Admissions FAQ

What are the basic requirements to apply to the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program (NSIDP)?  

An applicant must hold or be in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and must have the necessary academic preparation to participate successfully in graduate level courses.

 I didn’t major in Neuroscience or Neurobiology, am I still eligible to apply? Are there any required courses I have to take?

We do not require applicants to have majored in Neuroscience or Neurobiology as an undergrad nor do we have required courses that an applicant must take. Though we do highly recommend that an applicant at least take mathematics through calculus and at least one year of general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry, physics and basic biology including molecular and cellular. We also recommend at least one year of research experience to be considered a competitive applicant.

Why do I have to apply to the Biosciences Program if I want a Neuroscience PhD? 

The Neuroscience PhD program is a home area under the Graduate Programs in Bioscience umbrella. The Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program will review your application.  For more information about the Graduate Programs in Bioscience, click here. 

What are the required materials for the application? 

  • General GRE scores
  • TOEFL/ IELTS exam scores for international students
  • One set of official transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/Resume

I would like to apply to the Neurobiology PhD program but this option is not available, what do I do? 

The Neurobiology graduate program is not accepting applications.  If you are interested in pursuing Neurobiology training and wish to have a mentor who is a faculty member in the Neurobiology Department, you are welcome to apply to the Neuroscience IDP graduate program.  You are also encouraged to review the other Home Areas to see if there is another suitable graduate program that meets your research and academic interests. 

What is the procedure to transfer to UCLA from another graduate program?  

All applicants use the same application form. The department will consider course substitutions for graduate level courses taken at other institutions but the UCLA exam requirements for the program will still be required.

What is the admissions timeline for the Neuroscience PHD program?  

Completed applications will be reviewed throughout December and early January.  Interview invitations will be made via e-mail towards the end of December and early January.  Interviews are conducted in February.  Admission recommendations are made in late February.  We abide by the Council of Graduate School’s Resolution of acceptance of financial offers of support by April 15. 

What does the department look for when making admission decisions?  

The committee looks at the junior and senior undergraduate GPA, academic history, GRE general scores, the statement of purpose, and the letters of recommendation and research experience.

How will I know if I have been recommended for admission?  

You will receive a financial support offer and recommendation for admission via e-mail.  The official admission offer is made by UCLA’s Graduate Division via e-mail notification. 

Can I waive my application fee?  

The application must be submitted and the application fee must be paid for before an application can be reviewed by the department.  Please check here for fee waiver eligibility guidelines. 

I’m applying by the December 1 deadline but I have not taken the general GRE or TOEFL exam, what is the last possible date I can take the exams?   

We strongly encourage applicants to take the GRE/ TOEFL exam no later than November to ensure official scores are transmitted to UCLA on time. 

Do I need to submit all application materials before my application will be reviewed and evaluated?  

It is highly recommended that all application requirements are met before/on the deadline. If not applicants run the risk of late review or review with incomplete documents.

Should I upload and mail in my CV or resume and publications?  

Please upload your CV/Resume to the "Supporting Documents" section on the application.  Do not mail or upload publications.

Should I mail copies of forms that I already have uploaded on the online application?

If you have a problem uploading your documents, please e-mail the graduate office at neurophd@mednet.ucla.edu.  Do not mail documents in without contacting the department first.    

Who should write my letters of recommendations? 

At least two of your letters should be academic references. If you have Industry experience, a letter of recommendation should include one from a supervisor or someone who can vouch for your work experience and performance.

What format should I send my transcripts? 

You will be uploading your scanned transcript(s) to your online application. In addition, official transcript(s) must be mailed directly to the Department.  If your institution offers official electronic transcripts, you may choose this option.  Official electronic transcripts that are issued by your Institution, must come directly from the Institution and sent to NeuroPhD@mednet.ucla.edu.  Transcripts that are e-mailed by the applicant are not considered official.   

What are your ETS Institution Codes?   

  • Institution - U California Los Angeles:  R4837  
  • Department & Major Field Code - Neurosciences:  0213
  • TOEFL iBT Department Code:  99

What test dates are acceptable? We will accept GRE scores from test taken within the last 5 years and TOEFL scores from within 2 years. If a test was taken multiple times enter the most recent scores on the online application form. If not taken yet, enter expected test date.

What are the minimum test scores I should get?

  • GRE:  We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. 
  • TOEFL: 87 (We are only concerned with the total score.) 
  • IELTS:  7.0

 Are copies of scores acceptable?

Unofficial copies of scores are acceptable for review purposes but official copies from ETS are required for official admission to the University

Who is exempt from TOEFL and/ or ELSPE requirement?  

International applicants who hold a bachelors or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the spoken language and the primary language of instruction or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution are exempted from both the TOEFL requirement and the ELSPE.

Can I submit MCAT scores instead of General GRE scores? 

We do not accept MCAT scores in lieu of the General GRE exam. 

 What is necessary to qualify as a California Resident?

U.S citizens or permanent residents can usually become a California resident after living in the state for one year. If you are admitted to the graduate program, you should contact the Registrar’s Office, Residence Classifications (1113 Murphy Hall) upon arrival at UCLA for complete details on establishing California Residency for tuition purposes.

What type of financial support may I expect if I am admitted?  

All students making timely progress toward their degree receive financial support that includes a competitive stipend, full tuition, non-resident supplement tuition (if applicable), health insurance, and various student services fees that cover gym facilities and academic support services.  The support funding can come from a variety of sources including UCLA Graduate Division, Graduate Program in Biosciences, School of Medicine, College of Letters & Science, laboratory mentors, training grants, teaching assistantships, research grants, private gifts and individual fellowships.  We encourage all eligible students to apply for extramural fellowships, i.e. NSF GRFP, NIH, etc.