Graduate Training

Neuroscience PhD Program

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 the following areas:

  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Systems and Cognitive Neurosciences
  • Sensory Neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Applied Neuroscience

Some reasons 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:

Application to the PhD program in Neurosciences is through the Biomedical Sciences Training Program, which provides access to most of the biomedical science PhD programs at CWRU during your first semester.  Students who wish to join the Department of Neurosciences directly should apply to the BSTP by selecting “Biomedical Sciences Training Program” as their Academic Program in the “Enrollment Information” section.   Then, select Neurosciences as a Priority Program of Interest (PPI) in the Supplemental portion of the BSTP application form.  Selecting the PPI option will identify you as an BSTP applicant who seeks admission only to the Neurosciences PhD program.

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 application as they are complete, including scores and letters of recommendation. Strong applicants are invited to visit CWRU for an interview at our expense. This allows applicants to see the program and helps us learn more about the applicants. 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) How do I send letters of recommendation and transcripts?

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). Official transcripts should be mailed directly to our University (consult application instructions for email and address) in sealed envelopes from the issuing school at the time of application.

6) Can I send copies of my transcripts for evaluation purposes, and then if accepted, have the official transcripts sent?

Yes. Transcripts can be uploaded to the online application under the Educational History Section in the application. If accepted, official transcripts must be sent to the School of Graduate Studies (consult application instructions for email and address).

7) Is there a minimum GPA for applications?

No. Applicants must have a good academic record and 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?

We require the general test of the GRE for all applicants plus the TOEFL or IELTS for international students (if you are from an English-speaking country or you attended a college where the instruction was in English, you can waive the TOEFL or IELTS. In this case we would need degree verification).

10) What are the average GRE (general test) scores of accepted students?

Average GRE test scores of Neurosciences students accepted in recent years are as follows: (V) 156 [72%tile], (Q) 157 [74%tile], (A) 4.0 [48%tile].

11) Do I have to take a GRE subject test?

No. The Department of Neurosciences does not require a GRE subject test for admission.

12) Do I have to send original copies of my TOEFL and GRE score reports at the time of application?

No, the School of Graduate Studies will forward all official score reports of standardized tests (GRE, TOEFL, etc.) to the program of interest. If it’s near the deadline and we have not received score reports, we may request that the applicant forward us a copy for evaluation purposes until the official reports become available. Once a student is admitted to the graduate program we will require the original score reports.

13) What are the minimum TOEFL and IELTS score requirements?

To be considered for admission, we require a minimum score of 90 on the Internet-based test (IBT) or 577 on the Paper-based test (PBT) for TOEFL. For IELTS we required a 7.0.

14) What is your institution code and department code for requesting official GRE and TOEFL score reports?

Institution Code: 1105. You no longer need Department Codes.

15) 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 2017-2018 academic year is $29,000). 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.

16) 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.