Application Information

Admission update, 1/2024: In the spirit of transparency, we would like to inform applicants that invitations to interview for our graduate program were sent out in mid-December. Other applicants are no longer being considered for admission.

Application Deadline: November 20, 2023

All applications for graduate study are processed through the Graduate Admissions Office, which provides an online application. Our school code for TOEFL is 2672. No department code is required.

Requests for application fee waivers will be considered for U.S. citizens or permanent residents on the basis of significant financial hardship, or if you have participated or are currently participating in one of the several eligible programs (see Fee Waivers). Proof of program participation will need to be uploaded along with your application. The fee waiver option is accessible through the payment section of the admission application. If you choose that option, the fee waiver application will become part of your admission application and must be submitted by the application deadline. Applicants will be notified of a fee waiver decision within one week after the applications are submitted. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

PNI Graduate (Ph.D.) Program Application Tips

The application for the Neuroscience PhD program includes:

  • A statement of purpose
  • Transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Three letters of reference
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Essay
  • Optional:vGRE scores are not required, but we do accept them if students choose to submit them.

While PNI reviews graduate applications holistically, most referees place the greatest emphasis on the statement of purpose and the letters of reference, and are particularly interested in letters of reference from previous research mentors. The statement of purpose is an opportunity to convey scientific and career goals directly to the admissions committee. A good statement will include a brief overview of your motivation to pursue graduate training in neuroscience, a history of research experiences up to this point, along with future interests and ambitions. When discussing previous research experiences, focus on the big picture questions the research addressed followed by specifics of your role in the project, in addition to any outcomes/impact to the field. A successful statement also outlines why PNI is the best place for you to conduct your graduate training.

Applicants should identify 2-3 faculty members at PNI who might be a good fit for their research interests. Please note the faculty you are interested in both the research statement and in the application form. Be thoughtful when selecting faculty, as these are helpful in indicating your research interests. Additionally, visit the faculty websites you’re interested in potentially working with to confirm they’re taking students. You may also email them directly to confirm.

PNI welcomes graduate applications from students of all disciplines. Our current graduate students completed undergraduate degrees in fields including but not limited to neuroscience, psychology, biology, engineering, and computer science. The program itself is designed to support students from many disciplines in an effort to create an intellectually diverse neuroscience workforce. In addition, while we welcome international applicants, please note that due to funding constraints we are only able to admit a small number of international students.

Additional advice/tips on completing your PNI application

Princeton Neuroscience PhD Program Application Support

EPSP (Empowering Diversity and Supporting Scientific Equity at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI)) and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute would like to help you with your PhD application to the Neuroscience program at Princeton University. We are delighted to match you with a Princeton Neuroscience Institute graduate student who would be happy to help review your application material! Amongst the resources we hope to offer are 1-on-1 mentorship and a comprehensive view of the program and its resources. EPSP aspires to build and support an inclusive, accessible, and diverse community for underrepresented groups and their allies at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. EPSP aims to empower, support and welcome scientists and research staff from all underrepresented backgrounds such as first-generation or low-income students, and students who identify as belonging to a racial and/or ethnic underrepresented group, individuals who are neurodiverse, medically disabled, and/or LGBTQIA+. 

Our application support group is a student-run initiative led by the EPSP. The intention of this initiative is to provide support to prospective applicants. All personal information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with Princeton University faculty and administration. Participation in this program will not guarantee admission to the PNI program.

The creation of this program was inspired by similar efforts offered by MIT's BCS program and NYU’s Neuroscience program Application Support Group.

We will be accepting submissions beginning September 29, 2023.

Financial Support

All admitted students receive full financial support for the duration of their Ph.D., including tuition, a competitive stipend, and health benefits. This support is made possible through a combination of funds from Princeton University, federal grants to PNI, generous private donations, teaching assignments, and grants to faculty members. For complete details, refer to the Graduate School at Princeton University.


A completed application is required, including:

  1. Unofficial transcripts of your grades
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Official TOEFL exam scores from ETS are required if you do not meet the requirements listed.
  4. Statement of Purpose
  5. Personal Essay
  6. Resume/CV

*Please note that GRE scores are not required; however, applicants may submit them if they so choose.*

Princeton University Graduate School

Clio Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258-3030
Fax: (609) 258-7262
[email protected]
Regular Office Hours: 8:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Summer Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.