Doctor of Philosophy in Cognition and Neuroscience


The PhD program in cognition and neuroscience offers advanced study and research training for students seeking to become leading scientists and scholars in the field. Research in cognition and neuroscience encompasses all aspects of cognition, including studies of perception, memory, reasoning, decision-making, neuroplasticity and neuro-engineering.

The cognition and neuroscience PhD program offers a distinctive blend of research initiatives and doctoral study in the neural processes underlying sensation, perception, memory, learning, language and executive function throughout the lifespan. Students may focus on perception and memory for complex information patterns such as faces, speech, language, music, and text, or reasoning and decision-making processes in conditions such as brain damage and addiction. Another area of strength is cellular and molecular neuroplasticity — in typical learning and memory as well as in chronic pain and other atypical conditions. The program also has strengths in artificial neural networks and neuro-engineering.

The PhD program in cognition and neuroscience offers exceptional research facilities, including state-of-the art laboratories for investigating neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, neurochemical, and neuropsychological processes, as well as for conducting advanced mathematical analyses and modeling. In addition, the school’s centers, such as the Center for BrainHealth and the Center for Vital Longevity, house outstanding research facilities for the study of cognitive neuroscience, including cutting-edge brain imaging technologies for identifying the neural signatures of learning, aging, and disease. Collaborative arrangements with the UT Southwestern Medical Center expand student research opportunities through additional access to clinical populations and neuroimaging facilities.

PhD students selected for the program are fully funded through either a teaching assistantship (TA) or a research assistantship (RA). The minimum funding amount is $2,000 per month, guaranteed for nine months. Additionally, all PhD students receive a tuition waiver from the university.

Career Options

Graduates of the program seek positions such as: neuroscientist in academic, private practice, industry or medical settings; researcher or professor.

Application Requirements

Degree requirements: Admission to a doctoral program is based on a review of the applicant's transcripts, GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation, and narrative description of research interests and career goals. In addition to academic requirements, the admissions committee weighs heavily the match between the applicant's research interests and the research areas available to students in the school. For information about faculty research interests, see our web pages at

GPA: Required

Test score required: Yes

GRE scores required

Letters of recommendation: 3

Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from individuals who can judge the candidate’s probability of success in graduate school. Use the electronic request form in the graduate application to submit the letters. Contact the graduate academic program department if you have any questions.

Admissions essay required: Yes

Deadlines: Applications for admission are due December 1. Students are accepted for the Fall semester only.