University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

About the Program


The master's degree training program of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh has been designed to:


Students should be able to complete the program within two years. Students who have already completed a BS degree in the Department of Neuroscience (as is typical) may complete the program within a year and a half.

Research Advisors

Research advisors are limited to Department of Neuroscience faculty members, including faculty with secondary appointments. Support for admitted students is provided by their faculty sponsor, and so it is essential that an eligible faculty member has agreed to support the student’s application to our master’s degree program, and to support their subsequent training if admitted.

Coursework and Milestones


Students must complete a course in neuroanatomy (either Systems Neurobiology, NROSCI 2102, or Functional Neuroanatomy, NROSCI 2011) and a course in cellular and molecular neuroscience (either Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, NROSCI 2100 and NROSCI 2101, or Neurophysiology, NROSCI 2012, plus Synaptic Transmission, NROSCI 2017). Graduate-level courses in statistics and research ethics also are strongly recommended though not required (see section 4.1). Students must also participate in a journal club every fall and spring term (this could be either a CNUP journal club or a more specialized journal club), and must attend the neuroscience seminar series (NROSCI 2106). A minimum grade of B is required to pass a course, and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 must be maintained throughout the course of study. Students must complete at least 15 credit hours of coursework toward the total of 30 credits required for the master’s degree. Students are also required to pass two milestones en route to the master’s degree: the Reprint Exam and the Master’s Thesis Defense. Specific details regarding these milestones are provided later in this document.


Students must be actively involved in full-time laboratory research during each term they are enrolled. A minimum of four terms of laboratory research is required for a master's degree (fall and spring terms plus two summers is more typical). This research must make progress toward addressing a relevant hypothesis, must be written as a master's thesis in the form of a manuscript submitted for publication, and must be presented in a public seminar and defended to the student’s Research Committee.


All applicants must have an eligible faculty sponsor before submitting an application. Application procedures are available from the Department of Neuroscience Graduate Administrator. The Admissions Committee reviews applications when they are complete, and successful applicants may initiate formal studies in the term following acceptance. Any questions regarding specific issues should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Stephen D. Meriney, 412-624-8283,