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Neuroscience, Ph.D.

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 90 hours

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Neuroscience at Central Michigan University is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of the core principles in neuroscience, exposure to the breadth of the field of neuroscience, and research training that will prepare students to be competitive for obtaining positions in academia, industry, or government. Foundational coursework is completed during the first two years, and students are actively involved in research with a Program faculty mentor throughout their training. Each student’s research will lead to at least one published first-author paper and a dissertation. Prior to submitting application materials, students should contact Neuroscience Program faculty whose research is of interest.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

Admission Requirement Snapshot

GPA: 3.0

Entrance Exam: GRE

Application Deadline: January 5

See Admission Requirement Details Below

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; however, strong preference is given to complete applications received on or before January 5.

To apply to the program, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, official GRE scores, a personal statement, and a completed “Neuroscience Supplemental Application” form are required. Letters of reference should be submitted directly by referees to the program at Application forms and detailed instructions are found on the program website (

Applicants are expected to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree (or equivalent) before starting in the program. Students should have completed at least 5 courses (at 300 level or above) in chemistry and biology (including neuroscience or biologically-based psychology courses), and at least one statistics course. Preference will be given to students with prior research experience and at least a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). In some cases, excellence in one area may compensate for deficiencies in another; however, students who are deficient in a subject area will be expected to make up this deficiency during the first year in the Program. A maximum of 9 credit hours earned during non-degree status may be applied toward the Ph.D. degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience requires a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate work and a doctoral dissertation. Upon successful completion of the required core courses with a B or better (including achieving a B or better on the comprehensive examinations for the Principles of Neuroscience courses) and defense of a dissertation research proposal, students will advance to candidacy for the Ph.D.  Students who are unable to advance to candidacy after two attempts will be dismissed from the program. To receive the Ph.D. in Neuroscience, students must complete the remaining course requirements, publish at least one first-author manuscript, obtain approval of a written dissertation, present their dissertation research in a forum open to the public, and orally defend the dissertation. All other retention and termination standards for the program follow University policy as specified in the Graduate Bulletin.


Program Requirements


Required Courses I (48-66 hours)

NSC 501Principles of Neuroscience I


NSC 502Principles of Neuroscience II


NSC 690Research Seminar Neuroscience


NSC 789Graduate Seminar in Neuroscience


NSC 798Thesis: Design


NSC 799Thesis: Implementation


NSC 800Neuroscience Research for Doctoral Candidacy


NSC 898Doctoral Dissertation: Design


NSC 899Doctoral Dissertation: Implementation


Note: A minimum of 4 hours of NSC 690, 6 hours of NSC 789, 6 hours from a combination of NSC 798 and NSC 799, 6 hours of NSC 800, and 18 credit hours from the combination of NSC 898 and NSC 899 is required. In addition to course work, a student must complete an oral examination over the thesis, major paper (NSC 800), and the dissertation.

Required Courses II (3 hours)

Select one of the following:

BIO 500Biological Statistics


PSY 511Statistics in Psychology


Required Courses III (3 hours)

Select one of the following:

BIO 600Biological Research Design and Analysis


PSY 611Research Design


Electives (18-36 hours)

To be chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Total: 90 semester hours