Neuroscience Programs

The field of neuroscience deals with the biology, anatomy, physiology and chemistry of the brain and its relationship to the functions of the human body. Neuroscientists study all aspects of the brain and its functions, and perform research to discover new information about the brain and its systems, including treatment of brain diseases.

Some neuroscientists are medical doctors who work in the field of patient research and treatment, while others are traditional research scientists who only work with patients in an auxiliary capacity, and spend their time focusing on laboratory experiments and data.

A neuroscience PhD does not provide a medical degree; those who wish to work as neurosurgeons or pathologists also pursue a separate medical degree. Neuroscientists with a PhD normally limit themselves to theoretical work, although they may participate in treatments and operations for research purposes.

What Do You Need?

A degree in neuroscience requires students to be proficient in sciences, especially life sciences. Neuroscientists must study all aspects of the body to see how physical systems interact with the brain, and must have a good foundational understanding of medicine and how treatments affect the neurosystems of the body.

A candidate for a neuroscience degree will also need good skills in math, and should possess good critical thinking skills. Neuroscientists will also need a certain amount of interpersonal skills if they are to work with subjects or patients.

Neuroscience is divided into several subcategories depending on which aspect of this science a student is pursuing. Most programs require students to be proficient in more than one area, although specialization at the PhD level is common. Neuroscience generally focuses on the structure and function of the brain itself, such as in the fields of biochemistry and anatomy; the applied sciences related to the treatment of the brain, such as pharmacology and medical imaging; and the theoretical research about the function of the brain in humans, such as learning and memory.

Neuroscience PhD Programs

There are over 340 schools in the United States which offer some form of neuroscience PhD programs, whether online, offline, or hybrid. Not all schools offer specializations in all fields, and some fields require very specialized training and equipment. Prospective students should research the specific programs available at the school of their choice to ensure that the school offers the sub-area in which they are interested.

This type of graduate program is heavily reliant on laboratory work; therefore, most programs will be limited in the amount of online classes offered, although traditional classes may supplement curriculum by online study and demonstration.

Below are a few representative schools which offer both online and offline versions of the neuroscience PhD.

University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich offers a PhD in Consciousness Studies, a field related to neuroscience. This program can be completed completely online, and is useful in the fields of nursing, chiropractic, and social work. Practitioners of alternative medicine disciplines may also wish to expand their knowledge by pursuing this field. Many research opportunities are available all over the world with holistic medical practices.

University of Greenwich, Taylors Road, Norfolk Island, South Pacific, 2899.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt offers an Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) in the biological sciences leading to a PhD in neuroscience. The Vanderbilt Brain Institute is a state-of-the-art facility offering extensive research opportunities for students, and is a leading facility for research of the brain.

Vanderbilt offers two tracks for neuroscience graduates: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, and Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience. Most classes will be held on campus in a laboratory setting, although some of the content classes may be available online or through hybrid venues. This research university offers financial aid for potential candidates and is set in a large-city environment with access to several research hospitals.

Vanderbilt University, 702 Light Hall, 1161 21st Avenue SE, Nashville, TN 37232. 615-322-7001.

University of Virginia

UVA offers degrees in several biomedical fields, including neuroscience. Research specialties include Behavior Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience, Developmental Neuroscience, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, and Neurophysiology.

While the first two semestersí classes may be offered in online or hybrid formats, the remaining classes will likely be hands-on laboratory research classes. Financial aid must be arranged through outside agencies. The setting for the college is a smaller town, but research opportunities at major hospitals are located a short distance away in both the Washington Metro and Baltimore areas and other cities in Virginia.

University of Virginia, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs, P.O. Box 800738, Charlottesville, VA 22908. 434-924-2181.

Texas A&M University

The graduate program at Texas A&M offers PhD degrees in Biochemistry & Structural Biology (BSB), Systems & Integrative Biology (CIB), Cell & Molecular Biology (CMB), Microbial & Molecular Pathogenesis (MMP), Neurosciences (NS), and Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (PET). Students in these programs can also choose an interdisciplinary research project jointly with students in other areas.

While online classes are not common, some curriculum may be offered in at least a hybrid format. Financial aid must be obtained through outside sources, but the small campus and intimate setting provide a great deal of one-on-one training and mentoring during the program. Research opportunities abound outside of College Station at major Texas research hospitals.

Texas A&M University Science Health Center, College of Medicine, Medical Science Interdisciplinary Program, 110 Reynolds Medical Building, College Station, TX 77843. 979-845-0370.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

For students wishing to focus on the function of vision in neuroscience, the University of Alabama offers a specific PhD in vision-related fields of neuroscience through their School of Optometry. This program uses interdisciplinary research to focus on applied and theoretical research related to vision. Financial aid is offered, and opportunities for practical, hands-on research are numerous.

University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB School of Optometry, 1530 3rd Avenue SO, WORB 601A, 924 South 18th Street, Birmingham, AL 35294. 205-934-8227.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest offers joint degrees of PhD/MBA in the field of neuroscience. The program is structured around applied research and offers research opportunities in several related biology and neuroscience fields. Located in the ìresearch triangleî of North Carolina, research laboratories are numerous and students can craft a program which meets their specific research needs. Financial aid is not available through the school but research grants and other monies may be secured through outside sources.

Wake Forest University, Biomedical Science, Bowman Gray Campus, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. 336-716-9437.

Washington State University

Washington State University offers a campus-based program leading to a PhD in Neuroscience in the field of veterinary medicine. A heavily research-based program, the PhD degree typically takes from four to five years to complete. Few online classes are offered. Financial aid packages are available, and the small-town setting and small classes offer more personal attention than larger universities. Research opportunities are available at regional animal hospitals and medical centers, as well as through government veterinary agencies.

Washington State University, P.O. Box 646520, 110 McCoy Hall, Pullman, WA 99164-6520. 509-335-7675.

Cornell University

Cornell offers a PhD in neuropharmacology, the science of using drugs to treat brain disorders and improve brain functions. Located in New York City, this research university offers many opportunities for practical application and research at area hospitals and research facilities. Financial aid is not available through the school, although private scholarships and funds may be available.

Cornell University. 1300 York Avenue, Box 70, New York, NY 10065. 212-746-6250.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech offers a PhD degree in Applied Physiology, which focuses on motor functions and treatment of motor diseases. This program is campus-based and offers opportunities for cooperation with other disciplinary areas.

Financial aid is not offered through the school for this program, although research grants and other forms of financial assistance can be applied for through outside agencies. Located in downtown Atlanta, research opportunities for this program abound at area research facilities, hospitals, and joint efforts with other schools.

Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Applied Physiology. 281 Ferst Drive, Weber 113, Atlanta, GA 30332-0356. 404-894-1029.

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola offers a PhD in Neurobiology, the study of the structure and function of the brain. This campus-based program also includes study in Cell Biology and Anatomy. The degree is geared toward a career in research of neuroscience topics in pure science, although some applied topics may also be available.

Financial aid is not available through the school, but the small setting allows research candidates to receive personal attention for their topics. Research opportunities are available at regional hospitals.

Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153. 708-216-3603.

Northwestern University

Northwesternís Interdisciplinary Biological Science department, IBiS, covers over 70 areas of biological science, allowing students to choose from a multitude of possible theoretical and applied research topics. Classes are campus-based and lead to a PhD in neuroscience with concentrations in specific fields chosen by candidates based on research preferences. With an average price per year of $50,000, IBiS provides $27,000 per year in stipends, health insurance through the University, and tuition remission. Other financial aid is available from various sources.

Northwestern University. 2-100 Hogan Hall, 2153 North Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208-3500. 847-467-0451.

Roehampton University

Roehampton offers a course in Clinical Neuroscience with focus on recent medical advances in this field. Students may choose theoretical or applied programs with research in functions of neuroscience. Financial aid is available from various sources for both British and international students. Research opportunities with London hospitals are also available.

Roehampton University, Downshire House, Roehampton Lane, London, England, SW15 4HT. 011+44-20-8392-3192.

Job Outlook for Neuroscience PhDs

According to, the outlook for jobs in all medical science fields remains strong. Medical scientists with dual degrees in science and medicine, such as a PhD in neuroscience and an MD, will experience the most opportunity for job growth, although all medical science jobs are expected to grow at a much faster than average rate in the next ten years as healthcare needs continue to increase.

As the federal government has experienced an increase in healthcare funding, more research grants are being made available, providing more jobs for these scientists. Students with both medical and theoretical degrees have a competitive edge in securing funding from both public and private grants, and have greater opportunities to work in a hands-on environment to conduct research. Medical scientists of all types are less likely to lose their jobs during recessionary times than other fields.

Top Ranked Doctoral Programs

Search For Other Great Programs

9 Responses to “Neuroscience Programs”
  1. Julia Richardson

    Hello. Your listing regarding a Drexel University Online PhD program in neuroscience is incorrect. Please note that Drexel University Online does not offer a PhD in this specialty.
    Julia Hardy Richardson
    Marketing Manager
    Drexel University Online

  2. hava klein

    I am looking for an online school that offers a neuroscience bachelors degree. Either that or a bachelors in Psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. Something like that. Please help!

    • Scott Jackson

      Although educational offerings are growing, it may be difficult to find a bachelor level degree in neuroscience. It is not really until the graduate level that begin to specialize like that. Your best bet is either psychology with biological electives or vice versa.

  3. jasmeen

    i have done M.Sc. in zoology (3 years bachelor +2 years masters) can i apply for phd. program in neuroscience.can i obtain a scholarship for the same :i am not financially sound are there any means i can do phd. with a job ? what is actually neuroscience.

  4. helen

    can anyone after reading neuroscience practice medicine. can anyone after doing 4 years bachelors in pharmacy; medical lab technology(BMLT) ;BPH(public health) ;speech pathology(BASLP) apply for phd. in neuroscience. After phd. in neuroscience what can we become ? a medical doctor or a professor. can anyone with a bachelor in science(bsc) apply for phd. in neuroscience.

  5. selina

    Can anyone tell me if the U of Greenwich is legitimate? I have tried to look for the website and such on the net and have not found anything that offers credibility to the university. The program on consciousness sounds so interesting…but. thanks.

  6. Marie J Parnis

    I am looking for an online PhD in a field related to neuroscience. I contacted the University of Greenwich UK to ask about the PhD in consciousness studies and they said that they do not offer any such degree. Any help please?


  7. nahideh

    I am looking for an online university that offers neuroscience PHD degree.

  8. sjain

    I am looking for an online university that offers PHD in computational neuroscience. any help?

Share Your Thoughts