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 Neuroscience PhD while still maintaining their "home" in the department to which they were admitted. Students who complete the Neuroscience PhD Program receive a single diploma that indicates a PhD in Neuroscience with specialization in the student's track.

Steps for applying to the 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 that 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 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: 

Requirements for Certification

Participation in the graduate Neuroscience certificate initially requires admission to the graduate program of any one of the "home" departments: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO), Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB), Psychology and Neuroscience (PSYC/NRSC), or Integrative Physiology (IPHY). Students must satisfy the requirements of both the home department and of the graduate certificate in Neuroscience. They then receive a PhD in their department and certification in Neuroscience and Behavior. The major difference between this certificate program and the dual Neuroscience PhD program is the requirement to complete and defend a Neuroscience-related doctoral thesis. The graduate Certificate in Neuroscience and Behavior requires the following graduate courses:

  • Neuroscience Methods laboratory (can be met by courses in several participating departments)
  • Mammalian Neuroanatomy (NRSC 5262)
  • Neuropharmacology (e.g., NRSC 5132)
  • Neurophysiology (e.g., IPHY 5720)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience or Animal Behavior (e.g., NRSC 5100/5110, EBIO 5800)
  • Molecular Neurobiology or Molecular Genetics or Developmental Neuroscience (e.g., PSYC 5232, MCDB 5777)
  • Attendance at a weekly journal club or discussion group (faculty led)
  • Attendance at neuroscience colloquia (faculty led)

How to Apply

Persons interested in the NSci Certificate Program need to apply for admission through one of the participating departments. Information on the graduate program of a department and the application process can be obtained from the following sources.

For E-Biology please contact:

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Campus Box 334
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0334
Phone: 303-492-7654

For Integrative Physiology please contact:

Department of Integrative Physiology
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0354
Phone: 303-492-3122

For Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology please contact:

Departmeny of MCD Biology
Campus Box 347
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0347
Phone: 303-492-7743

For Psychology and Neuroscience please contact:

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Campus Box 345
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0345
Phone: 303-735-0163