Jul 21, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy - Neuroscience

The mission of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program is to train graduate students to become independent neuroscientists who possess a broad, interdisciplinary foundation of knowledge in one or more specific areas of neuroscience. The program will enhance community well-being and achievement by providing a new opportunity for Nevada residents with undergraduate degrees in a wide range of fields to affordably and conveniently pursue doctoral-level neuroscience training through coursework and mentored research. Students will learn highly advanced material and technical skills and apply these skills in their own research.

Participating Departments

Life Sciences – College of Sciences

Brain Health – School of Integrated Health Sciences 

Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences – School of Integrated Health Sciences 

Physical Therapy – School of Integrated Health Sciences 

Psychology – College of Liberal Arts

Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV

Plan Description

The UNLV Neuroscience Ph.D. program trains graduate students to become independent neuroscientists who possess a broad, interdisciplinary foundation of knowledge in one or more specific areas of neuroscience. This research-intensive program will prepare students to pursue post-doctoral research and independent research careers in neuroscience.

Coursework and mentored research teach students to understand the existing neuroscience literature, generate new knowledge, and attract funding to support their research in preparation for careers in academic, medical, government, or private industry settings. Students are welcome to engage in collaborations with multiple laboratories at UNLV and other institutions. The program welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and those with diversity-related research interests.


For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

The program will only admit students who are seeking a doctoral degree. The program will admit students for matriculation in the fall semester. Review of completed applications will continue until all positions are filled. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as early as possible.

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.00 (A = 4.00) or a master’s degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.50. Applicants must have completed at least 18 credits in biological or health sciences, cognitive science, neuroscience, or psychology courses including Statistics and Research Methods or their equivalents, at the undergraduate or the graduate level.
  2. Three letters of recommendation.
  3. A statement of purpose written by the applicant.
  4. Optional: Scores on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be submitted but ARE NOT required
  5. Admission to the program will be based on a mentoring model. 
  6. Students under serious consideration for admission to the Neuroscience Ph.D. are required to have an in-person interview with the sponsoring faculty member and at least two other program faculty members. If an in-person is not financially or pragmatically feasible, a telephone or web interview may be substituted.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements. 

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

See Subplan Requirements below.

Subplan 1: Post-Bachelor’s
Subplan 2: Post-Master’s

Subplan 1: Post-Bachelor’s

Total Credits Required: 62

Course Requirements

Required Courses - Credits: 14

Complete 14 credits by completing all of the following courses, including 6 total credits of NEUS 711.

Elective Courses - Credits: 21

Complete 21 credits from the following or other advisor-approved courses:

Qualifying Activity - Credits: 6

Dissertation - Credits: 18

Subplan 2: Post-Master’s

Total Credits Required: 42

Course Requirements

Required Course - Credits: 6

Complete the following course each semester during the first two years of study for a total of 6 credits:

Elective Courses - Credits: 12

Complete 12 credits from the following or other advisor-approved courses:

Qualifying Activity - Credits: 6

Dissertation - Credits: 18

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 62 credits (or 42 for post-masters students) in graduate coursework is required for the doctoral degree.

Students must obtain a grade of B- or better in each course taken for that course to count toward the degree. One grade below a B- (i.e. C+ or lower) will result in probation. Once on probation for receiving a grade below a B-, a second grade (in the same or different classes) below a B-, will result in immediate separation from the program. If a student re-takes a course in which they received a grade lower than a B- (i.e., C+ or lower) and earns a B- or better, they will be removed from probation. A student may only be on academic probation twice during their graduate career; a third probation will result in separation from the program. No student shall be allowed more than two simultaneous grades of incomplete, except in the case of a documented and approved medical leave.

Students must conform to all policies of the UNLV Graduate College, as stated in the UNLV Graduate Catalog, those stated in the UNLV Neuroscience Doctoral Program Student Handbook, the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. 

Students must take a minimum of four semesters of dissertation, which can include summers. The dissertation must be orally proposed and defended.

Plan Graduation Requirements

  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College as well as apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements for the program.
  2. Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of dissertation credits: NEUS 781 – Dissertation, write an original dissertation of substantial quality and length on a neuroscience topic, and successfully defend this work in front of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.
    1. Students must work with their Graduate Advisory Committee to ensure quality research, analysis and writing of the comprehensive exams and dissertation.
    2. Satisfactory performance on an oral defense of the dissertation prospectus to be held after the successful completion of all course work and the four comprehensive examinations is required. The oral defense will cover the student’s dissertation proposal and any deficiencies on the comprehensive exams or in the student’s program of study. Upon successful completion of the oral defense of the dissertation prospectus, the student may advance to candidacy and enroll in dissertation credits.
    3. Upon completion of the dissertation, a final oral defense will be held in front of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.
    4. Committee members must unanimously pass the student on their oral defense for the Ph.D. to be conferred.
  3. The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  4. After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here.