Frequently Asked Questions
1. I'm currently in my last few years of my undergraduate education. What courses should I be taking in order to be considered for your program? Although we do not exclude from consideration students who have not taken a large number of courses in the biological and chemical sciences, we are looking for students who have strong basic science backgrounds. This means that we recommend that you take and receive good grades in courses like biochemistry, organic chemistry, physiology or anatomy, and biopsychology. We also recommend a course in research methods and/or statistics.
2. What GPA and/or GRE test scores should I have? There are no absolute cut-offs, but applicants who are invited to interview usually have a GPA great than 3.0 and GREs higher than 153 (verbal), 148 (quantitative), and 4.5 (analytic writing). Students with grades below these benchmarks require special consideration. The Admissions Committee will be required to provide justification in order to recommend these students.
Follow up regarding GPA and/or GRE scores lower than stated above: As stated above, there are no absolute cut-offs, however, the selection of candidates is a competitive process. Low GPA and/or GRE scores will not help your application. Applications with GPA and/or GRE scores below these benchmarks should excel in other areas. For example, if your GPA is less than 3.0, your GRE scores, recommendation letters, and research experience should be exceptional. In all cases where the GPA and/or GRE scores are low, the candidate should address the situation in their personal statement. If extenuating circumstances are responsible for the low scores, the candidate should describe the circumstances in their personal statement.
3. What should I include in my personal statement to make it stand out? We especially want to know about research projects that you have been involved in and the sort of research you imagine yourself doing if you were a student in our program. This might include naming faculty you would be interested in working with and what you see as your long term career plans. Please visit our faculty webpages.
4. What information would you like my recommenders to include in their letters? Information about how long they have known you and under what circumstances (did you take a class with them or work in a lab?) We'd like to know what you do well and what things you're not as good at, plus how they think these things might affect how you would do in graduate school.
8. I have a Master's degree in Neuroscience/Psychology/Something Else. May I transfer credits to your program? A petition can be made any time during your first year to transfer credits received for formal course work (not research or independent study). Only courses in which a grade of B or better was received will be considered and a maximum of 45 quarter term credits from an accredited institution can be transferred to the PhD degree at OHSU. Transfer of credits must be approved first by the Graduate Program Director, then the Graduate Council, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and the Registrar.9. I have a Master's degree. Will I have to get another in your program? Our program has a research requirement that includes the option of completing an MS degree. It is not likely that your current Master's degree will satisfy our research requirement, however, we would consider this on an individual basis.
10. OHSU has a Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program and a Neuroscience Graduate Program. What is the difference? Both the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) and the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program (BEHN) are School of Medicine basic science PhD graduate programs. Regarding the distinctions between the programs, many BEHN faculty are also NGP faculty. Specific overlap can be found in the Graduate Studies Faculty Database. NGP faculty that are NOT BEHN faculty are primarily in clinical departments but studying disease processes (not behavioral questions). As the name suggests, the BEHN department focuses on behavioral questions.
There are very, very different academic requirements including different courses and number of courses, different qualifying examination formats, and different timing of the qualifying examination. The BEHN program requires a second year paper. Contact NGP at email@example.com for information about their graduate program.
The BEHN department provides a significant amount of oversight of student progress and interaction between students.
11. How much will it cost me to be a student in your program? We provide a stipend to all students in our program. The 2015/16 annual stipend is $27,000 for a first year graduate student and increases to $28,500 once the student is advanced to PhD candidacy. All tuition and student fees are waived or paid for the student. Students are also covered by PacificSource Student Health Insurance Plan and the Joseph B. Trainer Health & Wellness Center which includes medical, dental, and some dependent coverage. Your costs will include living expenses and textbooks.
14. When will I hear if you are going to interview me? You should hear from us by the second week of January 2016. Please call or email our Graduate Program Manager, Kris Thomason, at (503) 494-7765 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to check on the status of your application.
16. I am neither a US citizen nor a permanent resident. Will you accept my application? All students admitted to our program can expect to be supported as graduate research assistants by one of the three federally funded research training grants, by departmental funds, or by individual faculty research grants. In order to be eligible for federally funded training grant support the individual must be a US citizen or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
Due to the above-mentioned funding challenges, it is rare that we extend offer of admission to foreign applicants. In order to do so, we would need to identify a faculty mentor with an appropriate funding source that is willing to be financially responsible for the student for their entire training period. Foreign applicants are encouraged to browse our faculty profiles to find one or more faculty members that match their career interests and communicate directly with them about the possibility of joining their labs prior to applying for admission. Encouraging communication should be noted in your application's personal statement.
17. English is not my first language. However, my English proficiency is excellent. Will I need to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement? The TOEFL is required for all applicants for whom English is not a native language. The applicant may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement. The waiver is generally granted for applicants who completed their undergraduate degree at an English-speaking American university. Please send an email to our Graduate Program Manager, Kris Thomason (email@example.com) if you would like to request a waiver.
Kris Thomason, Graduate Program Manager, (503) 494-7765, firstname.lastname@example.org
last updated: November 19, 2015