Interdisciplinary Neuroscience PhD Program

A major goal of neuroscience research is to provide society with the basic information about nervous system function that is critical for developing treatments for neurological and behavioral disorders. Scientific study of the nervous system is thus essential for overall health and well being.

Damage or disorders in this system may result in severe impairment to the patient and costs billions of dollars to diagnose and treat each year.  Examples of brain disorders that exact a devastating toll on the nation’s health include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, and drug abuse, to name but a few.  Furthermore, as biomedical research progresses, it has become increasingly clear that the nervous system is critically involved in all diseases, not just behavioral and neurological disorders.  Brain function influences the onset and progression of illnesses ranging from infectious disease to cancer to diabetes.

The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience PhD Program is a Tier 1 Graduate Program in the Integrative Life Sciences at UGA. For more information on Tier 1 programs, please visit their website.

Thank you for your interest in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.

Below, you will find a checklist of the steps needed to complete the application for admission into the program. As a participating program in Integrative Life Sciences (ILS) at UGA, you will find additional detailed application information on their webpage.

APPLICATION DEADLINE

ILS manages applications for multiple PhD graduate programs . Applications for all of these programs are due December 1st for matriculation the following Fall term. Late applications will be considered, but these should be submitted as soon after the deadline as possible.

EVALUATION & TIMELINE

Applications are screened in December and early January. Assessment will focus on Research Experience, Letters of Reference, GPA and GRE scores, overall Potential for Graduate Study, and perceived Fit with affiliated graduate programs. Excellence in one or more areas can offset deficiencies in other areas; explanations for deficiencies should be described in your Personal Statement. Top domestic applicants will be invited to visit the UGA campus in early February for in-person interviews and interactions with current students and research faculty. Top international applicants will have a Skype-based interview. Offers of admission will be extended to successful applicants shortly after interviews. Approximately 80% of interviewees are typically extended an admission offer.

APPLICATION PROCESS (both steps must be completed)

  1. Complete an online ILS Background & Interest form. This form can be submitted at anytime, but preferably soon after you submit your online application to the UGA Graduate School. This form is critical to the evaluation of your application. Before completing the form, review the ILS website to identify Interdisciplinary Groups, Departments, and Faculty that are of interest to you.
  2. Submit an official online application to the UGA Graduate School, and route required transcripts (unofficial transcripts sufficient for initial application review), GRE scores, letters of recommendation as instructed during the application process. The UGA Graduate School website provides detailed descriptions of admissions requirements, the application fee, and other pertinent information. International applicants should review supplemental requirements prior to applying.

Note: GRE Subject Tests and GRE Personal Potential Index reports are not required as part of the application process

PERSONAL STATEMENT

The Statement of Purpose that is submitted to the UGA Graduate School during the application process can be the same as the Personal Statement requested on the ILS form, as long as the length and content are within the stated guidelines. We highly recommend that your statement include the following at the very least:

  • your reason(s) for pursuing graduate study
  • your interests (e.g. names of faculty, interdisciplinary groups, and/or graduate programs)
  • evidence of scholarly activity (e.g. research experiences, manuscripts published/in preparation)
  • any special circumstances of which you wish to make us aware
  • if applicable, explanations for any perceived deficiencies in your application

IMPORTANT CODES

Select Integrated Life Sciences, PhD, Fall term as the Major during the application process. If there is a department option, select Neuroscience.

The institutional code for ETS reports (i.e. GRE scores) is 5813.

Since the Neuroscience PhD program is a participating member of the ILS program, the first year curriculum is specifically designed to facilitate the transition to graduate research and education. The first semester is structured to engage students in meaningful research experiences and to teach good research practices through innovative curriculum. Research rotations provide an opportunity for students to explore the breadth and depth of life science research available at UGA through the ILS program before formally committing to a thesis project and advisor.

First Year Coursework

Fall Semester

Required Courses

  • GRSC 8000. Rotations – Three 6-week rotations. Students can request a rotation with ANY of the 200+ ILS-affiliated faculty members that are drawn from 14 departments / institutes. Students can expect to have 30+ hours of time per week for research-related activities.
  • GRSC 8010. Professional Development for ILS Students– This 7-week discussion-based class provides guidance on all the activities needed to become a successful professional scientist. Taught in the 1st half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8550. Responsible Conduct of Research – This 7-week discussion-based class delves into the impact of science on society, the importance of ethics in science, proper data management, and the value of proper mentoring, among other topics. Taught in the 2nd half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8020. Critical Reading of the Primary Scientific Literature – This semester-long class teaches you how to deconstruct and understand primary literature at a level needed for becoming a successful graduate student. Topics emphasize both foundation and emerging topics.

