Graduate Applicant FAQs
What are the requirements of the Neuroscience Program?
How do I apply?
- Application https://gradschool.wsu.edu/apply/
- College transcripts (unofficial acceptable for initial review--upon admittance official transcripts are required)
- Three (3) letters of reference submitted directly by the reference writer
- Resume or curriculum vita
- Personal statement describing why you are interested in studying neuroscience (clearly define which faculty mentor (minimum of 3) you are interested in working with and explain why). If admitted to WSU you will have the ability to refine your choice of faculty mentors while doing lab rotations. Included in the personal statement describe an achievement that you are proud of and discuss how you reached your goal, and any obstacles you had to overcome to reach it. Conversely, tell us about a time when you didn't achieve a goal and what you learned from the experience (maximum word length is 350 words).
- Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (WSU code 4705). Include the % below as well as the raw score.
- Writing Statement: Describe a major finding in neuroscience and/or biomedicine over the past five (5) years, and explain why you think it was important (maximum word length of 350 words).
Is there a specific bachelor’s degree necessary for applying to the neuroscience program?
No, we accept students from all disciplines. However, we look heavily at the science and math background of any students that are accepted.
What classes should I take to be competitive for the neuroscience program?
Applicants generally will be expected to have completed courses in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, calculus, physics, statistics, and a minimum of three (3) courses in different areas of the biological sciences.
I am transferring from a different graduate program. Do I still need a GRE score?
If the student is transferring from another WSU program, the GRE may be waived with approval from the Program Director. If the student is transferring from another institution, the GRE is required.
Do I need a MS degree before applying for a PhD program?
No, a MS degree is not necessary to apply for the PhD program.
Why do I have to put down three faculty names when I apply? Am I committed to my list?
The faculty on your list give the Graduate Studies Committee a better idea of whom you’d like to work with as well as potential rotations that you might do if admitted. You are not committed to this list of faculty if admitted. The laboratory rotation will give you a chance to determine fit and interest in a research program before making a firm commitment.
What is a career goal statement, statement of purpose or personal statement?
Personal statement describing why you are interested in studying neuroscience (clearly define which faculty mentor (minimum of 3) you are interested in working with and explain why). If admitted to WSU you will have the ability to refine your choice of faculty mentors while doing lab rotations. Included in the personal statement describe an achievement that you are proud of and discuss how you reached your goal, and any obstacles you had to overcome to reach it. Conversely, tell us about a time when you didn't achieve a goal and what you learned from the experience (maximum word length is 350 words). This helps the Graduate Studies Committee evaluate whether we can help meet your research goals in our program.
What is a writing sample and what are the requirements for the sample?
Describe a major finding in neuroscience and/or biomedicine over the past five (5) years, and explain why you think it was important (maximum word length of 350 words). This will help the Graduate Studies Committee evaluate your ability to write.
What GPA do I need for entrance into the neuroscience program?
The minimum GPA required by the Graduate School is a 3.0 GPA (on a 4 point scale).
How do you calculate GPA?
The neuroscience program uses only the cumulative GPA from all previous institutions that applicant has attended.
Can I have the application fee waived?
See https://gradschool.wsu.edu/apply/ for the most current information.
When will I know if I was admitted?
The neuroscience program invites selected students to interview in Pullman during the month of February. Admission decisions are normally made in March. However, until all spots have been filled, the program will continue to admit students. Students maybe kept on the pending list until April 15.
What campus is the Neuroscience program offered at Washington State University?
The MS and PhD neuroscience program is administered by the Pullman campus through the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience. There are neuroscience faculty spread around the Pullman campus as well as in both Spokane, WA and Vancouver, WA.
What do I do if I want to go to Vancouver, WA or Spokane, WA neuroscience laboratories?
Which campus a student will reside at will depend on where their research mentor works. Students must remain at the same campus location as their research mentor. If a student must remain at a specific location, they need to be sure to locate a mentor on that campus in the neuroscience program that is interested in taking a student.
Can I choose what campus I go to?Students must remain at the same campus location as their research mentor.
What is the difference between the PhD and MS degrees in Neuroscience?
Students in the neuroscience PhD program do not have to have a mentor when they begin their program. They have the opportunity to do three laboratory rotations before making a decision on their mentor by the end of their first semester. PhD students are funded by the department as long as they maintain a 3.0 GPA and satisfactory performance in the research lab. On the other hand, MS students need to have an identified and agreed upon mentor when they are admitted to the MS program. Students without a mentor will not be admitted. MS students are not funded by the department, however, if their mentor has funding available, the student may be assigned a research assistantship (RA). Alternatively, a MS student may be able to be a teaching assistant (TA) in another department while attending the neuroscience MS program.
