Program Director: Martha Gillette
Program Coordinator: Samuel Beshers
2325 Beckman Institute
405 North Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-4971

Major: Neuroscience
Degrees Offered: Ph.D.

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Neuroscience and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Graduate Degree Program

The Neuroscience Program is an interdisciplinary and highly individualized Ph.D. program. Students have varied backgrounds but typically have undergraduate degrees in psychology, biology, electrical engineering, or computer science. The Neuroscience Program guides students to become productive, scholarly neuroscientists with access to careers in academic research, medicine, industry or non-research careers such as law, policy, or journalism. The faculty have broad and diverse research interests; areas of particular strength include aging, brain plasticity, cognitive functions, neurogenomics, molecular bases of development and disease, and neuroengineering. Integrative and collaborative studies that bridge two or more labs are encouraged.  There is a joint M.D./Ph.D. program offered from the Neuroscience Program and the University of Illinois College of Medicine (Urbana-Champaign campus) known as the Medical Scholars Program. 


Applications are considered individually by the admissions committee, usually for the fall semester. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. International applicants must meet the minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement set by the Graduate College. Admission and financial aid are considered together.

Medical Scholars Program

This program is no longer accepting new students.  The University is launching the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine.  We look forward to announcing the renewal of the MD/PhD program when it becomes available.

The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including Neuroscience. Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both the doctoral graduate program and the College of Medicine.  Students in the dual degree program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees.  Further information on this program is available by contacting the Medical Scholars Program, 125 Medical Sciences Building, (217) 333-8146 or at

Financial Aid

The Neuroscience is committed to supporting its students and makes every effort to ensure that students who remain in good academic standing receive full support including tuition waiver and stipend throughout their tenure in the program. Support may come in the form of fellowships, traineeships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships according to the student's qualifications.

Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience

Because of the breadth of the fields in this program, the coursework is tailored to the student's fields of interest as declared by a major and at least two minor areas of concentration from among those listed above. A faculty committee of representatives from the major and minor areas will then meet regularly with the student to plan coursework and research experience. The goal of this plan is to allow maximum flexibility while providing students with close guidance. Courses and laboratory research experience are supplemented by weekly seminars in neuroscience.

NEUR 520Adv Topics in Neuroscience (Section 1, Seminar - each of first 4 semesters)4
NEUR 500Topics in Neuroscience2
NEUR 520Adv Topics in Neuroscience (Section 2, Professional Development Program.)1
NEUR 599Thesis Research (0 min applied toward degree)0
Total Hours96

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
ll students must complete a minimum of one semester of service as a teaching assistant (one semester @50% or 2 semesters @25% appointment) or the requirement may be met by education outreach activity under the supervision of a Neuroscience Program faculty member.
Masters Degree Required Before Admission to Ph.D.? No
Qualifying Exam Required: Yes
Preliminary Exam Required: Yes
Final Exam/Defense Required: Yes
Disseration Deposit Required: Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0