Four images side-by-side to create a single banner photo described in the image caption.

Images left to right: Christine Liu (PhD 2021) in the lab, Christiane Voufo (PhD 2022) as the graduate student speaker at the Spring 2023 commencement ceremony, current Neuroscience PhD students in Tahoe during the 2023 UC Berkeley Neuroscience Research Conference, and Karina Bistrong (current Neuroscience PhD student) with poster presentation. Images provided by Christine Liu, GradImages, Frédéric Theunissen, and the Feller lab, respectively.

The Neuroscience Department will offer PhD training through the Neuroscience PhD Program, which will be run jointly by the department and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI).  This program has existed since 2000, run by HWNI, and has graduated > 150 students with a PhD in Neuroscience.  When the department launches, the existing HWNI Neuroscience PhD Program will be adopted and jointly administered by the department and HWNI. This will be a seamless transition for current students, who will not experience any changes to program curriculum or requirements. Over the next few years, we plan to make updates to the course of study, so that the program provides the best possible training, and matches the scope of both the Neuroscience Department and HWNI.  Students who enter the program will be able to choose thesis study with any Neuroscience Department faculty member, or with any training faculty within the broader set of HWNI faculty.

PhD Program

The Neuroscience PhD Program at UC Berkeley offers intensive training in neuroscience research through a combination of coursework, research training, mentoring, and professional development. More than 60 program faculty from the Neuroscience Department and other allied departments provide broad expertise from molecular and cellular neuroscience to systems and computational neuroscience, to human cognitive neuroscience. (For detailed information on faculty research interests, see the Training Faculty page.)

A unique feature of the neuroscience training at Berkeley is the highly multidisciplinary research environment. For instance, neuroscientists work side-by-side in the lab with engineers and roboticists to study motor control, with bioengineers to grow stem cells for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and with chemists to develop new reagents for optical monitoring and control of neural activity. Neuroscience PhD Program students are trained at these intersections between fields and help drive scientific and technological advances.

The Neuroscience PhD Program trains a select group of students (about 10-12 entering students per year) in an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment. Since its official launch in 2000, the program has trained more than 150 students. Our applicants have outstanding undergraduate records in both research and scholarship from diverse academic disciplines, including biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, engineering, and computer science. We carefully select students with the expectation that, given strong graduate training, they will develop into tomorrow’s leaders in the field of neuroscience. We welcome you to apply to our program.

Please see the Neuroscience Department page: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.