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Neuroscience Ph.D Application Guide

The Neurosciences graduate program recruits students from diverse backgrounds in the life sciences. Though, we gladly welcome applicants from diverse fields of study. Although there are no strict course requirements for admission, a suggested undergraduate preparation includes at least one year each of general biology, calculus and physics, two years of chemistry (general, physical, or organic), as well as advanced course work in other areas of science, such as biophysics, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, neurobiology, microbiology, and immunology.

Application Deadline: Novemeber 25, 2024 at 11:59 PM (Local Time Zone). 
Application Opens: September 4, 2024

All application materials must be received by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.



Before beginning your application, please review our FAQs as well as the information on the UC San Diego Graduate Admissions Website

How to Apply

1) UC San Diego Graduate Application

  • Create an account at
  • Complete all requested information of the online application
    • Select: Neuroscience (NE75) as the program of study
    • Make sure to complete our department questions
  • Previous UCSD Students need to contact our office for submission -
  • Application Fee: ($135 U.S. citizens and permanent residents; $155 international)

2) Statement of Purpose (750 word limit)

From your Statement of Purpose, we hope to get a sense of what drives and motivates your passion for neuroscience research. To that end, writing about how your interest in the field developed can be insightful. In addition, please feel free to take this opportunity to discuss both the ups and downs of your path into scientific research or any perceived shortcomings in your application.
How did your life trajectory lead to applying to graduate school at UC San Diego? What drives your interest and passion for neuroscience?

3) Research Statement (750 word limit)

If you have research experience, describe how this has shaped your scientific thinking. What are the neuroscience research questions you have worked on in the past? What outstanding questions in neuroscience would like to address with your future research? Focus on the science and approach. Assume an ideal scenario in which money, resources, etc. are not a concern.
In your research statement, try to refrain from listing all the techniques you have learned. Instead, tell us about what questions you have focused on, how you addressed them experimentally or analytically, and how your findings fit into the broader knowledge base of the field. Discuss experiences when your experiments answered a question (i.e., “worked”), as well as how you experienced times when experiments failed or offered ambiguous results. Describe the type of neuroscience research you would like to pursue during your PhD. As appropriate for you, contextualize these goals in terms of your past research, course work, life experience, and/or the environment at UC San Diego.

4) Letters of Recommendation (3)

You are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Letters are encouraged to be from individuals who have supervised work in a research or academic setting.

You can submit your application without the letters of recommendation submitted

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the recommenders can submit their letters by the deadline

5) Exam Scores

The GRE is not required. 

International Applicants: Submit Evidence of English Language Proficiency. Review the Eligible Exams here: 

Exceptions: You may be exempt if your received a 3.0 or higher from:

  • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or
  • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. You may verify whether your institution meets this requirement by looking up your institution in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED). If English is not the sole language of instruction listed, if no language is listed at all, or if the institution does not appear on the WHED website, you are required to submit English proficiency exam scores. No other documentation (e.g. letters, language certificates, school websites) may be used in place of WHED as a means to obtain an exemption from the English proficiency requirement. 


6) Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Submit your most recent CV. You may also want to include any awards, summer research, presentations, prizes, etc. 



Address inquiries to:

Neurosciences Graduate Program
University of California, San Diego 
9500 Gilman Drive 0634 
La Jolla CA 92093-0634

Phone: 858-534-3377 OR 858-534-7875
Fax: 858-534-8242