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Neuroscience PhD Profile Evaluation


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Hello, I am interested in Neuroscience programs, particularly computational (I am also considering applied math PhD to study the same topics). Please let me know what schools would be in a reasonable range for me! I have no idea where I could get in as my undergrad started off very poorly due to a number of personal reasons, but I have been turning things around.


Type of Student: White Male


Undergrad Institution: Top 3 UC. Post-bacc at combination of top-100/20.
Major: Economics
GPA: 3.4 Overall, 3.60 in Economics, 3.85 last 100 credits (senior year and post-bacc)

Key Courses:

1st-- Calc 1 (B-), Calc 2 (B), Calc 3 (C), PChem1/2 (C+/B), Cells&Tissues (C-)
2nd-- Calc 4 (C-), OChem1 (C)
3rd-- OChem2 (B)
4th+-- Linear Algebra (B+), Differential Equations (A-), Stem Cell Biology (A-), Cell&Molecular Bio (A), Genes&Evo&Ecology (A)

Post-bacc: Real Analysis (A),  Graduate Topology 1 (A), Graduate Real Analysis 1/2/3 (A/A/A), Extremal Combinatorics and Graph Theory (A), Differential Geometry 1/2 (A/A), Numerical Analysis 1/2/3 (A/A/A)

Programming: Used Python professionally and in neuro research + numerous Coursera certifications, R, Stata, Excel.

GRE Q/V/W: 168/164/4.5

Programs Applying: Neuro/Computational Neuro/Decision Science (any recommendations here are welcome, I am most interested in the quantitative side although I do appreciate the brain in its entirety!)


Research Experience: over 1 yr neuro research (EEG data analysis) at excellent lab with solid writing sample to show for it, extensive programming, data analysis and literature reviews. About 1 year with psychology professor at high-ranking program with 2 coauthors on behavioral psychology papers, also assisted with 7-figure grant submissions.


Work Experience: Close to 1 year work experience as Analyst where I did ARMA forecasting, market research and data automation for a startup. 


Letters of Recommendation: One rec from Graduate Real Analysis 1/2, one rec from business school professor, one rec from head of neuroscience lab (absolutely stellar recommendation).


Research interests: Computational neuroscience, networks and complex dynamics; conscious access, graphical representations of neurons.


School List:

plz help!

I am still working on finishing up the post-bacc, so some grades above are hypothetical, although things are looking good so far. I plan on applying to programs next year.

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You're not going to get many responses this time of year as people are in the thick of application/interview season. 

You might do okay with applying but that GPA is low for most neuroscience programs and your research is too. Typically, students admitted to my program (top-25 neuro) have GPA's averaging about a 3.6 with about 3 years of neuroscience research. The business school recommendation won't do you any favors: LoR's should come from professors who advised you in relevant classes or in a research advisor capacity. You certainly did well in advanced math courses so that might erase some earlier stumbles and your GRE shows you clearly are intelligent. If your LoR is as good as you say, you could get a few interviews (LoR is the most important especially if research experience/GPA are weak) but I'd say keep looking at research assistant positions as well to up your research experience. If I had to place you, I'd say you about match the profiles of students getting into the top-50 of schools but your focus on psych, less training in neuro proper (no specifically neuroscience courses), and lower GPA might keep you out of, say, the top-25. Not unreasonable to see you getting interviews there too though.

I think you should start researching schools now and applying to any/all but definitely consider getting more research experience in neuroscience proper (*not* psych).

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