Your complete guide to a PhD in Neuroscience

Everything you need to know about studying a PhD in Neuroscience

part of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

What is Neuroscience?

Diving deep into the intricacies of the brain and nervous system, Neuroscience is the study of how these complex systems function, from molecular biology to cognitive processing. This multidisciplinary field intertwines biology, psychology, and even computational methods to understand the mysteries of the human mind and behaviour.

Neuroscience Specialisations

Some common specialisations of Neuroscience are:

  • Molecular Neuroscience: Investigating the role of individual molecules.
  • Cognitive Neuroscience: Understanding the neural substrates of cognition.
  • Clinical Neuroscience: Focusing on diseases and disorders.
  • Computational Neuroscience: Modelling and simulating neural processes.
  • Neuroimaging: Utilising advanced tech to visualise the brain's structure and function.

As students progress in their studies, they can choose specialised areas of neuroscience to focus on, such as neurodevelopment, neurodegenerative diseases, neuropharmacology, neuroimaging, computational neuroscience, or neuropsychology. While Bachelor's programs offer an overview, the Master's in Neuroscience provides profound insights into specific Neuroscience areas.

What will you learn during a Neuroscience programme?

Neuroscience is not merely a subject; it's a journey to understand the essence of our very existence. During your studies:

  • Delve deep into brain anatomy and physiology.
  • Uncover the mechanisms behind sensation, perception, and cognition.
  • Understand neural pathologies and potential treatments.

Courses you might undertake include:

  • Brain Anatomy and Function: Detailed study of the brain's structure.
  • Neural Signalling: Understanding neuron communication.
  • Cognitive Processes: Exploring memory, attention, and decision-making.
  • Brain Diseases: Studying conditions like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
  • Neuropharmacology: Understanding drug effects on the nervous system.

A typical neuroscience curriculum includes courses in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural neuroscience, and research methods in neuroscience. Students may also take courses in related areas like genetics, pharmacology, and statistics.

Many neuroscience programs emphasise hands-on laboratory work and research experience. Students may have the opportunity to conduct experiments, analyse data, and contribute to ongoing research projects.

Skills required for a degree in Neuroscience

To succeed in Neuroscience, one should possess analytical acumen, attention to detail, and curiosity about the brain's wonders. Regarding Neuroscience degree requirements, strong foundations in biology, chemistry, and sometimes physics are essential.

What can you do with a Neuroscience degree?

A degree in Neuroscience can lead to fascinating jobs such as:

  • Neuroscientist: Engage in cutting-edge research.
  • Clinical Neuropsychologist: Assess and treat cognitive dysfunctions.
  • Neurology Consultant: Diagnose and manage neurological disorders.
  • Pharmaceutical Researcher: Develop new drugs for neural conditions.
  • Science Communicator: Bridge the gap between science and the public.

A Bachelor's in Neuroscience sets you on paths like research assistant roles or clinical work. A Master's in Neuroscience or, further, a Ph.D., is ideal for specialised roles, deep research, or academic positions. Graduates with degrees in neuroscience can pursue a wide range of career paths. These include research positions in academia, government, or the private sector, as well as roles in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and science communication.

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View all PhDs in Neuroscience. Keep in mind you can also study an online PhDs in Neuroscience.

