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. For the 2022-2023 admission cycle, virtual interviews will be conducted between January and February.  Admission offers will be made by late February and admitted candidates will be invited to an on campus visit event in March. 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?   

For the 2023-2024 admission cycle, the program will host two virtual interview events. Competitive applicants will be invited for interviews via email notification. There is no difference in the interview events. You will be invited to one of these events based on scheduling availability. Admission offers will be sent directly after these virtual interviews. Once admission offers have been sent, admitted candidates will be invited to an on campus visit event in March.

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 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 “Pathway and Motivation for Graduate School” statement?

This is an optional statement that can be used to expand content from your Personal History Statement.  Do not upload a duplicate of your Personal History statement in this section.  You can provide additional information related to the experiences and challenges you have encountered in your pathway to graduate school.  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.

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.

My application submission confirmation is based on Eastern Time, do I still meet the deadline?  

Yes, the deadline is December 1, 11:59PM  PT or 2:59am ET.  

What is considered a late application? 

The NSIDP has a strict deadline of December 1st (11:59PM PT or 2:59AM ET). Anything submitted after that deadline is considered late and not guranteed to be reviewed. Please contact our program ( if you experience technical issues. 

Can I submit the application before my letter writers have submitted their recommendation?  

Yes!  Be sure to submit your application by the deadline.  Letters of recommendation should be submitted by December 1st to ensure timely review of your application.  

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 happens if my recommender submits their letter after the December 1 deadline? 

Applications received without three letters of recommendation will be held from review until all letters have been submitted.  Please remind your recommenders to submit their letter by the December 1st deadline to ensure there is no delay in the review of your application.  Once all letters are received, applications will be reviewed in a timely manner.  

What format should I send my transcripts? 

All applicants are required to upload scanned or digitized 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 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 ESLPE requirement?  

Applicants who hold a bachelors or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both 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.  Citizenship, U.S. residence, and/or work experience are not substitutes for meeting this requirement.  Additional guidelines on English Requirements are available here.

I am a prospective student from Puerto Rico, do I need to submit TOEFL scores? 

Yes. All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language profieciency. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but the TOEFL/IELTS is required for admission. 

What are common application errors applicants make?  

Not providing undergraduate/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.  List Academic History information in reverse chronological order (most recent first) i.e. Master's, Bachelor's, Associate's.  

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.