How soon can applications be submitted?
Applications open in July, annually.
What is the application deadline?
Applications are due December 15 each year. The Graduate Studies Committee only reviews completed files.
What if I want to apply after December 15?
Completed applications will be reviewed until all spots in the program have been filled for the upcoming year.
Are students accepted more than once a year?
No, neuroscience students are admitted once a year to start their program in the fall semester.
Can I start my neuroscience program in the spring semester?No, the neuroscience program is arranged to begin classes each fall.
What is the School Code?
Are GRE scores required?
Yes, in the Neuroscience program GRE’s are required. Send to school code 4705.
What is the minimum GRE score?
The Neuroscience program doesn’t have a minimum score as the GRE score is one part of the total package of information provided during the evaluation process.
How long are GRE scores valid?
You must have taken the GRE less than 3 years prior to applying
Do I still need to take the GRE’s if I have a PhD degree?
Yes, the neuroscience program requires a GRE.
Will the MCAT work instead of the GRE score?
Is the GRE subject test required?
No, only the general GRE test is needed. Send test scores to school code 4705.
Do I need to submit an English language proficiency score?
For students who are not from certain native English speaking countries, or who have not completed a four-year baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited US or Canadian college or university within two years of expected enrollment at WSU are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB scores. Please see the Graduate School webpage for specific English proficiency requirements.
Do I need a score for each of the TOEFL, IELTS, and MELAB?
No, you only need to submit a score for one of the tests.
What is the minimum TOEFL score?
Students in the Neuroscience program need a TOEFL score of at least 100. Submit test scores directly to the Graduate School (school code 4705).
What is the minimum IELTS score?
Students in the Neuroscience program need an IELTS score of 7. Submit test scores directly to the Graduate School (school code 4705).
What is the minimum MELABS score?
Students in the Neuroscience program need a MELABS score of at least 86. Submit test scores directly to the Graduate School (school code 4705).
Do you know who is recruiting students for next year? How do I find a mentor?
Do I need a mentor for the PhD program upon being admitted?
Students in the neuroscience PhD program do not have to have a mentor when they begin their program. They have the opportunity to do three laboratory rotations before making a decision on their mentor by the end of their first semester.
Do I need a mentor for the MS program upon being admitted?
MS students need to have an identified and agreed upon mentor when they are admitted to the MS program. Students without a mentor will not be admitted.
How do I find a list of neuroscience faculty?
Mentors who are currently accepting students, or project to be accepting students, will be noted on the Faculty web page of the Neuroscience Program. It is encouraged that you reach out to potential mentors as you are applying to make them aware of your interest in potentially joining their lab.
What is the best way to communicate with the faculty?
You can communicate by email directly with the neuroscience faculty. Find faculty research interests and their email at http://ipn.vetmed.wsu.edu/neuroscience/
Is there financial support available for PhD students?
Yes, students that are accepted into the neuroscience program will normally receive a graduate assistantship with a tuition waiver and health insurance as long as they maintain a 3.0 GPA and perform satisfactorily in the research laboratory.
Is there financial support available for MS students?
No funding is available from the program. However, there is a possibility that the students mentor may have funding for a research assistantship or there may be TA opportunities in other programs.
Will I have health insurance if I become a neuroscience student?
If a student is on a teaching or research assistantship, they will then be provided with graduate student health insurance.
Do I have to pay my own tuition if I’m a neuroscience student?
If a student is on a teaching or research assistantship, they will then be provided with a partial tuition waiver. Generally, the student pays for a small portion of their tuition as well as their fees. These costs can be taken out of the student’s paychecks while on a paid assistantship at WSU.
Where can I find the online Graduate Application?
Official Transcript FAQ’s
Where do I send my official transcripts?
Graduate School Admissions
PO Box 641030
Pullman, WA 99164-1030
Do I need to send my official transcript when I apply?No, an unofficial transcript is acceptable. If you are admitted, an official transcript will need to be sent to the Graduate School before they will officially admit you.
Lab Rotation FAQ
What is a lab rotation?
PhD students in neuroscience will have three (3) laboratory rotations in which they can explore areas of research interests as well as determine if they are a good fit in the laboratory and with the research mentor. Each rotation is approximately 7 weeks long.
Can I visit campus?
Do you offer travel awards for me to visit campus?The neuroscience program invites selected students to interview in Pullman during the month of February. The program will cover necessary travel and lodging expenses for this trip.