Prospective Graduate Students

A Guide to Preparing for and Applying to Graduate School


Graduate School Application

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be from professors who know you well and can write personal and specific information about your research and academic achievements. Just taking a class from a faculty member will not result in a strong letter. You need to get to know and preferably work with them. It is important to get involved with research or work as a teaching assistant.

GRE scores

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is required for admission to most graduate schools in the United States. Scores on the GRE are considered as part of graduate school admission. There are books, CDs, and classes to help you prepare for the GRE. Click here for resources to help you study.

Letter of Intent/Statement of Purpose

This cover letter provides a brief but well-written statement which includes your goals for graduate school and career, tells the application committee about you and your academic and professional achievements. It shows your writing abilities, ability to follow directions, and attention to detail. The letter of intent needs to be well written and memorable so that is sets you apart from other applicants. The letter of intent should be individualized for each program that you apply to.

For information on how to write a cover letter see:

The Application

Each program has their own individual application, specifications, and requirements.


List your accomplishments, experience, research, volunteer work, publications, etc.

For information on resumes see:

For information on interview tips see:


The minimum GPA required is a 3.0 for the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

College Transcripts

Most programs require transcripts. Click here to order yours.


Applying to graduate school can be expensive. Costs include application fees, taking the GRE, buying books, mailing applications, visiting schools, etc.


Online Resources

Try these links to find valuable information about the preparation and application process.


Printed Resources

How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School, Richard J. Stelzer. "The personal statement is how the school learns about your personality and intellect. This book shows readers ways to improve their essays and provides examples."

Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D, Robert Peters."Since its publication, Getting What You Came For, has proved itself a necessity in helping students answer those vital questions and much more."

Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice, Donald Asher. "Based on thousands of interviews with successful graduate students and graduate admission officers, Graduate Admissions Essays deconstructs and demystifies the application process."


Click here for information on BYU's graduate programs in neuroscience.