University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

Master’s Degree Program


Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of the nervous system.  The overall objective of the Department of Neuroscience Master’s Degree program is to provide additional laboratory research and academic training to students who have completed an undergraduate major in neuroscience or a closely related scientific area, and wish to extend their studies before moving on to other post-graduate training or professional employment.  Areas of concentration include neuroplasticity, synaptic transmission, homeostatic regulatory systems, biological bases of neuropsychiatric disorders, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental neuroscience.

Admission requirements

Students are admitted based on evidence of intellectual talent, a strong interest in neuroscience, and a commitment to scholarship and research.  The department can accommodate up to six new master’s degree students each year.  All applicants must be sponsored by a Department of Neuroscience faculty (or affiliated faculty) member before submitting their application. Faculty who are eligible to sponsor a master’s degree student include:

Faculty: Barrionuevo, Card, Colby, Grace, Johnson, Meriney, Moghaddam, Rinaman, Sesack, Sved, Cohen, Dong, Oswald, and Schluter

Affiliated Faculty: (Adjunct faculty and those with primary appointments in other areas) DeFranco (Pharmacology), Fiez (Psychology), Lewis (Psychiatry), Olson (Adjunct), Urban (Adjunct), Yates (Otolaryngology), Barth (Adjunct), Gandhi (Otolaryngology), Hastings (Neurology),and Lee (Adjunct), Wagner (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation).

Decisions regarding admission to our master’s degree program consider the candidate's statement of interest and goals in the field of neuroscience, past research experience, letters of recommendation, test scores, and grades.  An outstanding record in one of these areas may compensate for poorer performance in another area.  In general, successful applicants have a BS degree in neuroscience or related discipline (e.g. (biology, chemistry, psychology) with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale), and a cumulative Graduate Record Examination score of at least 160 verbal, 150 quantitative and a 4.5 in analytical writing.  After an initial screening, applicants may be evaluated by a personal interview.  Students are admitted on the assumption that they will be able to meet all requirements for the MS degree.  The MS degree is not a prerequisite for doctoral training in neuroscience through the CNUP, nor does it guarantee admission to our doctoral training program.

Department Chair:   Alan Sved, PhD

Director of Graduate Studies:   Stephen Meriney, PhD