Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience

Total Graduate Faculty in Program:
Total Core Graduate Faculty in Program:
Graduate Students in Program:
Students Receiving Assistantships:
Priority Deadlines:

  • Fall December 1


  • Pullman

International Student English Proficiency Exams

International students may need to surpass the Graduate School’s minimum English language proficiency exam scores for this program. If the graduate program has unique score requirements, they will be detailed below. Otherwise, please refer to the Graduate School’s minimum score guidelines.

  • 600 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 100 TOEFLI Minimum score

Degree Description:

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system from elementary molecular events to integrative outputs such as behavior and autonomic control. The PhD program in Neuroscience at WSU includes classroom discussions of primary neuroscience literature, courses designed specifically to teach students scientific reasoning and training in proposal writing and oral presentation skills. However, the bulk of the program is spent pursuing a scientific question that includes the design and completion of an original investigation. Students develop their project under the expert guidance of well-funded and renowned neuroscientists on the faculty at WSU. Members of the graduate faculty in the Program in Neuroscience come from multiple departments, colleges, and campuses from across the University, thus giving students a broad selection of mentors and potential topics for their thesis research.

Students in the graduate Program in Neuroscience participate in the activities sponsored by the Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences (iPBS). All programs that participate in iPBS have a common core curriculum in the first semester (rotations, professional development, and classes in scientific reasoning and quantitative analysis). After completion of the first semester of study, students have the option to change programs and complete their degree in anyone of the participating programs. Participating programs include Neuroscience, Molecular Bioscience, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Combined Residency PhD Programs (Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Microbiology).

Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, CVM and the Graduate School are committed to providing equal opportunity in its services, programs, and employment for individuals with disabilities. Academically qualified students with disabilities are provided with access to the individualized assistance that is consistent with the student’s needs and the essential requirements of the program or course of study in which the student is enrolled. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability.

The Program in Neuroscience has students on three campuses located in Pullman, Spokane and Vancouver, Washington.  Students will be physically located on the campus where their mentor has their laboratory.  All neuroscience applications go to the same location no matter where their potential mentor might be located.

Admission Requirements:

Students wishing to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience need to have a strong math and science background with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (a Master’s degree is not required). Applicants need to submit an application on the WSU Graduate School website to be considered. Application documents must include:

  • College transcripts (unofficial acceptable for initial review–upon admittance official transcripts are required)
  • Three (3) letters of reference
  • Resume or curriculum vita
  • Personal statement describing why you are interested in studying neuroscience (clearly define which faculty mentor (minimum of 3) you are interested in working with and explain why). If admitted to WSU you will have the ability to refine your choice of faculty mentors while doing lab rotations.  Included in the personal statement describe an achievement that you are proud of and discuss how you reached your goal, and any obstacles you had to overcome to reach it.  Conversely, tell us about a time when you didn’t achieve a goal and what you learned from the experience (maximum word length is 350 words).
  • Writing Statement:  Describe a major finding in neuroscience and/or biomedicine over the past five (5) years, and explain why you think it was important (maximum word length of 350 words).  Please cite your work at the end.  Citations do not count in the 350 word length count.  Writing statements over the maximum word length may disqualify your application.

Application review begins December 1 each year.  Only complete applications with all accompanying documents will be reviewed. Applications are reviewed until all available slots are filled.

Student Opportunities:

In addition to developing expertise in several advanced technical approaches used in neuroscience research, students are also trained in the process of scientific research from experimental design, to statistical analysis, to writing both research manuscripts and proposals. Further, students will have opportunities to engage in teaching both in the laboratory and classroom setting. Finally, students will be exposed to a professional development series administered through iPBS that cover not only research ethics and exploration of multiple career pathways, but also focuses on additional leadership skills that are important for success in any professional field.

Career Opportunities:

Graduates can enter a variety of careers that utilize a deep understanding of the scientific process in general, and neuroscience in specific. Such options include basic research in a government, academic, or industry lab, participation in clinical development of therapeutic devices and drugs, business opportunities in the biotech industry, as well as a background for further work in medicine, law, journalism, or teaching.

Career Placements:

Most graduates enter directly into post-doctoral research, often times in some of the most prestigious labs and institutions in the world. On the other hand, numerous graduates have entered directly into the biotech industry, teaching positions, or professional school. Almost all our graduates remain in the general biomedical arena and can be found as tenured professors in research intensive academic institutions, career research scientists in industry, teachers in colleges and secondary schools, business related positions in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, or in the practice of some aspect of clinical medicine.

Contact Information: