Graduate Education Program

Neuroscience PhD 

The Department of Neurosciences offers graduate training in a wide range of disciplines in modern neuroscience. The neurosciences graduate program has a strong emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate the function and development of the nervous system. Training in neurobiology is provided through a combination of research, course work, and seminars.

Thesis research opportunities are available with more than 20 faculty members working in areas such as development of sensory and motor systems, regeneration, sensory and cognitive neuroscience, pathway-finding by axons, synaptic function and plasticity, neurotrophin gene expression and trophic regulation, aging, neuron-glial interactions, simple neural circuits and neural modeling, regulation of neurotransmitter and receptor expression, and neurogenetics.

The Department of Neurosciences is currently undergoing a period of expansion and is actively recruiting new primary faculty. One feature of the department that makes it a particularly attractive training environment is the highly interactive atmosphere, characterized by extensive collaboration among laboratories and with other departments in the university.

Faculty in our department are leading experts in:

Why you should consider our Neurosciences PhD program:

  • The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has an outstanding reputation nationally and internationally.
  • The faculty members are excellent.
  • The program is comprehensive.
  • Case Western Reserve University Neurosciences PhDs move to excellent positions.
  • Case Western Reserve University Neurosciences PhDs publish papers in excellent journals.
  • The environment for training is strong with good faculty-student interactions and good cross department/cross-discipline interactions.
  • The Neurosciences community is concentrated in a small area (90% of the faculty are in two connected buildings).
  • The Neurosciences community conducts research on a variety of topics that span basic molecular topics through computational neuroscience to applied sciences aimed at understanding diseases and solving clinical problems.
  • Cleveland is a great place to live! - it is a very graduate student friendly place: the cost of living is low, nice housing is very close to the university, and there are cool things to do near the university, in the city and the surrounding area.

How to Apply to the Neurosciences PhD Program:

Students interested in earning a PhD in Neurosciences may apply for admission through one of three routes: 

Priority will be given to applications received by December 1. We will continue to review applications received after the priority deadline, but not beyond the final application deadline of January 15.  Your application will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee as soon as it is complete.

Many common questions can be answered by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions section. For more information, please contact Katie Wervey, the Neurosciences Department Graduate Student Coordinator, by email. Accepted or current students can contact Katie Wervey for a current copy of the Neurosciences Graduate Student Handbook.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How will my application be evaluated?

The BSTP Admissions Committee evaluates applications as soon as they are complete. Strong applicants are invited to visit CWRU for an interview at our expense. Offers of admission are made only after the campus visit.

2) Do you accept international students?

Yes. We encourage qualified international students, with experience in, and a passion for neuroscience, to apply.

3) Do you offer early application/early decision?

No. However, applicants are encouraged to file early and to make sure all their application materials have been received. Applicants can check the status of their applications online.

4) Can I apply for admission in the spring term?

No. The Department of Neurosciences only admits students for the fall semester.

5) Should I send official transcripts with my application? 

No, official transcripts are not necessary during the application process. Within the application you can upload unofficial copies of your transcripts on the Educational History page. These are NOT considered official transcripts but will be used for application review. ONLY if you are officially admitted to the University, will you be required to send official transcripts with degree certification (if applicable) from each school listed on the application to the School of Graduate Studies (consult application instructions for email and address - Do not send them to the BSTP or Neurosciences offices). These official transcripts will become property of School of Graduate Studies.

6) How do I send letters of recommendation? 

Letters of recommendation are submitted electronically by the recommenders (once an application is submitted online, an email goes to the recommender with instructions on how to submit their recommendations). 

7) Is there a minimum GPA for applications?

Applicants must have a good academic record (e.g., a B-average or rank in the upper third of his or her graduating class at an institution whose status and programs are readily assessed). Applicants are expected to have performed well in challenging science, math, and English courses.

8) What is the average GPA of accepted students in Neurosciences?

Accepted Neurosciences graduate students generally average a GPA of 3.4 for coursework prior to entering into the Department.

9) What tests do I have to take to be considered for admission?

For international students we require minimum scores on one of the following tests:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): 90 for internet-based test (IBT); 577 for paper-based test
IELTS International English Language Testing System): 7.0
PTE (PTE Academic: Pearson Test of English): 61
If you are from an English-speaking country or you attended a college where the primary language of instruction was in English, you can waive the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE (in this case we would need degree verification).

10) Do I need to send official test scores with my application?

No, official test scores are not necessary during the application process. Within the application you can upload unofficial copies of your score reports on the Test Scores page. These are NOT considered official but will be used by the programs to perform the application review. ONLY if you are officially admitted to the University, will you be required to send official test scores through ETS using CWRU's school code of 1105. IELTS test takers, please do not request official score reports to be sent, simply provide your Test Report Form Number to Graduate Studies and they will verify it online.

11) Do all students, including international students, receive financial aid?

Yes, all admitted students receive full tuition remission, healthcare coverage, and a stipend for 5 years and as long as the student remains in good academic standing (the amount of the stipend for the 2018-2019 academic year is $29,500). If the student does not finish within 5 years, he or she must petition the department Chair and Dean of Graduate Studies for an extension.

12) How many students do you accept each year?

The number of students accepted varies from year to year based on the strength of the applications and available funding.

13) What happens next if the program accepts me?

The department sends a recommendation for acceptance to the Department of Graduate Studies. Graduate Studies makes all final acceptance decisions. Information can be found on their website:

14) Who do I contact for questions about Graduate Studies and the online application?

General information can be found under “Prospective Students” on the Graduate Studies website:
For specific questions not found on their website, you can contact the admissions team in Graduate Studies by calling (216) 368-4390 or email