Princeton Neuroscience Institute Ph.D. Program

Professor Jon Cohen working with student

How do millions of individual neurons work together to give rise to behavior at the level of a whole organism? How do our brains work?

Training researchers to answer these fundamental, unanswered questions is the goal of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute graduate program.

Students in this program learn to use the latest techniques and approaches in neuroscience and are trained how to think and how to develop new techniques and approaches. Creativity and originality in research are essential to cracking the puzzle of the brain.

Ph.D. Neuroscience students take lecture and laboratory courses; learn to read, understand, and present current scientific literature; develop and carry out substantial original research, and present their research at meetings and conferences.

First-hand experience is an essential part of gaining real understanding

During the first year, all students participate in a unique year-long Core Course that surveys current neuroscience.

The subjects covered in lectures are accompanied by direct experience in the lab. Students learn through first-hand experience how to run their own fMRI experiments; to design and run their own computer simulations of neural networks; to image neural activity at cellular resolution in behaving animals; and to patch-clamp single cells, to name a few examples. This core course offers students a unique opportunity to learn the practical knowledge essential for successfully developing new experiments and techniques.
Incoming students are encouraged to rotate through up to three different labs to choose the lab that best matches their interests. During this process, students may discover an area of research completely new and fascinating to them. Following their rotations and by mutual agreement with their prospective faculty adviser, students choose a lab in which they will carry out their Ph.D. research.

Student Research

The main pillar of a student's Ph.D. is their original, in-depth research with one of our world-class faculty. Some examples of recent work led by students include:

Applications will be accepted in September for the incoming Class of 2018 with a deadline of November 27, 2017. Note that this application deadline is earlier than in past years. See the University Graduate School webpage for detailed information.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at Princeton University offers a range of services to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to Princeton's academic and extracurricular opportunities. The Disability Services staff is available to meet with prospective students who are visiting the campus and current students who have a disability or suspect they may have a disability. For more information, see the ODS website.