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How to Apply - Admissions


Students entering the program typically have a baccalaureate degree in one of the natural or applied sciences (e.g., Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering). Successful applicants will usually have had college-level coursework, or equivalent professional experience, in disciplines relevant for neuroscience, including the biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. In addition, prior laboratory research experience is strongly recommended.


Applicants must have earned a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Students in their final year of undergraduate study may be admitted on the condition that their bachelor's degrees are awarded before they matriculate. Evidence of the earned degree is required prior to matriculation in the form of an official transcript noting degree conferral.

Application Requirements for PhD Programs

It is expected that all application materials (with the exception of official score reports) be scanned and uploaded to your online application. Please note that the University of Rochester reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts and test scores, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process.

  1. Create an SMD Graduate Admissions Application
  2. Statement of Purpose
    Applicants should explain why they want to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Rochester. Applicants should also discuss their prior research experiences and coursework and how they relate to Neuroscience.

    We employ a holistic admissions approach (details of transparent review here). For each applicant, we evaluate aptitude (likelihood of success in completing the degree program requirements), program fit (demonstrate ambition to pursue a career in Neuroscience), and non-academic personal attributes (including leadership, reliability and dependability, ability to work in teams, service, and commitment to diversity and inclusion). We also consider resilience, assessing whether applicants have demonstrated an ability to handle stressful or changing environments or situations and have shown persistence, even under difficult circumstances.

    Please make sure that your personal statement speaks to each of these elements and describes your lived experiences. Please instruct those who are writing letters of recommendations to comment on all of these points to the best of their abilities.
  3. Uploaded copy of transcript(s) to online application.
    Please do not mail a hard copy at this time.
  4. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  5. GRE Scores will not be used by the admissions committee even if submitted.  Note, because we share our admissions system with other programs, currently we are unable to remove the field to collect GRE information.  Applicants can disregard this field. If GRE scores are submitted, the committee will not look at it or take it into account when making admissions decisions.
  6. Official TOEFL (SMD school code: 2948, SOPHAS application code: 5688) or IELTS Scores
    For applicants whose native language is not English.

PhD Application Timeline

For Admission to Fall Semester

  • By November 15th  - The $60 application fee is automatically waived
  • By December 1st - Complete application due ($60 application fee applies). Click here to request an application fee waiver due to financial hardship.
  • After December 1st - applications may be accepted on a rolling basis until January 1, at program’s discretion. 
  • December - March - Interviews scheduled
  • January - Zoom interviews held.
  • February - Campus Interviews held.
  • February - March - Offer of admission notices mailed after interviews
  • By April 15th - Responses due for offer of admission
  • August 1st - Online application opens
  • Late August - Fall semester begins