Prospective Students

Carter DGS.jpgThank you for seeking information concerning the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University. Our doctoral program encourages applications from all highly qualified students. Presently, our program has 85 graduate students.

Students holding degrees in the biological or physical sciences, psychology, or biomedical engineering are especially encouraged to apply to the Graduate Program, but applicants from other fields will be considered. Students are advised to take the Graduate Record Examinations as early as possible. Complete applications must be received by December 1st. You should apply to our graduate program online, for which there is no application fee.

Applicants to our graduate program are evaluated on the totality of their scholarly achievements, including previous research experience as well as GPA and test scores. The general GRE is required by the Graduate School and original scores from ETS as well as letters of recommendation and a scientific writing sample must be received to complete the application before the December 1st deadline. Subject GRE test are not required. There is a Graduate School admissions minimum B average in overall undergraduate GPA and GPA in major. There are no Graduate School minimums for GRE scores. For perspective, the mean GPA of entering students in our program in the last few years is about 3.5 with average GRE scores of about V=157; Q=153 and W=4.4.

It must be emphasized that many other factors, including demonstrated research abilities, experience and recommendations are highly important in the admissions process.

Due to an excellent faculty-graduate student ratio, extensive opportunities are available for interaction and exchange of ideas in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.

We offer advanced training leading to the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience. Students have multiple entry paths into the Neuroscience program. For those with an interest in Cognitive and Systems neuroscience, the standard path is to apply directly via the Application Page of the Neuroscience Graduate Program .  For those with an interest in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, there are two potential entry routes. For students with broad biomedical interests, we suggest entry via the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP), which provides a strong foundation in biomedical science prior to matriculation into neuroscience. For this route students should direct their application to the Application Page of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.   For students committed to neuroscience and with a strong academic foundation in the discipline, we suggest that they apply directly via the Application Page of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. The Vanderbilt Brain Institute and Vanderbilt Law School offer a joint J.D./Ph.D. in Law and Neuroscience ( To learn more about this joint degree and to access FAQs, please visit

Graduates of our department are superbly prepared for a variety of career options in both academia and industry. Due to an excellent faculty-student ratio, extensive opportunities are available for interaction and exchange of ideas in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere. Each student's program is designed to provide a broad-based education in neuroscience, yet accommodate individual needs and interests to allow students to become creative, independent scientists. University Tuition Scholarships are service-free awards that pay all or part of tuition costs. The following graduate awards are normally supplemented by a full University Tuition Scholarship, which usually includes student health insurance coverage: University Fellowships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, Traineeships, and Teacher Training Awards. The current stipend level for 2015-2016 is $28,500. In addition, applicants may be nominated at the time of application for Harold S. Vanderbilt graduate scholarships and other awards, which provide an additional stipend of up to $10,000 per year to students of exceptional accomplishment and high promise.

If you have any questions about the Neuroscience Graduate Program, or the application process, please e-mail or call me at 615.936.3041. I look forward to receiving your application.

Bruce Carter, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies in Neuroscience
Professor of Biochemistry
Vanderbilt University