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One common path for pursuing a career in neuroscience is to continue one's education in graduate school. UT has a Ph.D. program in Neuroscience, administered by the Institute for Neuroscience. While it may seem daunting to consider doing even more schooling when you're just getting started as an undergraduate, it is valuable to know some basic facts about neuroscience graduate school to help focus your goals as you progress through your undergraduate program.

Fact 1: Many Ph.D. programs actually pay you to get your degree! In addition to paying no tuition, programs pay students a monthly stipend (students in UT's Institute for Neuroscience get paid ~$30,000/year). 

Fact 2: The focus of training in Ph.D. programs neuroscience is research. Students typically take a light load of courses during the first few semesters of the program, but most of their time, especially after the second year, is centered around research.

Fact 3: Switching fields between undergraduate and graduate training is common. Many students entering neuroscience programs have Bachelor degrees in other fields. Similarly, students with Bachelor degrees in neuroscience often pursue research-focused graduate degrees (Ph.D.s) in a variety of fields, or graduate/professional programs ranging from healthcare-related fields, to law, business, engineering, and more. 

So what does it take to get into a neuroscience Ph.D. program? The factor that programs like UT's Institute for Neuroscience consider most important is a student's involvement in research. For more information on that, see our page on Finding a Lab. Other important considerations are letters of recommendation, GPA, and extracurricular activities. While many neuroscience graduate programs no longer require the GRE, enough do that most students applying still take this exam. 

Here are some links to what we think are excellent sources for further information on neuroscience graduate programs:

An excellent article about applying for and pursuing a neuroscience Ph.D. Written by neuroscience faculty at University of Minnesota, this article provides some data-based advice about how to best prepare yourself for graduate school in neuroscience.

An article about what to look for in neuroscience Ph.D. programs. This article is intended more for neuroscience faculty and administrators, but the information can also help students identify what the should hope to get out of a PhD.

A journal article describing the results of a survey of neuroscience Ph.D. program admissions committees. The admissions committees reported on the qualities that they look for in applicants to their programs and the metrics they use to assess those qualities.

An article about career alternatives for neuroscience Ph.D.s.

Strategies for applying to graduate school, from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute