Dr. Yongsoo Kim, an associate professor in the Department of Neural & Behavioral Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, is pictured in his lab in July 2016, framed by laboratory equipment and looking away from a screen depicting two images of a section of the brain.

Neuroscience PhD

How Do I Apply to the Neuroscience PhD Program?

Penn State College of Medicine’s Neuroscience PhD Program follows the application process for The Graduate School at Penn State.

All students must submit an application through The Graduate School.

Before applying, please be sure to read The Graduate School's admission requirements.


To be considered for admission, you must have an appropriate academic background, including a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) during the last two years (junior/senior) of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university.

Your degree should be in a biological, physical or behavioral science, and you should have taken courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Neuroscience courses are desirable but not essential. Research experience is an advantage.

Application Instructions

Beginning for Fall 2020 admission, the Neuroscience Graduate Program no longer requires the submission of GRE scores.

To complete your application through The Graduate School, please note the following:

  • Campus: Select "Hershey Med Ctr."
  • Major: Select "Neuroscience."
  • Degree: Select "Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)." Please note that we do not admit students into an MS degree in Neuroscience.

A complete application through The Graduate School should include:

  • Completed online application
  • Payment of the $65 application fee
  • Copies of official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended, uploaded by the student (do not mail official transcripts unless specifically requested to do so)
  • 3 letters of recommendation, uploaded through online application system by person writing the reference
  • TOEFL score (if applicable) - School Code 2660 - sent directly from the testing agency
  • Personal statement including your reasons for applying to the program, research interests, research experience (not including lab courses), and future goals
  • Resume or curriculum vitae

Key Dates

Formal applications for the doctoral program for domestic or international students must be received by Dec. 15.

Admission to this program is for fall semester only.

Interview Process

Highly competitive applicants selected based on the materials in their completed application package are invited to interview with faculty members in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Applicants in the United States visit in-person with expenses paid by the program. In addition to meeting with members of the program faculty, applicants also have an opportunity to interact with current graduate students.

This visit also provides applicants the opportunity to explore the College of Medicine campus and the Hershey area. Please note, students are required to participate in all interview-related activities.

Highly qualified international applicants are typically interviewed by Skype, giving them an opportunity to interact with several program faculty members.

Fall 2020 Interview Visit Dates:

  • Jan. 16-18, 2020
  • Jan. 23-25, 2020
  • Feb. 6-8, 2020

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Neuroscience PhD program, please contact Kristin E. Smith, MS, Director of Graduate Admissions, at 717-531-1045 or kec17@psu.edu.