Graduate Program in Neuroscience


Is the Graduate Program in Neuroscience part of the UW medical school?

No, we are an interdisciplinary neuroscience program in the Graduate School. We do have a number of faculty who are in departments within the Medical School, but we are not limited to those faculties. Our degree does not lead to an MD which is a clinical degree, but rather a PhD in a research training.

Does your program use rolling admissions, or are all applications considered at the same time after the deadline?

We only accept applications during the open application period and we only review fully completed applications received by the deadline.

Are there any prerequisites or requirements to apply to your program?

The neuroscience program has a holistic approach to our admissions process but we do have certain characteristics that we look for. These include:

  • A sustained academic record of basic sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
  • In depth research experience (a minimum of 6 months) with an output of presentations, posters, or publications listed on your CV.
  • Strong letters of recommendation.
  • An ability to clearly communicate, exemplified through short answer questions.
  • A commitment to broader scientific impacts, such as community outreach, scientific communication, and improving diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee consisting of faculty and students. All committee members use an evaluation rubric that rank the following criteria: Academic Preparation; Self-motivation, Perseverance, and Teamwork; Conscientiousness and Broader Impacts; Research Experience; Program Fit; Letters of Recommendation. 

What are your average test scores and interview/acceptance rates?

As an interdisciplinary program we do not have a “cut-off” or minimums for GRE scores or GPA. We try to balance the application review by reviewing the overall picture of the student’s application.

  • We usually interview 40-45 applicants.
  • We make offers to about 35 applicants.
  • Usually 8-12 applicants accept.
  • Average applicant GPA is 3.50.

Can I get my application fee waived?

There is a fee-waiver process through the graduate school. You will be able to request a fee waiver prior to application submission, at the point in the application when you are requested to enter your credit card information. You will also be requested to provide some financial information. The waiver can take 4-5 working days so you need to submit your application in advance of our deadline.

Do you share my applications with different departments?

Yes, we do share applications with faculty members from other departments.

Do I need to take the GRE to complete my application?

No, GRE scores are optional and therefore not needed to apply to our program.

If I take the GRE, do I need official scores to submit my application?

Self-reported GRE scores are accepted if your official scores have not yet been made available.

Do I need to re-send my GRE scores for a different cycle then the one I originally applied for?

Yes, you need to re-send the scores for the current application cycle. When the admissions committee reviews applications, they only look at the current applications; there is no way to link information from past applications to the current one.

The UW Neuroscience program requires three rotations. What are some things I should be considering when choosing a lab?

Choosing a lab requires a lot of consideration. It is helpful to attend our interviews with thoughts about possible labs you would consider working in. Our program contains both experimental and computational labs. Experimental labs often require students to work with animals, such as worms, flies, zebrafish, mice, and primates. Students working in computational labs may primarily interact with neuroscience data and mathematical models. While graduate students often come in with some idea of a research direction they want to pursue, many students switch their focus or field based on interests they acquire while rotating through different labs.

Can I qualify for the program without Neuroscience/Research (lab) experience?

Our admissions process values research experience because it provides students with a clear sense of what it means to do lab research prior to embarking upon a PhD. Research experience also helps students prepare for the challenges of a graduate research-training program. However, prior research experience is less about acquisition of specific lab skills than it is about the general practice of scientific inquiry. Students typically pursue different research directions than those they studied prior to joining the program.