Admissions FAQ

What are the basic requirements to apply to the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program (NSIDP)?  

An applicant must hold or be in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and must have the necessary academic preparation to participate successfully in graduate level courses.

I didn’t major in Neuroscience or Neurobiology, am I still eligible to apply? Are there any required courses I have to take?

We do not require applicants to have majored in Neuroscience or Neurobiology as an undergrad nor do we have required courses that an applicant must take. Though we do highly recommend that an applicant at least take mathematics through calculus and at least one year of general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry, physics and basic biology including molecular and cellular. We also recommend at least one year of research experience to be considered a competitive applicant.

Why do I have to apply to the Biosciences Program if I want a Neuroscience PhD? 

The Neuroscience PhD program is a home area under the Graduate Programs in Bioscience umbrella. The Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program will review your application.  For more information about the Graduate Programs in Bioscience, click here. 

What are the required materials for the application? 

  • TOEFL/ IELTS exam scores - please review English Requirements here.  
  • One set of official transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/Resume

I would like to apply to the Neurobiology PhD program but this option is not available, what do I do? 

The Neurobiology graduate program is not accepting applications.  If you are interested in pursuing Neurobiology training and wish to have a mentor who is a faculty member in the Neurobiology Department, you are welcome to apply to the Neuroscience IDP graduate program.  You are also encouraged to review the other Home Areas to see if there is another suitable graduate program that meets your research and academic interests. 

What is the procedure to transfer to UCLA from another graduate program?  

All applicants use the same application form. The department will consider course substitutions for graduate level courses taken at other institutions but the UCLA exam requirements for the program will still be required.

What is the admissions timeline for the Neuroscience PHD program?  

Completed applications will be reviewed throughout December and early January.  Interview invitations will be made via e-mail towards the end of December and early January.  Interviews are conducted in February.  Admission recommendations are made in late February.  We abide by the Council of Graduate School’s Resolution of acceptance of financial offers of support by April 15. 

What does the department look for when making admission decisions?  

The committee looks at the cumulative GPA, academic history, the statement of purpose, and the letters of recommendation and research experience.

When are the Interview-Visiting Events?   

The program typically has two Interview - Visiting Events in the month of February.  Please do not contact us asking when our event is scheduled.  Competitive applicants will be invited for interviews via e-mail notification.  Travel arrangements & accommodations will be arranged by the program.  There is no difference in the event schedule.  You will be invited to one of the two events based on space availability and scheduling. 

How will I know if I have been recommended for admission?  

You will receive a financial support offer and recommendation for admission via e-mail.  The official admission offer is made by UCLA’s Graduate Division via e-mail notification. 

Can I waive my application fee?  

The application must be submitted and the application fee must be paid for before an application can be reviewed by the department.  Please check here for fee waiver eligibility guidelines. 

Is the GRE General Test still required for your program?

No effective Fall 2020, the GRE is no longer a requirement for our program. 

If I have taken the GRE, can I still submit my scores? 

Students who wish to apply for admission to our graduate program for the 2021-2022 academic year are not required to take the GRE or submit a GRE score report as part of their application package. However, students may voluntarily submit GRE test scores and they will be reviewed as part of the holistic application consideration. The applications with GRE scores will not be given greater weight than those that do not include scores.  

I’m applying by the December 1 deadline but I have not taken the TOEFL exam, what is the last possible date I can take the exams?   

We strongly encourage applicants to take the TOEFL exam no later than November to ensure official scores are transmitted to UCLA on time. 

What is the optional research experience and interest statement?

If you would like to provide more information related to your past research experience, current research interests, and long-term goals, you can upload a research statement up to 1000 words in length.  For past research experience, your essay should include the major problem being addressed, the specific aims/goals/questions your project addressed and how these help address the major problem, what approaches you used (no need to go into technical details), the results you obtained, and how these results advanced understanding of the major problem.  It is acceptable to upload an essay that includes and extends information in your Statement of Purpose.

What is the pathway and motivation for graduate school statement?

If you would like to provide additional information related to the experiences and challenges you have encountered in your pathway to graduate school, you can upload an essay up to 1000 words in length.  The admissions committee is particularly interested in those experiences that offer insights into your resilience, passion for research, and commitment to a career in science. It is acceptable to upload an essay that includes and extends information in your Personal History Statement.

Do I need to submit all application materials before my application will be reviewed and evaluated?  

It is highly recommended that all application requirements are met before/on the deadline. If not applicants run the risk of late review or review with incomplete documents.

Should I mail copies of forms that I already have uploaded on the online application?

If you have a problem uploading your documents, please e-mail the graduate office at  Do not mail documents in without contacting the department first.    

Who should write my letters of recommendations? 

At least two of your letters should be academic references. If you have Industry experience, a letter of recommendation should include one from a supervisor or someone who can vouch for your work experience and performance.

What format should I send my transcripts? 

All applicants are required to upload scanned or digitzed copies of transcript(s) to your online application. In addition, official transcript(s) from your university's Registrar must be mailed directly to the Department.  If your institution offers official electronic transcripts, you may choose this option.  Official electronic transcripts that are issued by your Institution, must come directly from the Institution and sent to  Transcripts that are e-mailed by the applicant are not considered official.

I am an International Applicant and unable to mail my official transcripts?

If you are an applicant who has studied outside of the the U.S. you are not required to mail your official transcripts.  Be sure to upload legible scanned or digitized copies to your online application.  If you are offered admission, you will be required to provide official academic transcripts at that time.  Applicants who studied outside the U.S. should review the detailed requirements for international academic records.

What are your ETS Institution Codes?   

  • Institution - U California Los Angeles:  4837  
  • Department & Major Field Code - Neurosciences:  0213
  • TOEFL iBT Department Code:  99

What test dates are acceptable? We will accept TOEFL scores from within 2 years. If a test was taken multiple times enter the most recent scores on the online application form. If not taken yet, enter expected test date.

What are the minimum test scores I should get?

  • TOEFL: 87 (We are only concerned with the total score.) 
  • IELTS:  7.0

 Are copies of scores acceptable?

Unofficial copies of scores are acceptable for review purposes but official copies from ETS are required for official admission to the University

Who is exempt from TOEFL and/ or ELSPE requirement?  

International applicants who hold a bachelors or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the spoken language and the primary language of instruction or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution are exempted from both the TOEFL requirement and the ESLPE.

What is a common application error most applicants make?  

Not providing undegraduate/graduate program major and GPA is a common error.  This information is inputted in the "Additional Academic Information" section of the online application after the "Academic History & Transcript" section. 

What is necessary to qualify as a California Resident?

U.S citizens or permanent residents can usually become a California resident after living in the state for one year. If you are admitted to the graduate program, you should contact the Registrar’s Office, Residence Classifications (1113 Murphy Hall) upon arrival at UCLA for complete details on establishing California Residency for tuition purposes.

What type of financial support may I expect if I am admitted?  

All students making timely progress toward their degree receive financial support that includes a competitive stipend, full tuition, non-resident supplement tuition (if applicable), health insurance, and various student services fees that cover gym facilities and academic support services.  The support funding can come from a variety of sources including UCLA Graduate Division, Graduate Program in Biosciences, School of Medicine, College of Letters & Science, laboratory mentors, training grants, teaching assistantships, research grants, private gifts and individual fellowships.  We encourage all eligible students to apply for extramural fellowships, i.e. NSF GRFP, NIH, etc.