Application & Program FAQs

Below is a list of common frequently asked questions about our application process and our program. Please contact us at  if you have further questions. We also invite you to join us either at conferences or join an admissions info session.

September 1:  Application opens.

December 1:  All application materials due.

Approximately mid- to late-December:  Admissions Committee review complete; invitations for interview sent by email.

February 24-27, 2022:  Interview weekend and recruitment event.

Early March:  Admission decisions are announced.

April 15:  Final date for accepting offer of admission.

Yes! All application fee waivers are approved by the Graduate Studies office. Applicants who are economically disadvantaged can request a waiver by contacting either or before submitting their applications.

Fee waivers are also approved for applicants who have participated in the following: 

  • Murdock Undergraduate Collaborative Research Program
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • Meyerhoff Scholars Program
  • NGP/Vollum Summer Research Program
  • NIH Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)
  • OHSU Summer Equity Program
  • Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference
  • American Indian Science and Engineering (AISES)

The 2021/22 entering stipend is $34,762. In the first year, the program covers tuition, fees, and health insurance from training grant and institutional funds. Incoming students will also receive a $1,000 travel allowance for the first year. In accordance with the Graduate Researcher's Union and the School of Medicine, stipends will increase to $35,803 on July 1, 2022. The renewal of the union contract moving forward will determine stipend levels.

Tuition, fees, and health insurance is entirely covered for students. After the first year, students join a lab and are funded through the lab or the department. Though we encourage students to be teaching assistants after their first year, there are no teaching requirements tied to funding. Students are expected to continue to work on their research in the lab and make good progress toward degree. Funding is gauranteed for students until they graduate. 

For international students, it is important to join a lab that has ample funding. All of our international students have been successful finding labs and have not had funding issues related to their citizenship status. 

We have been very successful with NSF fellowships for incoming students or 1st year students. There are about 8 students in the program who are current or past NSF GRFP recepients. Students in their 2nd and 3rd year are strongly encouraged to apply for individual NRSAs. Our qualifying exam is based upon an NRSA application. This allows students to have ample feedback to put together a top-notch applications. 

Our program is uniquely arranged to create to provide a good foundation and introduction into graduate school in late summer followed by an intense fall semester of core courses. The core curriculum is presented as a 12 week block from the last week in September until the first week in December. An exam at the end of that block serves as the Written Comprehensive. You can come in early summer and do a rotation, but there are no required rotations during the12 weeks of the fall term. However, during the core course there are a number of activities to introduce new students to a large number of labs so you can make informed choices on rotations. Students will then enter fulltime rotations to complete the 3 required rotations (minimum length 2 months) and choose a lab by late spring of the 1st year. The deadline for the Oral Qualifying Exam is April of the 2nd year. Once you pass the Oral, you advance to candidacy. This is definitely an accelerated track compared to many programs and the very aggressive student (with a little luck) can finish in 4 years.

The average time to graduate is now just over 5 years as a result of a number of steps we use to keep students on track. Most important is that we track and require that Dissertation Advisory Committees meet at least every 6 months once you enter a thesis lab. Traditionally, most graduates of the program have gone on to postdocs and then either academic or industry jobs. That is changing a bit as the funding environment shifts, but we have been very active in providing students with opportunities to consider all options. We have graduates doing all sorts of interesting jobs as program officers for foundations, health policy analysts at NIH, science writers, patent attorneys, teachers, clinicians, etc. Note that the program started in 1992 and the first graduates were in 1998, so most  of our grads have been out  <15 years are still in early stages of their careers. You can see a list of NGP graduates and their current locations. NGP grads have been successful to the limit of their accomplishments and motivation, and the program is so well-recognized in neuroscience that getting a good postdoc has not been a problem for students who work hard and have a substantial thesis.