PhD Program

The PhD in Neuroscience is an interdepartmental program that is entered from a participating department. The program has a "track" structure, with each track tailored to the needs of students in particular subdisciplines. Currently there are tracks in: a) Behavioral Genetics, b) Behavioral Neuroscience, c) Clinical Neuroscience, d) Cognitive Neuroscience, e) Integrative Physiology, f) Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Neuroscience, g) Social Neuroscience and h) Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

All students in Neuroscience are required to complete a set of common core courses, with the remaining courses being specific to each track. There are currently 75 participating faculty members and new tracks are expected to be added. The details of the course requirements as well as the nature of the Comprehensive Examination and Thesis can be found by expanding the guidelines immediately below.

Overview of Neuroscience PhD Program
Requirement Provides Expected normal progress
Core courses Breadth and Integration: Introduction to fundamentals of neuroscience; survey and integration of various disciplines contributing to neuroscience; study and exchange of neuroscience research methods and results; an interdisciplinary student cohort The Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I (NRSC 5100) and II (NRSC 5110) courses will be completed by the end of Year 2. Participation in the Advances in Neuroscience (NRSC 6100) Research Seminar (3 semesters) may be completed at any time, but in most cases will be completed by the end of Year 3
Neuroscience depth/focus courses Advanced expertise in several of the fundamental areas of neuroscience These 3 additional neuroscience courses should be completed by the end of Year 3
Neuroscience-related discipline specialization Expert specialization in a neuroscience-related discipline All additional specialization courses should be completed by the end of Year 4
Doctoral thesis State-of-the-art independent research contribution to neuroscience Prospectus: end of Year 3; Thesis: end of Year 5

Neuroscience PhD graduation worksheet


Students apply for admission to one of the participating departments and their admission to CU Boulder and financial support is determined by that department. Once in residence, students are able to enter the combined Neuroscience PhD program while still maintaining their "home" in the department to which they were admitted. Students who complete the combined Neuroscience PhD Program receive a single diploma that indicates both the home department's major and the Neuroscience major with specialization in the student's track.

Students with prior graduate course work at other institutions (including other CU campuses) can petition to have a maximum of two prior courses (6-8 credits) count towards their graduate courses in the combined Neuroscience PhD program at CU Boulder; students can elect to have their courses count for a maximum of one depth course and one specialization course towards the combined Neuroscience PhD degree. The Neuroscience program graduate committee will determine the equivalency of the proposed course transfer, and these requests must be done within 5 years of completing the course to be transferred.

Steps for applying to the combined Neuroscience PhD Program:

  1. Identify a participating home department in which you would like to reside. Remember that students are required to fulfill all of the PhD requirements of the home department in addition to the Neuroscience PhD requirements.
  2. Apply to the Home Department:
  3. If admitted to one of these participating graduate programs, you will have the opportunity within your first 2 years of graduate school to declare your intention to obtain a combined Neuroscience PhD.
  4. One word of caution: not all faculty members within a participating department are participating members of the Neuroscience PhD program. In order to obtain a Neuroscience PhD, the student's research advisor must be a participating member of the Neuroscience Program, and the student's doctoral dissertation project must have a predominant neuroscience theme. Thus, we recommend identifying specific neuroscience faculty that reside within the desired home department during the application processs, and determining the likelihood, that if admitted into that department's graduate program, that one of these faculty will be available to serve as your research advisor.

For more information please contact Dr. Serge Campeau: