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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 12, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Neurobiology/Neuroscience (PhD)

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The Center for Neuroscience (CNUP) Training Program is an interschool PhD degree-granting program offered cooperatively by the School of Medicine (Neurobiology, MSNBIO) and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (Neuroscience, NROSCI).  The program introduces students to the fundamental issues and experimental approaches in neuroscience and trains them in the theory and practice of laboratory research.  Research interests of the training faculty focus on several prominent themes, including behavioral/systems/cognitive, cell and molecular, development/plasticity/repair, and the neurobiology of disease.

We are highly invested in enhancing diversity, which is expressed in multiple forms - race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status and political perspective. In addition, we strive to create a community that is equitable, so that all persons have equal opportunity, and inclusive, so that everyone feels welcomed. We hope you share our values and goals.

This large research-based training program offers outstanding opportunities for students to pursue research in laboratories within more than 30 different departments and University centers. Major features of the program include extensive collaborative interactions among its faculty members and its affiliation with Auditory Neuroscience, the Brain Institute, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (a joint program with Carnegie Mellon University), Conte Center for Translational Mental Health Research, Pittsburgh Hearing Research Center, Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research, and other on-campus research centers.

Contact Information

Center for Neuroscience
E1440 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower 
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Fax: 412-648-1441 

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students are admitted into the CNUP training program on the assumption that they will be able to meet all requirements for the PhD degree. Those who are selected show evidence of a high level of intellectual talent, a strong interest in neuroscience, and a commitment to scholarship and research.

Admission decisions are based on many factors including the candidate’s statement of interest and goals in the field of neuroscience, evidence of research experience and accomplishment, letters of recommendation, test scores, grades, and personal interviews. An outstanding record in one of these areas may compensate for poorer performance in another area. In general, successful applicants have a BS degree in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, or psychology with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.40 (on a 4.00 scale). Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will not be considered.

Additional information and a link to our on-line application can be found at:

Financial Assistance

All students receive full stipend support and individual health benefits. This support is derived from University fellowships and numerous grants funded by the federal government and private agencies. Students in the program also have access to sponsorship on NIH training grants.

PhD Degree Requirements

Credits: A minimum of 72 credit hours, including a 23-credit course requirement covering fundamental material in cellular and molecular neurobiology, systems neuroscience, and several elective courses.

Other requirements:

In addition to University requirements for graduate degrees, students are also required to complete a graduate level statistics course, obtain research experience in at least two separate laboratories; participate in program-wide journal clubs and research seminars; pass a reprint exam following their first year of study, a comprehensive exam, and a doctoral dissertation and defense; and, to serve as a teaching assistant for at least one term (or course).


A list of CNUP Training Faculty may be viewed at:

A complete list of courses may be viewed at:

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