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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Georgia offers unique multidisciplinary opportunities and innovative research approaches in broad areas of neuroscience and model systems that extend from yeast to primates. Our training model provides rigorous theoretical and methodological training in neuroscience utilizing the latest in related technologies. Students work with faculty to become independent thinkers, researchers, and decision-makers.

Due to the inherent interdisciplinary of the discipline, our program is designed to be flexible to complement the student’s background and emphasize their career objectives in neuroscience. Major emphasis is on course work related to dissertation research, but students are expected to develop a broad background in neuroscience. Therefore, many of the relevant coursework is offered through other departments (especially Psychology, Statistics, Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology & Pharmacology).

Facilities

The Neuroscience research network stretches across multiple units on campus. For a detailed list of the participating labs, please see here.

Outcomes

Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in academia as well as the public and private sectors. Our alumni are employed in a variety of positions, including as university faculty, policy analysts, communication directors of nonprofit organizations, attorneys, and officers in government agencies. For more information regarding our alumni, please see our analytics page.

 

The Neuroscience PhD program is a participating member of the Integrated Life Sciences Program (ILS). Therefore, 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 instill good research practices. The hallmark of the ILS curriculum is GRSC 8000: Lab Rotations. This course provides 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 Fall Term

  • 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).

First Spring Term

The second semester marks the start of thesis research. After deciding upon a thesis advisor, a student can officially matriculate into the neuroscience program.

Required Neuroscience Coursework

1. Neurophysiology (3 hrs):

  • VPHY 8400 Neurophysiology

2. Neuroanatomy (3 hrs):

  • VPHY 8020 Neuroanatomy
  • PSYC 8300 Neuroanatomy for Behavioral Scientists

3. Ethics (1 hr):

  • GRSC 8550 Responsible Conduct of Research

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
  • CBIO 8300 Advanced Developmental Biology
  • CBIO 8400 Advanced Cellular Biology
  • GENE 8140 Functional Genomics
  • BCMB(CBIO)(GENE) 8112 Advanced Genetics, Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I
  • BCMB(CBIO)(GENE) 8212 Advanced Genetics, Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 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)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Integrative Life Sciences manages applications for neuroscience. Applications 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, overall potential for graduate study, and perceived fit with the program. 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) and 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, but accepted, 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.

Recruitment

In keeping with University of Georgia’s commitment to service and innovation, we embrace the knowledge that novel research and deep insights into complex biological problems often arise when science is conducted by individuals with different perspectives. Therefore, the Neuroscience PhD Program seeks to enroll students from underrepresented populations in STEM. Our program works in junction with Integrative Life Sciences to attract and retain talented neuroscience candidates from across the US and abroad. For more information regarding that program (and how it is incorporated into the Neuroscience PhD Program), please see our FAQ page or contact their office.