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How to Apply

Applications must be submitted to the University of Massachusetts Graduate School along with the application fee. The on-line application is through the SPIRE system.

GRE & TOEFL scores are to be sent to the UMass Graduate Admissions Office using institutional code #3917.
Mailing address:

Graduate Admissions Office
Room 530 Goodell Building
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9333.

The application fee rates are:

  • $75.00 Massachusetts residents
  • $75.00 Other U.S. citizens and permanent residents
  • $75.00 International applicants

No applications are processed by the Graduate School until the application fee has been paid.

Fall admission

The application deadline is December 15 of each calendar year for admission in September of the following year. As the NSB Admissions Committee begins its review of applications early in December, it is essential that applications be submitted to the Graduate School Admissions Office by this deadline. Spring admissions are not considered under normal circumstances.

Accuracy and completeness are extremely important in providing all of the information requested in the application forms.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required by the Graduate School and official scores and letters of recommendation are required before the application can be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. The average combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores of applicants entering the NSB program in the past 5 years are in the range of 1150-1200.

A minimum of two reference letters are required; additional letters also may be provided at the discretion of the applicant. Official transcripts of course work taken at other institutions also are required. Most successful applicants to the NSB Program have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or better. Completion of a bachelor's degree is required for admission to graduate study.

The Personal Statement is one of the most important and informative aspects of the application. This statement is read carefully by the Admissions Committee and by other faculty members who are interested in recruiting a student in any given year. In particular, the review committee needs to know about the life-sciences background of each applicant, why s/he wishes to pursue graduate study in neuroscience and behavior, and why the NSB Program has been selected by the applicant. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the current research interests of NSB faculty (provided on this website). If appropriate, the applicant should indicate which areas of research and faculty laboratories are of greatest interest. If one has not yet decided on a specific area of research interest, this should also be made clear in the Personal Statement. In the latter case, the student may wish to take advantage of the option of rotating between two different laboratories during his/her first year of study. Any relevant information about prior research experience should be provided, as this is a significant factor in the selection of applicants for the on-campus interview process, which is the next stage in the review process.

Applicants whose credentials and preparation for graduate study are competitive will be contacted directly by the Admissions Committee to obtain more information. Promising candidates will be invited to visit the campus for our annual "recruiting weekend". This event provides an important opportunity for applicants, NSB faculty, and current graduate students to interact, and it is an essential part of the final applicant review process. Shortly after visiting the campus, applicants are notified about their status in the applicant pool.

Foreign applicants who have strong credentials must also be interviewed, by telephone and/or in person by an appropriate, designated representative of the NSB Program.

Student Funding

All students admitted to the NSB Program are supported for 12 months at a nationally competitive stipend level for a minimum of 4 years, assuming satisfactory progress in their graduate training. Tuition waiver and health insurance are also included in the student support package. There are several mechanisms by which NSB graduate students are funded: research grant-funded assistantships (RAs) with a specific faculty advisor, traineeships through NIH-funded Training Grants currently held by the NSB Program overall and by the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, teaching assistantships (TAs) to assist in undergraduate biology or psychology courses, competitively funded NIH predoctoral NRSA fellowships, and Graduate School Fellowships. Incoming students supported on a teaching assistantship or traineeship are expected to select a "laboratory rotation" option which provides the opportunity to work with faculty in more than one laboratory during the first year, prior to choosing a specific research advisor.

Only highly qualified applicants will be admitted to the NSB Program. Final Graduate School decision on applications is made soon after April 1; financial aid decisions are made by this time.