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Focus on the study of the brain and addresses the challenge of developing an integrative understanding of cognition and higher brain function.

In response to this challenge, the rapidly developing field of neuroscience has produced an exponential increase in the amount of data available to investigators as they develop new theories of brain function and new hypotheses to test.

The main objective of the program is to prepare students to participate at the cutting edge of this exciting field in academia, industry, and government. The program provides students with a rich interdisciplinary intellectual environment that fosters the development of the skills they will need to successfully pursue research careers.

Current faculty research focuses on the broad areas of behavior, anatomy, physiology, neuropharmacology, molecular biology, computational modeling, and informatics. External research collaborations exist with federal agencies, private and not-for-profit corporations, and other universities. The scope of research ranges from the subcellular and molecular level (in the context of such phenomena as drug addiction and the biological basis of schizophrenia) to the systems and behavioral level.

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

Program Highlights

Current research projects include plasticity mechanisms supporting development, network formation and information processing, cellular and subcellular models of associative learning, biochemical dynamics in disorders of the basal ganglia, computational methods for simulation of complex biological systems, role of metals in memory and Alzheimer's disease, and dynamical behavior of neurons and networks of neurons, and identifying and characterizing protein interactions for the dopamine and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain.

Course Catalog

Review admission and course requirements for this degree:

Application Requirements

The Fall 2020 applications have closed. If you’d like to be added to our email list for future application information, please email

Applicants to the doctoral program in Neuroscience should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.25 in undergraduate work and acceptable GRE scores. Applicants are expected to have courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular genetics. In addition, students interested in the theoretical, computational or physiological neuroscience are expected to have completed integral calculus.

Applicants should demonstrate high aptitude for quantitative reasoning, physical science and life science. Strong candidates who lack several prerequisites to any concentration may be admitted to provisional status. Removal from provisional status, and continuation in the program, is contingent upon earning a GPA of 3.25 in the program’s fundamental courses, plus completion of missing prerequisites.

  • Applicants should submit a Goals Statement that includes a description of how the applicants research interests relate to at least one faculty member in the program, and include the names of two faculty members who may be suitable as advisors or supervisory committee members.
  • Applicants must obtain three strong letters of recommendation from faculty members or individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the applicant’s academic or professional capabilities.
  • Applicants must submit GRE scores. The GRE exam must have been taken within the past five years prior to the date of application submission. A minimum GRE scores of 1100 on the old scale or approximately 303 on the new scale, combined on the verbal and quantitative sections, and 4.0 on the analytical writing section. Send score to George Mason by using institution code: 5827. The GRE requirement is waived for students with a master's degree from a regionally accredited US institution. 
  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts are required
  • CV or resume may be included, but is not required

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available at competitive levels through graduate research assistantships and fellowships with tuition waivers and health benefits to outstanding candidates. Fellowships and assistantships for Ph.D. students are available beginning in the fall semester. Individual research groups with neuroscience faculty may have externally funded GRA positions available for qualified students. Please contact a faculty member within these research groups for further details.