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2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin

Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience

College of Arts and Sciences

Web Page:

Director: Dr. Frank Johnson

The program in neuroscience is an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research and graduate training program which offers training leading to the PhD degree in neuroscience. Program faculty members are based in four departments: biological science, biomedical sciences, mathematics, and psychology. There is no master’s degree in neuroscience, but MS degrees with a concentration in neuroscience are available through the participating departments, for work completed with neuroscience program faculty. The program was established to promote basic research and to provide graduate education in neuroscience, via a close mentoring relationship between students and faculty. Students entering the program choose a faculty advisor and enroll in that advisor’s department. Students are able to begin hands-on research immediately while discovering modern neuroscience through courses covering a broad range of approaches, from molecular to behavioral. The requirements for the neuroscience degree are uniform across departments so changing advisor and department later is possible, for example to begin specialized PhD dissertation research. Interdisciplinary research training is available involving molecular, cellular, physiological, and behavioral approaches to the study of a broad array of research areas, including sensory systems, neural plasticity, neural development, ingestion and metabolism, neuroendocrinology and biological rhythms, and neurobiology of disease. Fellowships and positions on NIH-funded training grants are available on a competitive basis to students in the program. The program maintains specialized research support services and personnel, and provides special courses and symposia on contemporary neuroscience issues. Each semester the program brings prominent neuroscientists to Florida State University to give colloquia and hold informal discussions with graduate students and faculty. Details on faculty/student research and program events may be found on the neuroscience program Web site at

Admission Requirements

The admission process begins at the neuroscience program Web site at where there are links to the online admissions system of the Florida State University Office of Admissions. All application materials and supporting documentation should be uploaded into FSU Online Application system at the time of application. Applications must be complete with all supporting documents by December 1st, for the following Fall admission. Applicants must meet minimum criteria, including a 3.0 undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) for the last two years, and successful applicants normally score above the 70th percentile on all sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and have relevant research experience. Required supporting documents include three recent letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to assess the applicant’s academic and research potential as well as official transcripts. In addition to the above, international students also must meet University standards on the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL). The GRE subject test is not required. Applicants select three neuroscience faculty members as their possible initial advisor, and ideally should contact these faculty members before applying. To ensure consideration by all potential faculty advisors, students who wish to begin PhD training immediately and those who wish ultimately to obtain the PhD in neuroscience should apply directly to the neuroscience program. Those interested only in MS-level training in neuroscience should check with the department of interest. Not all the participating departments nor all neuroscience faculty accept students interested only in MS-level training. Additional information is available on the program Web site or by request to the program office.

Degree Requirements

The direction and supervision of doctoral work resides primarily with the major professor and supervisory committee. An introductory core curriculum and a variety of specialized courses may be selected to fulfill classroom requirements. Program curriculum is continually updated. Please refer to the graduate student handbook posted at for the most current requirements. Florida State University requires that the degree be completed within five calendar years from the time the student gains admittance to candidacy by passing the preliminary exam.

Overall requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in neuroscience are:

  1. Successful completion of the doctoral preliminary exam
  2. After admission to doctoral candidacy, a minimum of twenty-four semester hours of dissertation credit
  3. At least two semesters of teaching experience
  4. At least two seminar presentations in addition to the dissertation defense. Students are encouraged to present their work at national, regional or international meetings.
  5. Submission and approval of a doctoral proposal
  6. Completion of original research work in neuroscience
  7. Submission and successful defense of an acceptable dissertation

For additional information, see or the neuroscience listings in the Biology, Psychology, and Biomedical Sciences in this Graduate Bulletin.