
We admit a small number of international students each year.

What is the difference between the Neuroscience Program and other programs at UCSF, such as the BMS Program or the Tetrad Program?
There is sometimes confusion between Neuroscience and other UCSF programs due to overlapping research areas and faculty membership. However, Neuroscience is a distinct program that maintains a separate curriculum and separate admission process. If you are unsure which program may be right for you, we encourage you to review the curriculum pages and faculty roster on each program's respective website to help you in your decision-making. A list of all UCSF graduate programs is available at the UCSF Graduate Division's website.

Can I apply to more than one UCSF graduate program?
No. You may apply to only one UCSF graduate program in a single academic year. It is therefore important to consider which program suits your interests and apply to only that program. Listed below are other graduate programs at UCSF that you may want to consider, along with a link to their respective websites. Each graduate program maintains its own admissions process.

Biological & Medical Informatics (BMI)
Biomedical Sciences Program (BMS)
Biophysics Program
Chemistry & Chemical Biology Program (CCB)
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology (DSCB)
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics (PSPG)
Tetrad Graduate Program (includes PhD programs in Cell Biology, Genetics and Biochemistry)
UCSF/UCB Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering

What is the average undergraduate GPA of students who are admitted to the Neuroscience Program? What are the average GRE scores?
The Neuroscience Program does not maintain statistics on average GPA or GRE scores of admitted students. Each individual’s application is evaluated by weighing its strengths and weaknesses to determine if the individual will be a good fit for UCSF. GRE scores are no longer required.

What factors are important for admission to the Neuroscience program?
The admissions committee will evaluate the application by reviewing the following: breadth of completed coursework in the relevant sciences, grades in those courses, research experience (such as undergraduate thesis projects, laboratory internships, technician positions or summer research programs in university or corporate laboratories), strong letters of recommendation that can address the applicant’s potential as a research scientist, personal statement.

I am an international student, but I studied at an English-speaking institution. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
No. International students who have had training in English are not required to take the TOEFL.

Before applying, should I contact faculty?
There is no need to contact faculty in advance of applying. But if you have questions about a particular faculty member’s research, you are welcome to contact them. UCSF Neuroscience faculty members

What kind of jobs do Neuroscience students get after graduation?
Neuroscience students typically go on to academic postdoctoral positions and ultimately faculty positions, but many students choose industry, policy and teaching positions, or become entrepreneurs. Please see UCSF Graduate Program Statistics.

Can I apply for work or fellowships to help pay my costs?
UCSF Neuroscience is a full-time research program leading to the PhD degree. Because outside employment is not permitted, all students who are admitted to the Neuroscience Program and who remain in good academic standing will receive an annual stipend for living expenses plus tuition/fee remission until graduation, regardless of citizenship. Fees includes medical, dental, vision and mental health insurance.

We do encourage all students to apply for extramural funding, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Please see Funding & Fellowships for more information about sources of extramural funding.