Interesting programmes for you

Best Universities for Neuroscience on PhDPortal

Universities Location U.S. News & World Report Ranking (2018)
Harvard University Cambridge, United States 1
Stanford University Stanford, United States 2
UCL London, United Kingdom 3
University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, United States 4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, United States 5
Columbia University New York City, United States 6
University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom 7
University of California, San Diego San Diego, United States 8
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, United States 9
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Los Angeles, United States 10
University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom 11
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, United States 12
Yale University New Haven, United States 13
Washington University in St. Louis Saint Louis, United States 14
New York University New York City, United States 15
University of Toronto Pickering, Canada 16
King's College London London, United Kingdom 17
Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden 18
McGill University Montréal, Canada 19
University of Washington Seattle, United States 20
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, United States 21
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 22
Imperial London, United Kingdom 23
Sorbonne University Paris, France 24
Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich München, Germany 25
Duke University Durham, United States 26
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, United States 27
Heidelberg University Heidelberg, Germany 28
The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, United Kingdom 29
University of Zurich Zürich, Switzerland 30
Radboud University Nijmegen - Summer School Nijmegen, Netherlands 31
Melbourne Business School Melbourne, Australia 31
University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany 33
University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada 34
University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 35
Emory University Atlanta, United States 36
Northwestern University Evanston, United States 37
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Berlin, Germany 38
Utrecht University Utrecht, Netherlands 39
University of Rochester Rochester, United States 40
Boston University Boston, United States 41
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Manhattan, United States 41
University of Basel Basel, Switzerland 43
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, United States 44
University of Bonn Bonn, Germany 45
University of Göttingen Göttingen, Germany 46
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, United States 47
Baylor College of Medicine Houston, United States 48
Humboldt University Berlin Berlin, Germany 49
Princeton University Princeton, United States 49
Erasmus University Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands 51
University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands 52
California Institute of Technology - Caltech Pasadena, United States 53
Cornell University Ithaca, United States 54
Freie Universität Berlin Berlin Steglitz, Germany 55
University of California, Irvine (UCI) Irvine, United States 55
KU Leuven Brussels, Belgium 57
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland 58
University of Sydney Sydney, Australia 59
University of Minnesota Twin Cities Minneapolis, United States 60
University of California, Davis Davis, United States 61
Maastricht University Maastricht, Netherlands 62
Lund University Lund, Sweden 63
Rockefeller University New York City, United States 64
University of Wisconsin Madison Madison, United States 64
Newcastle University Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom 66
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, United States 67
University of Southern California Los Angeles, United States 68
University of Geneva Genève, Switzerland 69
Brown University Providence, United States 70
ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich, Switzerland 71
University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland 72
Vanderbilt University Nashville, United States 73
University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark 74
Rush University Chicago, United States 75
University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 76
University of Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland 77
Leiden University Leiden, Netherlands 78
Trinity College Dublin Dublin, Ireland 79
University of Calgary Calgary, Canada 80
University of Gothenburg Göteborg, Sweden 80
Medical University of Vienna Vienna, Austria 82
The Ohio State University Upper Arlington, United States 83
University of Maryland Baltimore Baltimore, United States 84
University of Montreal Montréal, Canada 84
University of Virginia Charlottesville, United States 86
University of Queensland Saint Lucia, Australia 87
Yeshiva University New York City, United States 88
University of Chicago Chicago, United States 89
University of Miami Coral Gables, United States 89
The University of Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 91
University of Oslo Oslo, Norway 92
Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel 92
University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, United States 94
Oregon Health & Science University Portland, United States 95
The University of Manchester Manchester, United Kingdom 95
Goethe University Frankfurt Frankfurt am Main, Germany 97
Autonomous University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain 98
Cardiff University Cardiff, United Kingdom 99
University of Glasgow Glasgow, United Kingdom 100
The University of Milan Sesto San Giovanni, Italy 101
Monash University Clayton, Australia 102
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf Düsseldorf, Germany 103
University of Paris Paris, France 103
Technical University of Munich München, Germany 105
University of Groningen Groningen, Netherlands 106
Ulm University Ulm, Germany 107
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Milano, Italy 107
Sapienza University of Rome Roma, Italy 109
The University of Iowa Iowa City, United States 110
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, United States 111
University of Florida Gainesville, United States 112
The University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, United States 113
Aix-Marseille University Marseille, France 114
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, United States 114
Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv Yaffo, Israel 116
University of Kiel Kiel, Germany 117
Rutgers University New Brunswick, United States 118
Medical University of Innsbruck Innsbruck, Austria 119
University of Würzburg Würzburg, Germany 119
University of Münster Münster, Germany 121
National University of Singapore Singapore, Singapore 122
Leipzig University Leipzig, Germany 123
University of Texas at Austin Austin, United States 123
University of Sao Paulo São Paulo, Brazil 125
University of Hamburg Hamburg, Germany 126
Seoul National University Anyang, South Korea 127
University of Antwerp Antwerpen, Belgium 127
University of Freiburg Freiburg, Germany 127
University of Utah Salt Lake City, United States 130
University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland 131
Ecole normale supérieure (ENS) Paris, France 132
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, United States 133
Uppsala University Uppsala, Sweden 134
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel 135
Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark 136
Claude Bernard Lyon 1 Villeurbanne, France 137
Kyoto University Kyoto, Japan 138
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, United States 139
Indiana University Bloomington Bloomington, United States 139
Peking University Beijing, China 141
University of Bern Bern, Switzerland 143
University of Bristol Bristol, United Kingdom 143
University of Cologne Köln, Germany 143
Tohoku University Sendai-shi, Japan 146
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana, United States 147
Tufts University Medford, United States 148
The University of Arizona Tucson, United States 148
TU Dresden Dresden, Germany 150
Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona, Spain 151
University of Paris Sud Orsay, France 151
Trinity Western University Township of Langley, Canada 153
University of Nottingham Nottingham, United Kingdom 154
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, United States 155
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg Magdeburg, Germany 156
University of Bergen Bergen, Norway 156
University of Kentucky Lexington, United States 156
Paris Diderot University Paris, France 159
Fudan University Shanghai, China 160
RWTH Aachen University Aachen, Germany 161
University of Montpellier Montpellier, France 162
University of Bologna Bologna, Italy 163
Philip University in Marburg Marburg, Germany 164
Queen Mary University of London London, United Kingdom 165
University of Aberdeen Aberdeen, United Kingdom 166
University of Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom 166
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Trondheim, Norway 168
Dartmouth College Hanover, United States 169
Ghent University Ledeberg, Belgium 170
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, United States 171
UCLouvain Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 172
University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada 173
Capital Medical University Beijing, China 174
The University of Western Australia Perth, Australia 175
Pennsylvania State University State College, United States 176
Beijing Normal University Beijing, China 177
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, United States 177
Osaka University Osaka-shi, Japan 179
Charles University Prague, Czech Republic 180
University of Turin Turin, Italy 180
University of Ottawa Ottawa, Canada 182
University of Southampton Southampton, United Kingdom 183
University of Newcastle Newcastle, Australia 184
Umea University Umeå, Sweden 185
Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany 186
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, United States 187
University of Strasbourg Strasbourg, France 188
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, United States 189
University of Liège Liège, Belgium 189
University of Kansas Lawrence, United States 191
Medical University of Graz Graz, Austria 192
University of Duisburg-Essen Essen, Germany 193
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, Hong Kong (SAR) 194
Sungkyunkwan University Seoul, South Korea 195
Keio University Minato, Japan 196
Georgetown University Washington, D. C., United States 197
McMaster University Hamilton, Canada 198
University of Padua Padua, Italy 198
Augusta University Augusta, United States 200
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