Neuroscience lab

The Program in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Michigan is an interdisciplinary gateway program that coordinates admissions and the first year of Ph.D. studies for 14 department programs, including Neuroscience.

PIBS offers you the flexibility and convenience of applying to any of our participating programs through one application. We invite you to thoroughly explore Neuroscience and the other 13 programs before selecting your top preferences when you apply.

Program Overview

The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Michigan was constituted in 1971, making it the longest-standing neuroscience training program in the United States. The Program is interdisciplinary and inter-departmental with faculty and students located in the Medical School, the College of Literature, Arts, and Sciences, the Dental School, the School of Kinesiology, and the College of Engineering. We are a collegial and interactive group that performs research across the breadth of the neuroscience field.

Neuroscience graduate students on this campus form a cohesive group that promotes interactions among the faculty, making the Neuroscience Graduate Program the nexus of the neuroscience community at UofM. A Ph.D. in Neuroscience provides tremendous flexibility in choosing one’s career path. Our program captures the excitement and interaction intrinsic to the field of neuroscience.

The Neuroscience Graduate Program includes more than 130 faculty members representing more than 20 basic and clinical science departments in the the Medical School, the College of Literature, Arts, and Sciences, the Dental School, the School of Kinesiology, and the College of Engineering. Members of our faculty include a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a past-president of the Society for Neuroscience, and several Institute for Scientific Information “Highly Cited Researchers.”

Research Areas

The heart of training in the Neuroscience Graduate Program is laboratory research. Graduate students in neuroscience begin research training upon their arrival on campus, and complete at least two research rotations with program faculty before adopting a laboratory for their dissertation research. With over 130 distinguished faculty, the research areas represented by the Neuroscience Graduate Program are expansive. These research areas represent six major sub-disciplines in neuroscience:

  • Molecular Neurobiology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Sensory and Computational Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Neuroscience research at the University Michigan spans the full range of experimental methods, from molecular biology to human neuroimaging. Students and faculty present their research at local events including the annual Fall Retreat, the Neuroscience Seminar series, in program-sponsored poster sessions and an annual Spring Symposium. In addition, students and faculty travel to several national meetings, including the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, to present their results.

Explore our faculty.

Program Requirements


The coursework in the Neuroscience Graduate Program curriculum equips students with knowledge in basic neuroscience and related disciplines. A yearlong core course is the hub of the curriculum, and emphasizes Neuropharmacology, Neural Development, Circuits and Computational Neuroscience, Sensory Systems, Neurobiology of Rhythms and Sleep and Neuropathology.

Students complement the core course with laboratory training in cellular and molecular neurobiology and a lecture-laboratory course in human neuroanatomy. Courses in statistical methods and research ethics are required of every student and elective courses that are offered across a wide variety of departments and programs allow students to individualize their training program.

In addition to formal coursework, graduate students in the program attend weekly seminars at which students, faculty, and invited lecturers present their work.

Preliminary Examination

Students typically complete the Preliminary Examination after 18 months of study.

Teaching Requirement

All graduate students are required to teach one course for one semester.

Expected Length of Program

The usual time to degree is approximately 5.8 years.

Student Interests

Students in the Neuroscience program are exceptional and compete successfully for national awards and fellowships, including those from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.

Students in the Neuroscience Program are active in a number of outreach activities including BrainsRule!, a one day reverse science fair for middle school students; FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and the Sciences) promotes the STEM fields to young women throughout the year in a variety of activities; and M.Y.E.L.I.N. (Mentoring Youth and Early Leaders In Neuroscience) participates in monthly science clubs in disadvantaged areas of the community for elementary and middle school children among.

Neuroscience students coordinate the Greater Questions in Neuroscience Colloquium Series which has open discussions on some of the most interesting topics of Neuroscience. Recent topics include the Evolution of Consciousness, Aesthetic Perception, Making Memories and Intelligence Amplification.

Students also join the Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization (NGSO), which coordinates additional outreach activities in local schools, hosts journal clubs and represents the Neuroscience Graduate Program to their peers in PIBS and on campus.

Career Expectations

There are more than 180 alumni of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Many of our alums complete a post-doctoral position and recently we have had students placed at Yale, UC Berkeley, HHMI, Harvard and MIT among other universities nationwide and around the world. Our graduates work in varied fields including academic research, industrial research and development, academic medicine and biotechnology.