Guidelines for Domestic Applicants

The Neuroscience Graduate Program does not have specific entrance requirements, although the Admissions Committee considers several variables. GRE scores are not required. We do not have a minimum GPA; however, students with GPAs less than 3.0 must address their GPA value in the a specifc section on the application.  Letters of recommendation from advisors or colleagues who know the applicant in a research environment, not just a class environment, are an important component of the application. Please refer to this article, “Demystifying Graduate School: Navigating a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Beyond,” when developing your application. Finally, we encourage applicants from all science majors and actively seek diverse scientific backgrounds among our entering students.

Specific information regarding GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores can be found on the page listing the School of Medicine Graduate Studies requirements for admission.  

All application materials should be submitted electronically as for all applicants. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Please note that the GRE is no longer required.
  • Domestic applicants are required to submit:
    • Copies of transcripts (unofficial are accepted)
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • A personal statement (explained below)
    • A racial equity essay (explained below)

Personal statements should be concise but dense. In one to two page, applicants should describe:

  1. Why they feel prepared for graduate school;
  2. A description of their research experience(s), particularly their role in each project (If those resulted in abstracts or publications, please list here or on your attached CV);
  3. Why they are specifically applying to the Vollum/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program;
  4. What area(s) of neuroscience they envision themselves pursuing at OHSU: molecular, cellular, developmental, systems, behavioral, cognitive, computational, translational; 
  5. Identify at least three faculty whose research they are interested in and why; and
  6. Include any additional information which may aid the admissions committee in evaluation of their application.

The committee is looking for clear descriptions of applicants' independent roles in research projects that describe not only techniques, but demonstrate an understanding of the larger question that was asked, what were the choices made in the experiments, and what and why were the controls used for each project. The applicant should demonstrate independence and a clear understanding of the research projects.

Additionally, the applicant should clearly express their interest in pursuing neuroscience and what specifically about the NGP is compelling. We encourage applicants to explore our website, attend admissions info sessions, join us at a conference booth, and reach out to us with any questions at The committee is looking for a good research fit between the applicant and potential faculty mentors. 

The NGP has a strong interest in working towards racial equity and we believe every person in our community has something to contribute towards that effort. The racial equity essay is an opportunity for you to communicate your understanding of the racial inequities that exist, as well as your commitment to contribute to our ongoing anti-racism efforts. If racial equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is new for you, we welcome your engagement on this topic!

Required reading

The following readings are required for the writing prompt:

Racial equity essay prompt

The committee is looking for applicants who:

  • Express knowledge of individual/systemic challenges of racism;
  • Demonstrate interest in racial equity and/or a willingness to learn; and
  • Describe current or potential future involvement in anti-racism activities.

This is not a general diversity statement as the focus is specific to race. Personal stories related to race are optional, but by no means required to answer the writing prompt.

  • Writing Prompt: In your racial equity essay, please share your perspective on what the NGP’s Racial Equity Statement means to the training environment for our graduate students and faculty. What is your interpretation of what we aim to achieve in pursuing racial equity within the NGP? Also, please describe how you could contribute personally to the NGP racial equity goals.

Optional resources to learn more

For additional content to understand the barriers to racial equity in STEM, see the Core Concepts area of the Racial Equity Tools website.

The Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS) is a student-led racial inclusion advocacy group at OHSU. Founded by students, now alumni, of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, the AVDS website has much to offer on their Resources tab for what we can do to take action now.