The Neuroscience Graduate Program is a Ph.D. program only. We do not offer a Master’s Degree. Applications are accepted in late fall for the class entering in August of the following academic year.

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

The Neuroscience Graduate Program at UC Berkeley is one of the world’s leaders in training Ph.D. students for a career in neuroscience research. Our Program seeks to recruit and train the very best young neuroscientists, including historically underrepresented students. We see a direct connection between diversity and excellence.

Submitting your Application

To apply, use the UC Berkeley Application for Graduate Study, available online beginning in September.

The deadline for receipt of complete applications, including transcripts, GRE test scores, and recommendation letters, is December 2, 2013. Late applications are not accepted or reviewed. We do not accept applications for Spring semester. The entire application process is online and it includes uploading transcripts, inputting the registration number for GRE and/or TOEFL exams, and filling out contact information for at least three recommenders.

Only complete applications will be reviewed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all materials, including recommendation letters, are submitted by the deadline.

Important note: UC Berkeley policy allows each applicant to apply to only one graduate program per application cycle. Several other Berkeley doctoral programs also admit students for training in specific areas of neuroscience, including Biophysics, Physics, Psychology, Vision Science, Molecular & Cell Biology, and Bioengineering. Unlike these programs, the Neuroscience Graduate Program provides broad, interdisciplinary training in all levels and areas of neuroscience. You need to be sure, therefore, which program best fits you and your interests, and apply to that specific program.

For tips on successful applications, see Application Tips below.

Requirements for Application

Minimum requirements for admission:

  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (for US institutions).
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Use Institution Code 4833 and Program Code 0213 for reporting.
  • At least one year of laboratory research experience.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Proof of English Proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) required of international applicants (For the TOEFL, use Institution Code 4833. No department/program code.).
Strongly recommended:

Graduate Record Subject Examination in one of following subjects: Biology; Biochemistry; Chemistry; Psychology; Mathematics; Computer Science; Physics.

Strong undergraduate preparation for neuroscience includes at least one year of college level coursework in one of the following disciplines: Biology; Physics; Chemistry; Calculus; Engineering.

Additional coursework in cognitive science, psychology, biophysics, or neurobiology is advisable.

At least one year of laboratory experience is required for admission. Applicants should describe their research experience either in the personal statement or the statement of purpose portion of the on-line application.

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Letters should be from individuals who have supervised their work in a laboratory, research, or academic setting and can comment on the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, scientific leadership skills, and scholarly potential.

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. The University requires the following minimum passing scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 230 for Computer-based test; or 68 for Internet-based test. If an international applicant has enrolled in an academic program at an American University for at least one year and has a minimum 3.0 GPA, the TOEFL requirement can be waived.

For additional information, see Application Tips.

Contact Information

  • Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • UC Berkeley
  • 450 Li Ka Shing, MC#3370
  • Berkeley, CA 94720
  • tleonard@berkeley.edu
  • Phone: (510) 642-8915

Technical problems with the on-line application: contact gradapp@berkeley.edu.

General questions about graduate admissions at UC Berkeley: contact gradadm@berkeley.edu. For comprehensive information on university-wide graduate application and admissions processes, check the Graduate Admissions Page.

Specific questions about the Neuroscience Graduate Program application: tleonard@berkeley.edu.

Application Review Process

Applications are reviewed by an admissions committee comprised of faculty and a senior graduate student. Only complete applications are reviewed. The admissions committee review takes into consideration all aspects of an application: transcripts; prior research experience; test scores; letters of recommendation; statement of purpose; personal history.

Top applicants are invited in January to visit UC Berkeley for interviews. Next year's interview dates are TBD.

During the visit, candidates interview with 5-8 faculty members, interact with current graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and attend social events, such as faculty-hosted dinners and student-hosted parties. The goal is to introduce the applicants to the neuroscience community at Berkeley, both socially and professionally, and to evaluate applicants’ preparedness for graduate research. Faculty evaluations from the interviews inform final admissions decisions, which are made after the end of the second recruitment visit. Official admission offers are sent to successful applicants in early to mid-March.

Application Tips

Inform Yourself

Please read all pertinent information on the program and application requirements before you start the application process. Most questions are answered in these on-line materials.

Get Started Early

Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the application process early. December 2 is the deadline for all application materials, including the on-line application, transcripts, GRE scores, and recommendation letters.

GRE scores: GREs must be taken by late-October, in order for scores to reach the Neuroscience Program office by December 2. Later testing session scores will not reach the office in time.

Recommendation letters: Letters of recommendation are a critical part of the application. Faculty recommenders are usually very busy, and often have competing requests for recommendations from many students. It is imperative to ask for recommendation letters early, and to communicate clearly the December 2 deadline.

The admissions committee begins its work shortly after the December 2 deadline. The committee does not read incomplete applications.

Less is Sometimes More

The on-line application should convey all you want the committee to know about you in a compelling and concise form. Since several hundred applications are received, extraneous material is unlikely to be read. Please avoid sending excess materials that are not required in the application, but make sure that everything that is required can be found within the application.

You must choose at least one area of emphasis from the drop down menu in the on-line application. While your choice does not obligate you to follow any specific path once in graduate school, failure to do so delays the review process.

Due to the diverse academic backgrounds of applicants and the individuality of the admissions process, we do not find it useful to calculate, and we do not provide statistical information about the test scores or grades of admitted students.

Application Fee

Most applicants have to pay the standard UC Berkeley graduate application fees. U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for a fee waiver through the University Graduate Division. Detailed information and form available in the on-line application.

Information for International Applicants

The program has no quotas for International applicants, and each year international students are admitted to the program. Evidence of English language proficiency (such as TOEFL scores) is a University requirement and cannot be waived (see Requirements for Application above.) Unfortunately, application fee wavers are not available for international applicants.