Elective Courses (choose one)

  • GRSC 8015. Biological Data Management – This semester-long class teaches you how to solve non-trivial challenges frequently encountered when managing complex and heterogeneous biological data sets. Topics include standard operating procedures for collecting and managing data including metadata, quality control of data capture and annotation, and covers both digital and non-digital types of data.
  • Grant Writing (various course numbers) – These semester-long classes teach grant-writing skills with the goal of preparing a fellowship or other grant proposal for submission to an external agency as part of the class.
  • LLED 7768 / LLED 7769. These language development seminars are designed to improve the language skills of an international student that might seek future stipend support through a Teaching assistantship. Performance on the IELTS or Speak test section of the TOEFL is used to gauge whether any of these courses are required (see here).

Spring Semester Coursework

The second semester marks the start of thesis research. After deciding upon a thesis advisor and graduate program, ILS students matriculate into a department- or institute-based graduate program and formally become a student of the chosen program. All students must meet the degree requirements of the chosen graduate program in order to receive a graduate degree. In general, most require a defined set of coursework, successful completion of advancement to candidacy exams, and a body of work that satisfies the requirements of the degree being sought.

NEUROSCEINCE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

1. Neurophysiology (3 hrs):

  • VPHY 8400 Neurophysiology

2. Neuroanatomy (3 hrs):

  • PSYC 8300 Neuroanatomy for Behavioral Scientists

3. Ethics (3 hrs):

  • BHSI 8000 Bioethics

4. Research Skills (6 hrs):

  • STAT 6210 and STAT 6220 Statistical Methods I & II
  • PSYC 6410 Statistics in Psychological Research and PSYC 6430 Applied Regression Methods in Psychology or PSYC 6440 Experimental Design in Psychology.)
  • VPHY 6930 Research Methods
  • PSYC 8330 Laboratory Apprenticeship in Biopsychology
  • CBIO 8920L Cellular Biology Research Techniques
  • BIOL (CBIO) (VPAT) 5040/7040 Electron Microscopy
  • CBIO 8050-8050L Techniques in Modern Microscopy

Elective Courses Organized by Content Area

Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology:

  • BCMB 6000 General Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BCMB 6010 and BCMB 6020 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II
  • BCMB 8010 and BCMB 8020 Advanced Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II

Physiology & Pharmacology:

  • VPHY 6090 and VPHY 6100 Comparative Mammalian Physiology
  • VPHY 8460 Molecular Pharmacology
  • PHRM 6400 Human Physiology I
  • PHRM 6410 and PHRM 6420 Pharmacology I & II
  • PHRM 8430 Advanced Neuropharmacology
  • CBIO 6730 Endocrinology

Behavioral/Systems Neuroscience:

  • PSYC 6130 Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • PSYC 6160 Sensory Psychology
  • PSYC 8900 Psychopharmacology Seminar
  • CMSD 6800 Neural Bases of Speech, Language, and Hearing

Cognitive/Clinical Neuroscience:

  • PSYC 7780 Animal Cognition
  • PSYC 8550 Neuropsychological Assessment
  • PSYC 6110 Basic Learning Processes
  • EPSY 8340 Child Neuropsychology

Taken over the course of residency at the University of Georgia:

  • BHSI 9000 Research (10-30h)
  • BHSI 9330 Dissertation (6h)

Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. What degree will I earn?
    ILS is a portal to multiple graduate programs at UGA. After a semester of research experiences and coursework under ILS, you select a thesis advisor and become affiliated with your advisor’s home graduate program from which you ultimately receive your PhD degree. See here for the list of graduate programs that are available to you.
  2. Who will be on my graduate advisory committee?
    In most departments, the graduate advisory committee is composed of faculty from both within and outside of the home department.  In consultation with your advisor, you will select committee members who can best assist you with your graduate training and research.  Committee members need not be participating members of the ILS program.
  3. How will I be supported during and after the first year?
    ILS students receive full funding for the first semester with no teaching obligation. Funding in future semesters may be in the form of a research assistantship (RA), teaching assistantship (TA), intramural or extramural fellowship, or a combination of these funding mechanisms. RA support is typically the main mechanism; over 80% of ILS faculty have grant support in any given year. Stipend support in years 2 through 5 is guaranteed at the standard level of the graduate program chosen for thesis research. Tuition is remitted for all ILS students in Year 1, and this continues for the duration of the degree program as long as the student is supported by RA or TA.
  4. Will I be expected to teach?
    Development of instructional skills is an important part of your graduate education and training.  While there are no teaching requirements for the first semester of the ILS program, your home department may have a teaching requirement and your advisor may require you to serve as a teaching assistant at some time during your graduate program.  This is a question that should be explored with all potential advisors.
  5. Are international students eligible for the ILS program?
    ILS is open to all international students holding degrees from accredited undergraduate institutions as long as
    country-specific academic credentials and requirements are met. The University of Georgia, however, sets overall minimum requirements for English proficiencyApplicants completing at least least one year at a U.S. academic institution may request to have the English proficiency requirement waived.  Applicants residing in countries where English is not the primary language must demonstrate English proficiency.  Such applicants will benefit from having a TOEFL Speak Test score of 22 or higher or an IELTS Speaking test score of 6.5 or higher.  Applicants with lower Speak Test scores can be admitted, especially when the applicant demonstrates outstanding ability in another area (e.g. research, experience, etc.), but students must enroll in English-proficiency courses during their first year of study.
  6. What happens if I am not selected for the ILS program?
    ILS receives more applications from highly qualified candidates than it can support. Thus, ILS frequently refers applicants to other graduate programsbased on the applicant’s stated faculty and research interests. These other programs are just as selective as ILS. If your referred application is pursued by a particular program, the program will contact you directly with additional details and to determine whether you wish to be formally considered as an applicant to that program.
  7. How do I compare to other candidates?
    Applicants admitted into ILS are identified using a variety of criteria. There is no single basis for comparison. Over the past several years, however, admitted candidates have had the following academic credentials (average; range):

GPA (4.0 scale): 3.65; 2.82-4.00

GRE Verbal: 157; 145 – 170
GRE Quant: 159; 145 – 170
GRE Analyt: 4.0; 2.5 – 6.0

TOEFL Total Score: 104; 90 – 119
TOEFL Speak Test: 24.3; 20 – 30

General Information

Domestic candidates (PDF)

International candidates (PDF)

Graduate School Admissions FAQs

+ Overview

A major goal of neuroscience research is to provide society with the basic information about nervous system function that is critical for developing treatments for neurological and behavioral disorders. Scientific study of the nervous system is thus essential for overall health and well being.

Damage or disorders in this system may result in severe impairment to the patient and costs billions of dollars to diagnose and treat each year.  Examples of brain disorders that exact a devastating toll on the nation’s health include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, and drug abuse, to name but a few.  Furthermore, as biomedical research progresses, it has become increasingly clear that the nervous system is critically involved in all diseases, not just behavioral and neurological disorders.  Brain function influences the onset and progression of illnesses ranging from infectious disease to cancer to diabetes.

The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience PhD Program is a Tier 1 Graduate Program in the Integrative Life Sciences at UGA. For more information on Tier 1 programs, please visit their website.

+ Admissions

Thank you for your interest in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.

Below, you will find a checklist of the steps needed to complete the application for admission into the program. As a participating program in Integrative Life Sciences (ILS) at UGA, you will find additional detailed application information on their webpage.

APPLICATION DEADLINE

ILS manages applications for multiple PhD graduate programs . Applications for all of these programs are due December 1st for matriculation the following Fall term. Late applications will be considered, but these should be submitted as soon after the deadline as possible.

EVALUATION & TIMELINE

Applications are screened in December and early January. Assessment will focus on Research Experience, Letters of Reference, GPA and GRE scores, overall Potential for Graduate Study, and perceived Fit with affiliated graduate programs. Excellence in one or more areas can offset deficiencies in other areas; explanations for deficiencies should be described in your Personal Statement. Top domestic applicants will be invited to visit the UGA campus in early February for in-person interviews and interactions with current students and research faculty. Top international applicants will have a Skype-based interview. Offers of admission will be extended to successful applicants shortly after interviews. Approximately 80% of interviewees are typically extended an admission offer.

APPLICATION PROCESS (both steps must be completed)

  1. Complete an online ILS Background & Interest form. This form can be submitted at anytime, but preferably soon after you submit your online application to the UGA Graduate School. This form is critical to the evaluation of your application. Before completing the form, review the ILS website to identify Interdisciplinary Groups, Departments, and Faculty that are of interest to you.
  2. Submit an official online application to the UGA Graduate School, and route required transcripts (unofficial transcripts sufficient for initial application review), GRE scores, letters of recommendation as instructed during the application process. The UGA Graduate School website provides detailed descriptions of admissions requirements, the application fee, and other pertinent information. International applicants should review supplemental requirements prior to applying.

Note: GRE Subject Tests and GRE Personal Potential Index reports are not required as part of the application process

PERSONAL STATEMENT

The Statement of Purpose that is submitted to the UGA Graduate School during the application process can be the same as the Personal Statement requested on the ILS form, as long as the length and content are within the stated guidelines. We highly recommend that your statement include the following at the very least:

  • your reason(s) for pursuing graduate study
  • your interests (e.g. names of faculty, interdisciplinary groups, and/or graduate programs)
  • evidence of scholarly activity (e.g. research experiences, manuscripts published/in preparation)
  • any special circumstances of which you wish to make us aware
  • if applicable, explanations for any perceived deficiencies in your application

IMPORTANT CODES

Select Integrated Life Sciences, PhD, Fall term as the Major during the application process. If there is a department option, select Neuroscience.

The institutional code for ETS reports (i.e. GRE scores) is 5813.

+ Curriculum
Since the Neuroscience PhD program is a participating member of the ILS program, the first year curriculum is specifically designed to facilitate the transition to graduate research and education. The first semester is structured to engage students in meaningful research experiences and to teach good research practices through innovative curriculum. Research rotations provide an opportunity for students to explore the breadth and depth of life science research available at UGA through the ILS program before formally committing to a thesis project and advisor.

First Year Coursework

Fall Semester

Required Courses

  • GRSC 8000. Rotations – Three 6-week rotations. Students can request a rotation with ANY of the 200+ ILS-affiliated faculty members that are drawn from 14 departments / institutes. Students can expect to have 30+ hours of time per week for research-related activities.
  • GRSC 8010. Professional Development for ILS Students– This 7-week discussion-based class provides guidance on all the activities needed to become a successful professional scientist. Taught in the 1st half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8550. Responsible Conduct of Research – This 7-week discussion-based class delves into the impact of science on society, the importance of ethics in science, proper data management, and the value of proper mentoring, among other topics. Taught in the 2nd half of Fall semester.
  • GRSC 8020. Critical Reading of the Primary Scientific Literature – This semester-long class teaches you how to deconstruct and understand primary literature at a level needed for becoming a successful graduate student. Topics emphasize both foundation and emerging topics.

Elective Courses (choose one)

  • GRSC 8015. Biological Data Management – This semester-long class teaches you how to solve non-trivial challenges frequently encountered when managing complex and heterogeneous biological data sets. Topics include standard operating procedures for collecting and managing data including metadata, quality control of data capture and annotation, and covers both digital and non-digital types of data.
  • Grant Writing (various course numbers) – These semester-long classes teach grant-writing skills with the goal of preparing a fellowship or other grant proposal for submission to an external agency as part of the class.
  • LLED 7768 / LLED 7769. These language development seminars are designed to improve the language skills of an international student that might seek future stipend support through a Teaching assistantship. Performance on the IELTS or Speak test section of the TOEFL is used to gauge whether any of these courses are required (see here).

Spring Semester Coursework

The second semester marks the start of thesis research. After deciding upon a thesis advisor and graduate program, ILS students matriculate into a department- or institute-based graduate program and formally become a student of the chosen program. All students must meet the degree requirements of the chosen graduate program in order to receive a graduate degree. In general, most require a defined set of coursework, successful completion of advancement to candidacy exams, and a body of work that satisfies the requirements of the degree being sought.

NEUROSCEINCE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

1. Neurophysiology (3 hrs):

  • VPHY 8400 Neurophysiology

2. Neuroanatomy (3 hrs):

  • PSYC 8300 Neuroanatomy for Behavioral Scientists

3. Ethics (3 hrs):

  • BHSI 8000 Bioethics

4. Research Skills (6 hrs):

  • STAT 6210 and STAT 6220 Statistical Methods I & II
  • PSYC 6410 Statistics in Psychological Research and PSYC 6430 Applied Regression Methods in Psychology or PSYC 6440 Experimental Design in Psychology.)
  • VPHY 6930 Research Methods
  • PSYC 8330 Laboratory Apprenticeship in Biopsychology
  • CBIO 8920L Cellular Biology Research Techniques
  • BIOL (CBIO) (VPAT) 5040/7040 Electron Microscopy
  • CBIO 8050-8050L Techniques in Modern Microscopy

