Application Procedure

Applicants to our graduate program are evaluated on the totality of their scholarly achievements. Many factors, including GPA, experience, demonstrated research abilities and recommendations are highly important in the admissions process.

How to Apply


Application Deadline: December 1
Application Fee: $95
GRE Scores Required: No

Two Ways to Enter

There are two different pathways into the Neuroscience Ph.D. Program based on your concentration and experience level. Students in both pathways will perform laboratory rotations and select a thesis mentor in their first year.

Cognitive & Systems Concentration

  • Please apply directly through the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP).

Cellular & Molecular Concentration

  • Students committed to neuroscience and with a strong academic foundation in the discipline should apply directly through the Neuroscience Graduate Program. You will begin with specialized Neuroscience courses at the outset.
  • Students with broad biomedical interests should apply through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences. (IGP) This pathway provides a strong foundation in biomedical science prior to matriculation into neuroscience. Students begin their first year with a general course in graduate level cellular and molecular biology and then begin specialized courses in Neuroscience in the spring semester of their first year.

GRE Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for applying to the Neuroscience Ph.D. Program. If you wish to provide them, official scores should be sent directly from ETS. Copies are not allowed. Scores should be sent to institution code 1871. A department code is not required, but is helpful.

Official Transcripts

A copy of your unofficial student transcript should be uploaded to the application by or before the application deadline.

Letters of Recommendation

The University requires three to five letters of recommendation from persons qualified to evaluate your academic and professional qualifications.

On your application, you will be asked to provide the email addresses of your recommenders. Vanderbilt will contact your recommenders by email and provide them with a link to a web site, a password, and instructions on how to submit the recommendation online.

Online recommendations are instantly attached to your application. If you are unable to provide email addresses for your recommenders, it is your responsibility to contact them and provide them with the recommendation form.

Writing Sample

A writing sample in the form of a statement of purpose is required for both application paths (IGP and NGP). Additionally, for applications via the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a sample of previous scientific writing is required. It should be uploaded on the Application Status Page, which you will see AFTER you submit your application, as an additional material in the Uploads section.