Applying to CU Boulder's Behavioral Neuroscience PhD?

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The Behavioral Neuroscience graduate program is a research-oriented program that aims to understand behavior at all levels of organization within the nervous system. Our program draws students from a broad variety of scientific backgrounds, coming from both the social and natural sciences, but they share a few common traits: profound curiosity, and a real energy and enthusiasm about science.

If you apply to work with someone who is not actively recruiting students, your application won't be considered.

Faculty Actively Recruiting Students
  • David Root
  • Serge Campeau 

Faculty Possibly Recruiting Students
  • Ryan Bachtell
  • Michael Baratta
  • Zoe Donaldson
  • Susanna Molas
  • Michael Saddoris

Faculty Not Recruiting Students
  • Theresa Hernández
  • Robert Spencer 
  • Linda Watkins

    • 2023 Recruitment Weekend: TBD
    • The Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program utilizes a direct-admit model where prospective students are admitted into the faculty laboratory of their choice (i.e., no rotations). We encourage prospective students to contact faculty members prior to applying to determine whether they are admitting students for the upcoming year. Your application should state who you would like to work with, and your personal statement should detail why you feel the laboratory would be a good fit for your research interests. 
    • Graduate applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and initial reviews will be completed in early December. Individual faculty members will contact prospective students to schedule an e-meeting after reviewing all applications.
    • Top prospective students will be invited to campus a 2-3 day in-person interview. Travel and lodging expenses for domestic applicants invited to interview with the program will be provided by the Graduate Program. The Graduate Program will also provide for lodging during the interview process for international applicants, however international applicants must cover their own travel expenses to and from the United States. 
    • Final decisions of acceptance are generally made in January/February after the admissions committee has met and all candidates have been evaluated.

    • Academic Background
      You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Students from a broad range of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply, including those with degrees in the neuroscience, biology, chemistry, psychology, bioengineering, etc.
    • Research Experience
       Competitive applicants typically have 6 months or more of research experience, preferably in neuroscience.
    • GRE Scores
      • GRE scores are not required and will not be considered for admission into the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program.
    • TOEFL 
      Applicants whose education was not in English must earn a score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

    • Salary/Stipends
      Students who are accepted into the Behavioral Neuroscience graduate program are provided with financial support for their graduate education. Graduate students are supported by a combination of Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Fellowships/Assistantships (RA). Students are also encouraged to seek external fellowships (e.g. NRSA, GRFP, etc) to support their graduate training.
    • Tuition Waivers
      Students are granted a tuition waiver as long as they are employed as a TA or RA, enrolled as a full-time student, and maintaining satisfactory progress. The waivers include basic tuition for classes that are taken for credit. Students are highly encouraged to establish Colorado state residency after their first year. Students are responsible for the mandatory student fees on a per-semester basis (approx. $800), although graduate program funds are often available to offset these fees.
    • Insurance
      Students are enrolled into the Gold Student Health Insurance Plan and the University will cover approximately 90% of the health insurance premiums. The remaining portion the health insurance premium (approx. $170/semester) are the responsibility of the student.
    • Student Financial Services
      Fellowships, scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available through the Graduate School. Students who submit a complete application for admission to graduate study in Psychology and Neuroscience will automatically be considered for university scholarships and fellowships for which they are eligible. If students complete a financial aid application, they will be considered for other need-based support.

    Boulder is a highly livable city of just over 100,000, including 29,000 students. Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains at 5,430 feet above sea level, Boulder has over 300 sunny days a year, with warm, dry summers and snowy (but relatively mild) winters.

    Boulder is surrounded by a buffer of green space, and recreational opportunities abound. There are over 200 miles of public hiking and biking trails, including many within walking distance of campus. Boulder Creek flows past campus and through the middle of town, surrounded by a green belt and multi-use path. Many ski areas are nearby–including Eldora Ski Resort, which is accessible by public bus. Rocky Mountain National Park is also nearby.

    The University of Colorado campus is centrally located, and most graduate students choose to live in apartments or shared houses in easy walking, biking or busing distance from campus. An excellent bus system (free with a student pass) provides access to the wider Boulder area, Denver, the airport, and skiing.

    More information about Boulder is available from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and City of Boulder websites.