Elective Courses Organized by Content Area

Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology:

  • BCMB 6000 General Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • BCMB 6010 and BCMB 6020 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II
  • BCMB 8010 and BCMB 8020 Advanced Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I & II

Physiology & Pharmacology:

  • VPHY 6090 and VPHY 6100 Comparative Mammalian Physiology
  • VPHY 8460 Molecular Pharmacology
  • PHRM 6400 Human Physiology I
  • PHRM 6410 and PHRM 6420 Pharmacology I & II
  • PHRM 8430 Advanced Neuropharmacology
  • CBIO 6730 Endocrinology

Behavioral/Systems Neuroscience:

  • PSYC 6130 Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • PSYC 6160 Sensory Psychology
  • PSYC 8900 Psychopharmacology Seminar
  • CMSD 6800 Neural Bases of Speech, Language, and Hearing

Cognitive/Clinical Neuroscience:

  • PSYC 7780 Animal Cognition
  • PSYC 8550 Neuropsychological Assessment
  • PSYC 6110 Basic Learning Processes
  • EPSY 8340 Child Neuropsychology

Taken over the course of residency at the University of Georgia:

  • BHSI 9000 Research (10-30h)
  • BHSI 9330 Dissertation (6h)
+ FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. What degree will I earn?
    ILS is a portal to multiple graduate programs at UGA. After a semester of research experiences and coursework under ILS, you select a thesis advisor and become affiliated with your advisor’s home graduate program from which you ultimately receive your PhD degree. See here for the list of graduate programs that are available to you.
  2. Who will be on my graduate advisory committee?
    In most departments, the graduate advisory committee is composed of faculty from both within and outside of the home department.  In consultation with your advisor, you will select committee members who can best assist you with your graduate training and research.  Committee members need not be participating members of the ILS program.
  3. How will I be supported during and after the first year?
    ILS students receive full funding for the first semester with no teaching obligation. Funding in future semesters may be in the form of a research assistantship (RA), teaching assistantship (TA), intramural or extramural fellowship, or a combination of these funding mechanisms. RA support is typically the main mechanism; over 80% of ILS faculty have grant support in any given year. Stipend support in years 2 through 5 is guaranteed at the standard level of the graduate program chosen for thesis research. Tuition is remitted for all ILS students in Year 1, and this continues for the duration of the degree program as long as the student is supported by RA or TA.
  4. Will I be expected to teach?
    Development of instructional skills is an important part of your graduate education and training.  While there are no teaching requirements for the first semester of the ILS program, your home department may have a teaching requirement and your advisor may require you to serve as a teaching assistant at some time during your graduate program.  This is a question that should be explored with all potential advisors.
  5. Are international students eligible for the ILS program?
    ILS is open to all international students holding degrees from accredited undergraduate institutions as long as
    country-specific academic credentials and requirements are met. The University of Georgia, however, sets overall minimum requirements for English proficiencyApplicants completing at least least one year at a U.S. academic institution may request to have the English proficiency requirement waived.  Applicants residing in countries where English is not the primary language must demonstrate English proficiency.  Such applicants will benefit from having a TOEFL Speak Test score of 22 or higher or an IELTS Speaking test score of 6.5 or higher.  Applicants with lower Speak Test scores can be admitted, especially when the applicant demonstrates outstanding ability in another area (e.g. research, experience, etc.), but students must enroll in English-proficiency courses during their first year of study.
  6. What happens if I am not selected for the ILS program?
    ILS receives more applications from highly qualified candidates than it can support. Thus, ILS frequently refers applicants to other graduate programsbased on the applicant’s stated faculty and research interests. These other programs are just as selective as ILS. If your referred application is pursued by a particular program, the program will contact you directly with additional details and to determine whether you wish to be formally considered as an applicant to that program.
  7. How do I compare to other candidates?
    Applicants admitted into ILS are identified using a variety of criteria. There is no single basis for comparison. Over the past several years, however, admitted candidates have had the following academic credentials (average; range):

GPA (4.0 scale): 3.65; 2.82-4.00

GRE Verbal: 157; 145 – 170
GRE Quant: 159; 145 – 170
GRE Analyt: 4.0; 2.5 – 6.0

TOEFL Total Score: 104; 90 – 119
TOEFL Speak Test: 24.3; 20 – 30

General Information

Domestic candidates (PDF)

International candidates (PDF)

Graduate School Admissions FAQs