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Neuroscience, Ph.D.

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 61 hours


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Neuroscience at Central Michigan University is designed to give each student 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 primary research paper and a dissertation. Students are encouraged to contact Program faculty members in their area of research interest prior to submitting application materials.

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.

When applying for the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience, applications must include three letters of reference, official transcripts, a personal statement, and official GRE scores. Letters of reference should be submitted directly by referees to the program at

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 30 credit hours earned during non-degree status may be applied toward the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience.
The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Neuroscience is based upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 61 semester hours of graduate work and successful completion of a doctoral dissertation (with oral defense).

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, obtain approval of a written dissertation, present their dissertation research in a forum open to the public, and orally defend the dissertation. Students are also expected to publish at least one first-author primary research manuscript; however, upon approval of the dissertation committee, a significant body of publication-ready original research may substitute for the publication requirement in some cases. All other retention and termination standards for the program follow University policy as specified in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Requirements

Admission to doctoral candidacy is based upon satisfactory grades (i.e., maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average), completion of dissertation proposal requirements, and completion of both semesters of the Principles of Neuroscience (NSC 501 and NSC 502) or passing the comprehensive examination for these courses. The doctoral degree is awarded upon the successful writing, public presentation, and defense of the doctoral dissertation.


Program Requirements


Required Courses I (24 hours)

NSC 501Principles of Neuroscience I


NSC 502Principles of Neuroscience II


NSC 690Research Seminar Neuroscience


NSC 898Doctoral Dissertation: Design


NSC 899Doctoral Dissertation: Implementation


Note: A minimum of 4 hours of NSC 690 and 12 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 dissertation.

Required Courses II (3 hours)

Select one of the following:

BIO 500Biological Statistics


PSY 511Statistics in Psychology


Electives (34 hours)

To be chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Total: 61 semester hours