Prospective Students


Who should apply?

We encourage applications from students with a strong undergraduate background in biology, math, computer science, engineering, psychology, physics or related sciences. We are committed to admitting diverse groups of young scientists who have excelled in science course work and laboratory research, and we teach them to be accomplished scientists and life-long learners. Each year, we receive ~200 applications and offer admission to 15-20 applicants.

What undergraduate programs do Duke Neurobiology students come from?

Neurobiology is a diverse field poised at the intersection of Biology, Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science. As such, Duke Neurobiology actively recruits outstanding students with expertise in any and all of these disciplines. By cultivating a student body that bridges these STEM fields, Duke has established a training program that is ideally suited to prepare students for a career at the forefront of modern brain science.

What are typical requirements for applicants?

Duke Neurobiology admits students who have exhibited a track record of excellence. Successful applicants have demonstrated intellectual creativity and high achievement in academics and research.  Duke welcomes both domestic and international applicants, and international students should demonstrate a high proficiency on the TOEFL exam in addition to the above criteria.

How does Duke Neurobiology evaluate prospective students?

Admission to Duke Neurobiology is not contingent on specific metrics, and we employ a holistic approach to reviewing applications that accounts for all possible strengths in our prospective students.  As such, we evaluate personal statements, research goals, reference letters, and overall CV in equal regard with standard metrics such as GPA and GRE scores. Applicants are strongly encouraged to provide a compelling statement that articulates how Duke Neurobiology fits their specific training goals as part of their personal essay.  Diversity and inclusion are guiding principles at Duke, and Duke Neurobiology is committed to recruiting a student body that reflects these principles.

How Duke Neurobiology views GRE scores

Duke is not a 'one-size-fits-all' program.  We recognize that modern Neurobiology is a diverse field, with areas of focus that range from molecular to computational.  We thus view the GRE as a piece of information to calibrate against the specific research goals of each applicant individually.  As a result, there is no GRE threshold for admission, and acceptance is never precluded or guaranteed based on test scores.  

Test scores of applicants admitted to Duke Neurobiology

Financial Support

As the cost of the GRE test may be financially prohibitive, Neurobiology offers a limited number of $100 supplements to applicants who can explain their financial need. For more info, please email Dr. Stephen Lisberger.

In addition, the Duke Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee waivers. Please contact Dr. Alan Kendrick by to November 15 to request a fee waiver.

How to Apply?

Applicants should submit an electronic application through the Graduate School. Indicate on the application that you are applying to “The Graduate Program in Neurobiology.”

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Greg D. Field, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology

Court Hull, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology


Duke students who are currently enrolled in related admitting-only graduate programs may affiliate with Duke Neurobiology, in order to take the Neurobiology courses and work with Neurobiology training faculty. The most common programs are Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMB)Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program (CNAP), and Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

In order to initiate the affiliation process, fill out a Department Affiliation Form and a Statement of Financial Support, and send it to LaDonna Huseman (DGSA). Students who are undecided about affiliating with Neurobiology may contact Jörg Grandl (DGS) to discuss the process.