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Course work and research that emphasize the integration of molecular biology, developmental biology, biophysics, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuroendocrinology, neuroimmunology, cognition, and behavioral neuroscience are offered through this PhD degree program. Students are required to develop a strong background in the principles of neuroscience and develop the intellectual background and technical expertise necessary for successful research projects in their area of specialization. As part of this preparation for independent research, students are expected to publish their research findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Admission and Entry

Required Tests

Students whose native language is not English are required to take the U.S. Graduate Record Examination, and must also successfully complete the TOEFL or IELTS examination with a minimum score as given below:

E3PT 79 (16 in writing, 21 in other sections)
IELTS 6.0 in each section, 7.0 overall
CAE 185 (or grade of “C”)
TOEFL PBT (paper-based) 580
TOEFL IBT 85 (22 in Speaking, 21 in other sections)

The GRE scores are required for admission and can be taken remotely. See 
Note: the GRE can be waived if COVID provides a hardship.

Grade Point Average: 3.0 or greater

Non-English-speaking students must also provide sufficient documentation to permit an appropriate evaluation of their previous academic performance.

Additional Requirements

At least one advanced course completed in Molecular/Cellular/Behavioral Neuroscience or Psychology

Solid foundation in the basic sciences with advanced courses in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Biology/Physiology


Letters of Recommendation: at least two, preferably three, from academic mentors/faculty/research advisors

Letter of Intent: Document summarizing interest level, likely fit, and desire to conduct graduate research with at least five specific faculty members in the program.

Requirements for Degree

  • Credit hours: 54 hours, including 18 hours of dissertation (Neuro 799R).
  • Students who have earned a master's degree must complete at least 36 semester hours of additional graduate work at BYU beyond the master's degree.
  • Required courses: Bio 503 (1 hour); Neuro 601 (3 hours), 649R (2 hours), 694R (4 hours), 696R (4 hours); Stat 511 (3 hours). One semester (2 credits) of Neuro 649R must be performed in a laboratory different than the laboratory of the student's graduate committee chair.
  • A seminar must be presented each year (PDBio 694R).
  • A professional development requirement must be met (PDBio 689R).
  • Dissertation: standard university dissertation format or journal publication format.
  • Examinations: (A) comprehensive written and oral examination; (B) defense of dissertation.

Click here for more information about the Neuroscience PhD program.

Contact Roberta Barnes with questions at or 801-422-8633.