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Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF

Admissions Information

Issues to consider in deciding whether to apply to Neuroscience or to another UCSF graduate program:

The unique feature of the Neuroscience Program is its curriculum that is intended to provide a comprehensive education in all areas of modern nervous system research. First year students participate in coursework that introduces a broad range of approaches to nervous system function ranging from molecular to behavioral levels of analysis. In addition, students carry out 3 to 4 3 month-long “rotations” in neuroscience program labs in order to gain hands-on familiarity with different experimental approaches and to facilitate selection of thesis labs. The Neuroscience Program also offers a series of advanced, specialized seminar courses intended to allow students to evaluate the literature and current concepts in each of the major thematic areas of modern brain research.

Neuroscience faculty conduct research that interfaces with many of the other graduate programs at UCSF, including the Tetrad (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Genetics, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology) Program, Biophysics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Bioengineering and Biomedical Sciences. In virtually all cases, Neuroscience faculty who conduct research at these interfaces are also members of these related programs. Thus students who apply to these programs will have access to the laboratories of relevant Neuroscience faculty. In making a program choice during the application process, students should consider whether the curriculum offered by Neuroscience or by one of these alternative programs best serves their intellectual interests and future career goals.

Note: Each graduate program maintains its own admissions procedure. You may apply to only one of these graduate programs in an academic year.

The Neuroscience program actively seeks applications from members of underrepresented minority groups.

Foreign students should be aware that the UCSF Neuroscience Program is able to accept only one or two foreign students each year because of financial constraints.


Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Neuroscience program, our students have diverse backgrounds in physical and/or biological sciences. The program has as prerequisites undergraduate courses in biology, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, and calculus (although students not trained in one or more of these areas may make them up after enrollment)

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The deadline for receipt of the complete application package for 2008 fall admission is December 15, 2007.

The application form, all academic transcripts, *GRE scores and letters of recommendation should be received by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Consideration of late applications is subject to the discretion of the admissions committee.

*GRE: Official GRE scores should be received by the December 15 deadline. However, we will accept self-reported scores (numerical and percentile) on the application in advance of receipt of the official ETS results. These self-reported scores should be received by December 15, 2007.
TRANSCRIPTS: Please request your transcripts at least three weeks in advance to ensure arrival by the December 15 deadline.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: It is the applicant's responsibility to contact recommenders to request letters. Please follow up with your recommenders to ensure that letters have been written and will arrive by the December 15 deadline.

All selected applicants will be invited to one of two interview/recruitment weekends scheduled for February 8-9 and February 15-16, 2008. Admissions decisions are made within a few weeks of the interview weekends. Individuals offered admission must notify the program of their decision by April 15, 2008. The start date for admitted students is fall 2008.

*GRE exam
All students who apply must take the Graduate Record Examination. Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical tests are required. A GRE subject test is not required, but the program does encourage you to take a subject test of your choice.

MCAT scores may not be submitted in lieu of the GRE.


Institution code:   R4840
Department code: 0213

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Financial Support

The stipend level is currently $26,500 for the 2007-2008 academic year. The stipend level is set annually by the P.I.B.S. Executive Committee after reviewing the cost of living in San Francisco. The program guarantees support for all of its students as long as they are making satisfactory progress toward their degrees although, in most cases, much of the support for senior students is provided by Ph.D. thesis laboratories. The program or Ph.D. thesis laboratory pays required tuition and fees on behalf of students directly to the university.

All entering and first-year students are encouraged to apply for NSF fellowships as well as other fellowships for which individuals might qualify. United States citizens who wish to enter the Program should apply for non-university financial support at the appropriate time so that support can be activated at the time of enrollment. Information about NSF and other fellowships is available from The Fellowship Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 or the web sites of individual funding foundations and agencies. Foreign students should apply for support from appropriate national and international governmental agencies and foundations. In addition, University fellowships and graduate scholarships are available through the University of California. Fellowships with lower stipends than the PIBS support of $26,500 will be supplemented to this level. To facilitate the program's efforts to guarantee full support for its students, all eligible students are expected to become residents of the State of California before beginning their second years of study. 

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Information for Foreign Students

We urge that, before going through the effort and expense of applying to our program, foreign applicants understand that UCSF is a state-funded, public institution that has few mechanisms for support of students who are not citizens or green card-holding permanent residents of the United States.  Because of financial constraints, we are only able to offer admission to 1 - 2 of more than 100 foreign applicants each year, even though many of these applicants are truly outstanding. In practice this means that foreign applicants have little chance of acceptance unless, in addition to having an outstanding academic record, they have carried out their undergraduate studies in North America or have had substantial research experience in a laboratory that has a strong publication record in international journals.

Foreign students, whose training has been in a language other than English, must take the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) in their home countries. Arrangements for the test may be made by writing to the Educational Testing Service.

TOEFL Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 592
Princeton, New Jersey 08540, U.S.A.

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Application Materials

Apply Online

The Application deadline for Fall 2008 is December 15, 2007. (11:59 PM).

Please note: The following items must be received by the deadline:

1) Application.

2) Two letters of recommendation are required. Additional letters will be accepted.

3) GRE test scores. Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical tests are required. Subject test is recommended but not required.

4) Official transcripts.

Use this address for all application materials being sent by mail, including Transcripts, GRE scores, Letters of Recommendation:

UCSF MC 2811
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94158-2324

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Contact Us

Patricia Veitch
Program Administrator
Neuroscience Graduate Program
University of California, San Francisco
UCSF MC 2811
Rock Hall Room 484C
1550 4TH Street
San Francisco, CA 94158-2324
phone: (415) 476-2248
fax: (415) 476-2098


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Admissions Information