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Admissions Requirements

The Neuroscience and Behavior Program seeks applicants with a record of academic excellence, who can present evidence of strong scientific background and training at the undergraduate level. All graduate admissions are handled according to Graduate School guidelines and procedures.

To be considered for admission to the program, applicants should demonstrate substantial undergraduate training in the biological and physical sciences. Successful applicants normally have their undergraduate degree in a biological/life science discipline or in experimental psychology. Students with degrees in other fields (physical sciences, mathematics, engineering) and a strong interest in the foundations of neuroscience and behavior are also encouraged to apply and will be considered for admission. Undergraduate coursework of all applicants should include several semesters of biological science, organic chemistry and/or biochemistry, two semesters of mathematics (through calculus), one semester of statistics and at least two courses in neurobiology or physiological psychology. Outstanding applicants with some deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation may also be considered for admission. Individuals with a Master's degree in a life science discipline from another institution, as well as University of Massachusetts graduate students currently enrolled in participating departments, are eligible for admission to the program.

An initial evaluation of each applicant's record and credentials is the responsibility of an Admissions Committee composed of Neuroscience and Behavior core faculty members. Recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School for acceptance originate from the Director in close consultation with the Admissions Committee and Neuroscience and Behavior Steering Committee.

Admissions criteria include a B average or above in undergraduate and/or graduate-level coursework, and at least two strong letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to assess the applicant's potential for a career in research and teaching in the field of Neuroscience and Behavior. Demonstrated potential for independent research is a particularly important criterion for admission to the program. Applicants are required to take the general aptitude tests of the Graduate Record Examination. It is recommended, though not required, that applicants also take an advanced test in one area of their special scientific expertise or background. Although high scores on the Graduate Record Examination are desirable, the NSB Program recognizes that standarized exams represent only one method of assessing a student's potential for graduate study. Students accepted into the NSB Program are normally supported through their fourth year in residence. Support is provided through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and University fellowships.