Back to top

The Program in Neurobiology trains future leaders in neuroscience in the rich variety of approaches and model systems for exploring fundamental questions of the nervous system. Of the three neuroscience programs in the Neuroscience Cluster – Neurobiology, Computational Neuroscience, and Integrative Neuroscience – Neurobiology is the longest-established and offers the greatest diversity of research experiences. Over 60 faculty members are distributed across 13 departments and many areas of expertise, ranging from genetic, developmental, molecular and cellular neurobiology to systems neurophysiology, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, computation and imaging. Many Neurobiology Program faculty also participate in other graduate programs and Neurobiology Program students are also embedded in larger scientific communities. Cross-disciplinary interactions are enhanced by the compact UChicago campus, where all labs are within easy walking distance.

Neurobiology Program students rotate through two or three laboratories before choosing one for their thesis work near the end of the first year.  About a year later, they qualify for PhD candidacy by presenting and defending a thesis proposal.  Most of the remaining time is devoted to thesis research, although students also take electives and can take training in teaching or other professional skills.  The average time to PhD is 6.0 years.  Since its inception in 1979, the Program in Neurobiology has awarded over 140 PhD degrees.

CON Student Handbook


Students with undergraduate degrees in biology, neuroscience, cognitive science and psychology, and any of the life sciences or related disciplines are invited to apply to the Graduate Program in Neurobiology.

The University of Chicago welcomes applications from students who are members of groups underrepresented in science, including students with disabilities. For information on the BSD efforts to recruit and retain students with a diverse background, please visit our office of diversity.

Prerequisites: Neurobiology is inherently interdisciplinary and extremely broad, and most students doing graduate work in this area will have strengths in one of the relevant areas and weaknesses in others. Program requirements are designed to address background deficiencies, so students with uneven backgrounds should not hesitate to apply. Ideally, applicants should have some collegiate level course work in biology (optimally including an introductory neurobiology course), an introductory psychology course, and some mathematics or stats. Research experience is also a key element.

Recruitment: We would love to talk to you during  one of our recruitment events, and we always have a table staffed with faculty and students at the SfN graduate fair. Or came and visit us on campus if you are in Chicago. For arrangements, please contact

Sign up for a campus tour

Admission to the Ph.D. program in Neurobiology is coordinated through the Division of Biological Sciences. The application system opens in early September, and  completed applications need to be submitted by December 1. You may apply to as many as four programs with one application, but please list the program of most interest to you first; this program will be given priority in reviewing your application. 

Ready To Apply?

Applicants are expected to have completed a bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of science (BS), or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university by the time they matriculate.

Find out what we need from you

Application FAQs

Still have more questions? Send us an email!

Financial Support

Financial support includes tuition and fees, and provides a stipend. The graduate stipend is maintained at a level affording a reasonable local standard of living, is competitive with awards offered at comparable institutions, and is periodically adjusted in response to cost-of-living increases. Such assistance is guaranteed through the student’s first five years of study, conditional on satisfactory degree progress, and is extended to completion of degree in all but the most unusual of circumstances.

Learn More About Financial Support

The 2018–19 stipend will be $31,736 plus health insurance fees. We also provide a one-time $750 relocation payment.

All new and continuing graduate students are encouraged to seek individual merit awards, such as NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, NIH individual National Research Service Awards, or Department of Defense awards, whenever possible, and are provided support during the application process.

Learn More About Student Funding and Awards

Student Directory
Faculty Directory
Ready to Apply?
Life In Chicago
M.D./Ph.D. Opportunities

Joint degrees with the Pritzker School of Medicine are available to students wishing to pursue this path.

Explore this program

Integrative Training in Addictions

The NIDA T32 Training Program provides a unique multidisciplinary opportunity for those interested in addiction and substance abuse research.

Explore This Program