New York University includes two major doctoral programs in neuroscience: the Doctoral Program in Neural Science (within the Faculty of Arts and Science) and the Doctoral Program in Neuroscience & Physiology (within the Sackler Institute at the School of Medicine). Over the last few years, the programs have harmonized their academic and research requirements and this year will accept and review applications jointly. Details of the shared neuroscience curriculum and the combined pool of neuroscience faculty mentors are given below. Please note, applications will be considered by a joint neuroscience admissions committee, and therefore applicants will be eligible for admission to either program. Our goal is to streamline the application process to give you the opportunity to find the best match for your research interests at NYU.


At NYU, neuroscience graduate education provides integrated training that encompasses molecular, cellular, developmental, systems, cognitive, behavioral, and computational approaches. Our programs build on the breadth and strength of ongoing research across many interrelated departments and multiple campuses, especially within the Center for Neural Science and the NYU Neuroscience Institute. Students receive a comprehensive, interdisciplinary neuroscience education and have the opportunity to sample diverse research experiences before committing to their research topic and laboratory. Training strongly emphasizes research at the highest level throughout graduate school. Students also benefit directly from an interactive, collegial community, and they become active participants in shaping the rich intellectual environment that complements their formal training. Download a copy of our most recent brochure for more information on neuroscience research and graduate education at NYU.



The Arts and Science's Doctoral Program in Neural Science and the Sackler Institute's Graduate Program in Neuroscience & Physiology will accept and jointly review applications this year. There will be a single joint application for both programs, and all applicants will be eligible for admission to either program.

Our goal throughout the admissions process is to help you match with the program that best fits your interests. Both programs have established the same academic requirements and made available the same research and training opportunities for all students. All students receive a PhD from the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science after successfully defending a thesis. You will have the option to indicate on the application if you have a preference for joining either the Neural Science program or the Neuroscience and Physiology program. In addition, applicants should indicate in their essays the research areas and faculty that most interest them. Please note, that you also have the opportunity to list as many research areas and faculty members as you like on page 5 of the application form.  

  • The application for fall 2016 admission is now open and available here. Select "Neural Science" from the drop down menu of available graduate programs. The deadline for fall 2016 applications is Decemeber 1, 2015.  

Applicants interested in applying to the Shanghai track of the Doctoral program in Neural Science can also apply using the above application link, and should select the Shanghai campus on the first page of the application form.

MD/PhD applications are handled by the Medical Scientist Training Program.


Core Doctoral Program Components

Research Training. During the first year, students participate in two or three laboratory rotations with graduate program training faculty. Students entering either the Doctoral Program in Neural Science or the Doctoral Program in Neuroscience & Physiology select from a common pool of core and associate neuroscience faculty mentors. At the end of the first year, students will generally select a primary advisor and laboratory from this pool for their thesis work.

Coursework. The shared core neuroscience curriculum, taken during the first year, includes three fundamental courses with both lecture and laboratory components:

  • Cellular Neuroscience and Laboratory in Neural Science I. Through lectures, student-run discussions of primary research, and hands-on laboratories, this course covers basic principles of cellular neuroscience, from fundamental membrane physiology to complex neuronal response properties. The course interweaves physiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms to provide a thorough understanding of the material.
  • Neuroanatomy. This hands-on course covers the detailed anatomy of the human peripheral and central nervous systems within a functional context, including discussion of clinical cases that allow students to integrate and apply their knowledge.
  • Sensory and Motor Systems and Laboratory in Neural Science II. This course introduces neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and behavioral and psychophysical functions of the nervous system. Lectures, discussion sections, and labs integrate cellular neurobiological properties with network and computational organization of the major sensory and motor systems of the brain to establish a comprehensive understanding of information processing and coding mechanisms.

In addition, graduate advising and program milestones also coincide. Students are advised by the graduate program directors and additional appointed advisors during their first year. As they enter their second year and select a lab, their primary research advisor takes over this role, and together they establish a thesis committee, which typically follows the student through to the dissertation defense. By the beginning of the third year, students prepare a written qualifying exam or thesis proposal, defend it to their committee, and subsequently submit it as an NIH NRSA proposal. For the thesis defense, additional faculty, including an outside expert in a student's research area, join this core advisory group.  

The NYU Neuroscience community also jointly participates in weekly seminar series and a wealth of other academic events, ensuring continual interactions across traditional programmatic boundaries.


Areas of Specialization

Doctoral training in neuroscience at NYU spans a broad range of research opportunities, and students likewise have wide spread interests.  When students enter our program, we ask them to declare an "area of specialization" that best captures these interests, either Systems/Computational or Molecular/Cellular.  In addition to the shared core curriculum described above, students will take coursework specific to the area of specialization they have chosen. 

Students in the Systems and Computational Neuroscience specialization will take:

  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neural Science
  • Mathematical Tools for Neural Science

Students in the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience specialization will take:

  • Foundations of Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BioStatistics* (Statistics in Biology, Mathematical Tools for Neural Science, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics).   * Students may select one of several suitable alternative quantitative/statistics courses.


Training Grants

Neuroscience graduate students at NYU benefit from a number of NIH-funded institutional training grants. Although graduate students are guaranteed full support throughout their study, independent of their home program, we strongly encourage students to begin establishing a track record of independent funding as early as possible during their research careers. The following training grants are designed to support students across the two major neuroscience graduate programs at NYU.