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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 <link to pages> – 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.

Admissions

Students with undergraduate degrees in biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, any of the quantitative sciences or any of the engineering disciplines are invited to apply to the Graduate Program in Computational Neuroscience.

Students who are interested in Computational Neuroscience, but who prefer earning a Ph.D. in a cognate discipline can do so by pursuing a Ph.D. through the departments of Computer Science, Mathematics, Neurobiology, Physics, Psychology, or Statistics, and taking Computational Neuroscience courses.

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: Computational neuroscience is inherently interdisciplinary, 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. A year of college level calculus is an absolute prerequisite. Ideally, applicants should have some collegiate level course work in biology (optimally including an introductory neurobiology course), an introductory psychology course, and some mathematics (such as linear algebra and elementary differential equations) beyond calculus. Students who have not had prior exposure to linear algebra and differential equations may be asked to take appropriate courses in these areas before taking the mathematics sequence within the computational neuroscience curriculum.

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 neurograd@uchicago.edu.

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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. 

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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.


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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.

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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.

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