Neuroscience PhD Program Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose the UTSA Neuroscience PhD program?
Students attending UTSA’s Neuroscience PhD program will join an interactive community of scientists working to uncover the mysteries of brain function. The faculty is accessible and the student experience is enriched by UTSA’s Neurosciences Institute and Brain Health Consortium. The program is dynamic and growing, with over 1/4 of program faculty hired within the last 4 years.
What have previous students done after graduation?
Graduates of the Neuroscience PhD program have moved on to a variety of prestigious positions. Recent graduates are pursuing postdoctoral research at Harvard, NYU, Brown, Goethe University in Frankfurt, Northwestern, and the Max Planck Institute in Florida. Other graduates have taken up faculty positions at teaching institutions.
Do Neuroscience PhD students receive financial support during their tenure in the program?
Yes. Neuroscience PhD students receive an annual stipend (currently $28,000) paid in monthly allotments.
Is tuition paid by the program?
Yes. Tuition and fees are paid by the program and do not need to be paid by the student.
Is health insurance paid by the program?
Yes. Neuroscience PhD students are reimbursed (in addition to their stipend) for the cost of health insurance.
Will I have the opportunity to attend relevant national or international conferences?
Yes. Neuroscience PhD students are strongly encouraged to attend and present their research at at least one national or international scientific conference each year. Multiple sources of support for student travel and meeting expenses are available from the student’s PI, the Biology Department, the College of Sciences, and the university.
How long will it take for me to complete the program?
The Neuroscience PhD program is designed to be completed in 5 years. In rare cases, students complete the program in 4 years or take more than 6 years to complete their dissertation.
Will I be required to teach or TA?
Neuroscience PhD students must complete a core course in teaching techniques which includes an exemplary teaching experience (e.g. one lecture). There is no other mandatory teaching requirement. In exceptional cases, PIs experience gaps in research funding and students serve as TAs to offset departmental support. Students may also arrange to TA to gain additional teaching experience.
How will I select a lab for my dissertation research?
Neuroscience PhD students progress through three 10-week lab rotations during their first year in the program and select a PI following those rotations. The PI must have resources to support the student’s stipend, tuition, health insurance, and dissertation research project. The Graduate Advisor of Record for the Neuroscience PhD program will assist first-year students in selecting a dissertation PI.
Do I need to communicate with a specific professor before I apply?
No. Selection of a lab for dissertation research is made at the end of the first year following competion of three 10-week lab rotations. But students should feel free to contact faculty to inquire about research opportunities. It is helpful if applicants use their personal statement to identify which faculty they might particularly like to work with and why.
How do I apply for admission?
Applications are submitted online to the UTSA Graduate School at https://graduateschool.utsa.edu/admissions/graduate-application/. An admission requirement checklist can be found here.
What is the application deadline?
New students are admitted once per year, with applications received by December 1st reviewed for admission in the fall of the following calendar year.
Can I join the program part-time or while holding another position?
No. Student participation in the Neuroscience PhD program is considered a full-time activity. Students are expected to devote 100% effort to the program. To to ensure efficient progress through the program, students cannot continue working elsewhere.