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University of California, San Diego

Program in Neurosciences

La Jolla, CA


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UC San Diego's Neurosciences Graduate Program Was Named One of the Top-Ranking Programs in the Country

The mission of the Neurosciences Graduate Program is to train creative and productive scientists in all areas of neurosciences. UCSD and the surrounding research community, located on the Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla, form one of the largest concentrations of research institutes, specialized medical centers, and pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies in the nation.

The collegial atmosphere that pervades the Torrey Pines Mesa has attracted researchers worldwide, with neurosciences evolving over the past four decades as an area of particular strength. National surveys assessing the quality and impact of the research conducted by UCSD neuroscientists have consistently rated the graduate program among the best in the nation, including rankings by National Research Council (which ranked the UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Program 4th in the nation in its 2010 Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs), and US News & World Report (which ranked UCSD neurosciences/neurobiology 2nd in the nation in its 2014 survey) and other sources.

The Neurosciences Graduate Program is proud to also offer a specialization in computational neuroscience. The specialization equips students with a broad range of scientific and technical skills that are essential to understand the computational resources of neural systems. The challenging program welcomes students with backgrounds in neuroscience, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, computer science, engineering, and mathematics.

The Department of Neurosciences and Graduate Program at USCD Enjoy Outstanding Faculty Members and Research Facilities

The hallmark of UC San Diego's Department of Neurosciences is its faculty and facilities. The faculty comprises numerous award-winning scholars who are experts in their fields and many who have stunning track records for their technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs. Faculty members include 83 National Academy of Sciences members, four National Medal of Sciences recipients, one winner of the Pulitzer Prize, six fellows of the MacArthur Foundation, and seven Nobel Prize Laureates.

The Neurosciences Graduate Program faculty have been carefully assembled; a highly synergistic network of prominent basic and medical researchers with members from numerous campus departments, the School of Medicine, and affiliated institutes, including the Veterans Administration Medical Center, the Sanford-Burnham Institute, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Scripps Research Institute, and the Salk Institute. This collaborative environment provides a strong foundation for the Neurosciences Graduate Program, which further enhances the interactive spirit of this vibrant academic and research hub. The common purpose of all the program members is to foster and maintain a community of excellence in neuroscience education and research. The program achieves this by offering a rigorous core curriculum, a broad range of electives, ample opportunity for interactions, exposure to diverse areas of research through rotations and research rounds, and mentored research in a rich variety of specialized areas. The program is structured such that the students form bonds with each other and with the faculty in the participating departments and institutions at the very beginning of their graduate careers. The program activities are organized with the ultimate goal of promoting excellence in research training.

The interactions among the participating faculty ensure that graduate students are exposed to current and emerging techniques and approaches across a broad scope of neurosciences and related fields. The program makes pro-active efforts to increase the work force diversity in neurosciences. A coherent plan of mentorship throughout the training period of a graduate student ensures the best preparation for an independent career in neuroscience.

University of California, San Diego, Basks in an Outstanding Location in La Jolla

University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), is situated beside the Pacific Ocean on about 1,200 acres of woodland in La Jolla, California. About 15 minutes from the downtown area of Mission Valley and easily accessible from I-5, UC San Diego's campus is a powerful focal point where people take a fresh approach to research and education.

Not only is La Jolla a great place to live, but its location makes it an ideal base camp from which students can explore San Diego's other attractions - when they have time. Outstanding shopping, great restaurants, art galleries, and a breathtaking coastline are all within a short distance and are easily accessible by car or a short stroll.

The quintessential California experience is available to UC San Diego students' right off campus along Coast Boulevard. La Jolla's Scripps Park and Torrey Pines Road are two other beautiful outdoor attractions where students can find respite from their studies. Students have no shortage of meeting places, as La Jolla is also known for its variety of eateries and offers Indian, Thai, German, Mexican, seafood, waffles, and more, all within a few blocks of campus. Art and theater attractions include the La Jolla Playhouse Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art, a beautiful venue that overlooks the ocean.

University of California San Diego is considered one of the greenest universities in the United States. As a leader in climate research, the institute fosters sustainable solutions throughout the local area and throughout the world.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 3
Doctoral Degrees 11

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required
1-quarter teaching assistantship, 3 research rotations


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
Application Fee - International
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 6th Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements Three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 550
TOEFL IBT score: 80
IELTS: Required IELTS Paper score: 7

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Male (49%)
Female (50%)


Focus of faculty research: Cellular and developmental; biochemistry and molecular; cognitive, behavioral and psychopharmacology; clinical; computational; systems
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA  92093
United States
Contact Timothy Gentner
Phone: 858-822-6763

University of California, San Diego