Requirements for Admission

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.  

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; and
  5. 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. We highly recommend applicants to identify at least three faculty whose research they are interested in and why.

The NGP believes that every person in our community has something to contribute to our effort in achieving racial equity

We use the racial equity essay as part of our admissions process in order to hear from prospective new members of our scientific community about their potential to understand and support our on-going work in this area. If racial equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is new for you, we welcome your engagement on this topic! Please consider exploring the following links as a starting point before writing your essay:

  • The article “Race Matters” published in Cell Press and authored by David Asai in May 2020 is a useful article for providing context about the challenges of racial equity in STEM. Anyone can access the publication for free at this link:
  • 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

The committee is looking for applicants who express knowledge of individual/systemic challenges, comfort with the topic of racial equity, demonstrate interest in racial equity and/or a willingness to learn, and describe current involvement or clear ideas on potential to act.