Thank you for considering our program for your graduate training needs. We welcome applications from well-qualified applicants outside of the United States. Although the application process is competitive, we have admitted international applicants from many countries. Currently there are students in the program from Europe, Asia, and South America.
Please use the drop down menus to learn more about the application process for international applicants. We encourage applicants from all science majors and actively seek diverse scientific backgrounds among our entering students.
All application materials should be submitted electronically in the application portal. To apply, create an account and select "Neuroscience Graduate Program" in the program list. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- A research statement (explained below)
- Short answer responses (explained below)
- A copy of your of transcripts (unofficial are accepted)
- 3 letters of recommendation. 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.
- A copy of your CV or resume
- TOEFL or IELTS scores (explained below)
- Previous work samples (optional) (i.e. previous publications, posters, senior thesis, etc.)
Please upload your research statement and short answer responses in one single file in the application portal.
Each applicant is assessed across 9 metrics that we believe are important for graduate student success in our program. For a detailed description of these 9 metrics, please visit our program’s What we look for in prospective applicants page.
Note: GRE score submission is optional and scores are not used as a component in the application review process. If you wish to submit GRE scores, OHSU's ETS institutional code is 4865
Fluency in English is necessary for success in our program. Applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. OHSU's ETS institutional code is 4865. A TOEFL score near 80 (0-120 scale) is usually sufficient to be successful in our academic courses. If you are from a country where English is the primary language or you earned a degree from a four-year accredited college in the United States, the language exam is not required. Additional information regarding TOEFL/IELTS scores can be found on the page listing the School of Medicine Graduate Studies Admissions Requirements, under “Intl. Applicants”.
- Your curiosity and how it relates to your interest in scientific discovery
Scientists are oftentimes naturally curious about how things work and demonstrate this through the pursuit of knowledge. From understanding single cells to understanding the universe, a scientist’s curiosity has no limit. Please describe a time when you became interested in learning how something worked, whether it was a system, concept, or physical object. What sparked your curiosity, and what steps did you take to further your understanding of this topic? Additionally, how has this experience shaped your desire to seek out new information and learn more about the world around you?
- Your demonstrated participation and understanding of scientific research:
Please provide an overview of the research project you were most involved in (no more than 2 projects). Examples of research experience may include but are not limited to undergraduate or summer research experiences, scientific honors thesis research, post-baccalaureate experiences, research assistant positions, or any other research experience you think may be appropriate.
This overview must include the following:
1) your lab’s overarching research focus;
2) the specific question the project aimed to answer, why is this question important to ask, and what the expected findings were;
3) key experiment(s) and methods used to answer the project’s question(s) and why the experiments/methods were chosen; and
4) if applicable, the results of the experiment(s).
- Your demonstrated growth and problem solving skills:
Scientific discovery can be challenging, especially when projects or data go unexpectedly. A successful scientist remains determined while working through those unexpected challenges. Describe a time when you solved a difficult problem within the research you described above. Why was that problem challenging? How did you solve that problem (think less about specific technical details and more about your process)? What did you learn from that experience?
- Your research interests and its alignment with our program’s research expertise:
- Which neuroscience topics (molecular, cellular, developmental, systems, computational, translational) pique your curiosity?
- Please name 2-3 NGP faculty whose research you are interested in and what interests you about their work (we are looking for some evidence that you read their research descriptions). Applicants are encouraged to browse our faculty profiles to identify faculty members who match their research/career interests.
Your answers to each prompt should be 150-250 words max. You must address all of the questions outlined in each prompt. Your application will be evaluated, in part, based on your ability to address all of the questions of the prompts below.
- Your time management and organizational skills:
Graduate students manage multiple responsibilities on a daily basis. This may include managing several ongoing experiments, attending seminars, completing elective coursework, and contributing to journal clubs. Please describe a time when you had to manage multiple responsibilities. Why were these responsibilities challenging to manage? What strategies or approaches did you use to organize your time and prioritize your tasks? What did you learn from this experience? Examples of responsibilities may include but are not limited to working full-time while in college, balancing being a caregiver along with other responsibilities, attending college while being involved in clubs/sports, etc.
- Your ability to work with others and ask for help:
Research is rarely performed alone. Whether it is your mentor, labmates, or people from other labs, research involves collaborating with others. Working with others may also require asking for help when we need it. Asking for help is difficult for many people, but it is a necessary skill for the successful scientist. Describe a time when you collaborated with others and had to ask for help. What specific skills did you utilize to work with others? Additionally, how did you approach asking for help when you needed it, even if it was challenging? Reflecting on this experience, what did you learn or confirm about yourself regarding collaboration and asking for help? Your response could be related or unrelated to research and pertain to your personal or professional life.
- Your interest in community engagement:
The NGP is seeking applicants who are interested in community engagement. Describe your community engagement activities aimed at improving conditions or outcomes for individuals or groups. What need did you address, and what was your role? What were the outcomes, and how did it impact the community? What did you take away from this experience? If you haven't engaged in such activities, how would you want to become involved in community engagement on or off campus? What needs would you address, what role would you take, and what impact would you like to have on the community?
- Your interest and alignment with OHSU’s mission
Diversity is a key value that guides OHSU as we aim to "Build a diverse, equitable environment where all can thrive and excel." With a shared value in mind, both the Vollum Institute and the Neuroscience Graduate Program recognize the importance of fostering an environment that enables every individual to unlock their full potential, spanning from groundbreaking scientific advancements to nurturing the growth of future critical thinkers.
Please read our program’s Anti-Oppression Primer for International Applicants. What is your understanding of how our Anti-Oppression Primer for International Applicants aligns with the stated value of diversity at OHSU? Please describe how you could personally contribute to the institutional interest of creating an equitable educational environment where everyone can thrive and excel.
Note: Due to the specificity of the prompt, a diversity statement written for another program’s application will likely be insufficient for answering this short response prompt.
- Please check out our two wonderful student-led advocacy groups:
- 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 all do to take action now.
- The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM (SACNAS) at OHSU is dedicated to making STEM careers more accessible to underrepresented students. Their SACNAS chapter is tied to a nationwide SACNAS organization that provides community and professional development opportunities to underrepresented students in scientific research at OHSU.
- For more information in writing a graduate school application, please read “Demystifying Graduate School: Navigating a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Beyond,” when developing your application.
- The article “Race Matters” published in Cell Press and authored by David Asai in May 2020 is useful for providing context about the challenges of racial equity in STEM.
- For additional content to understand the barriers to racial equity in STEM, see the Core Concepts area of the Racial Equity Tools website.