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Neuroscience Application Thread 2010-2011


neuropsych76

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Yep.... I'm applying.

Where are you looking?

Yay :)

Well a few schools are UPenn, MIT, and CMU. But I'm taking the GRE in a week so depending on how score might change where I apply to. I'm not feeling too confident about that test :/

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Yay :)

Well a few schools are UPenn, MIT, and CMU. But I'm taking the GRE in a week so depending on how score might change where I apply to. I'm not feeling too confident about that test :/

Yeah, I really didn't like that test. The funny thing is, I took it a couple of years ago and immediately swore that I'd never take it again. Now a few years later I find myself saying "well, if I studied just a little more, may be I could get an extra X points...."

Just drill, drill, drill. Then, relax and just do your best.

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Yay :)

Well a few schools are UPenn, MIT, and CMU. But I'm taking the GRE in a week so depending on how score might change where I apply to. I'm not feeling too confident about that test :/

What are you looking to study specifically? Any particular areas of interest?

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On 10/5/2010 at 6:28 PM, NewEmpiric said:

Yeah, I really didn't like that test. The funny thing is, I took it a couple of years ago and immediately swore that I'd never take it again. Now a few years later I find myself saying "well, if I studied just a little more, may be I could get an extra X points...."

Just drill, drill, drill. Then, relax and just do your best.

I just took it today, after lots of stress and drilling vocab/math I got a 580 on the verbal and 520 on the math. 1100 total. ? Do you think this will be good enough for cogneuro programs?

I'm applying to MSU, South Carolina, Iowa, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and WashU as of now. I'm interested in imaging of higher order cognition..

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On 10/13/2010 at 5:17 PM, neuropsych76 said:

I just took it today, after lots of stress and drilling vocab/math I got a 580 on the verbal and 520 on the math. 1100 total. ? Do you think this will be good enough for cogneuro programs?

I'm applying to MSU, South Carolina, Iowa, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and WashU as of now. I'm interested in imaging of higher order cognition..

I think that score would be on the low side for places like MIT, Johns Hopkins, and WashU. However, if a low GRE is the only non-excellent part of your application, I wouldn't restrict where you apply. That is a very minor part of your application profile, even though when you're applying it seems so important.

You'll probably want to get more specific with your research interests, though (unless you're just being vague here and not in your applications). Does higher order cognition mean memory, attention, decision making, purposeful movements? You at least want to be able to say "I'm interested in memory," even if you can't say what exactly you want to do for your thesis.

More generally for this thread, don't be afraid to apply to straight-up neuroscience programs even if you're coming from a psychology background. That was one of the best things I did, and I ended up in a fantastic neuroscience program that I originally wouldn't have thought to apply to since it wasn't associated with a psychology department. If there is a lab that you would love to join that is affiliated with neurobiology or neuroscience rather than psychology, don't be afraid to apply just because of the name of the department.

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On 10/13/2010 at 6:12 PM, cogneuroforfun said:

I think that score would be on the low side for places like MIT, Johns Hopkins, and WashU. However, if a low GRE is the only non-excellent part of your application, I wouldn't restrict where you apply. That is a very minor part of your application profile, even though when you're applying it seems so important.

You'll probably want to get more specific with your research interests, though (unless you're just being vague here and not in your applications). Does higher order cognition mean memory, attention, decision making, purposeful movements? You at least want to be able to say "I'm interested in memory," even if you can't say what exactly you want to do for your thesis.

More generally for this thread, don't be afraid to apply to straight-up neuroscience programs even if you're coming from a psychology background. That was one of the best things I did, and I ended up in a fantastic neuroscience program that I originally wouldn't have thought to apply to since it wasn't associated with a psychology department. If there is a lab that you would love to join that is affiliated with neurobiology or neuroscience rather than psychology, don't be afraid to apply just because of the name of the department.

Thank you for the reply. I hope the rest of my application will make up for it. I have a good amount of research experience and should get good LOR's. I have a 3.67 GPA and a host of extracurricular activities also so the GRE is definitely the weakest part of my application. I do have a more refined research interest but I'm slightly brain dead so I didn't feel like going in much detail. I talked to the POI's and they all said my research interests would be a good fit in their lab for whats that worth.

I know at MIT and WashU many applications will have GRE scores in the 1500's. This makes me feel like I shouldn't bother applying. Is it possible to get in good cogneuro PhD programs with an 1100?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm applying to cognitive neuroscience programs as well. I'm mainly interested in the neuroscience of decision making, memory, attention and consciousness. I would like to use imaging technologies like fMRI.

I'm applying to UT Austin, UT Dallas, UC Santa Barbara, WUSTL, Michigan, and Duke. These are all departments of psychology except UT Dallas, which has a "School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences" with a "Cognition and Neuroscience PhD."

I have no idea what to expect with the admissions process. I've been optimistic just to get myself through the application process, but I know I will be competing with people who are more qualified than me. My GRE score is 550 verbal, 680 quantitative (1230 total). My GPA is 3.0 overall, 4.0 over the past two years, 4.0 in psychology (I'm a case of the bad freshman year). I have one year of research experience in a memory lab. I have teaching experience through the SI program at my school. I think I have a good SOP and am a good fit for the programs to which I have applied. I honestly don't know how good my letters of recommendation will be. They're all from psychology professors, but they have all known me for less than a year.

I decided to follow through with this, but I'm prepared to apply for Master's programs next semester.

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On 11/7/2010 at 1:52 AM, Arcadian said:

I'm applying to cognitive neuroscience programs as well. I'm mainly interested in the neuroscience of decision making, memory, attention and consciousness. I would like to use imaging technologies like fMRI.

I'm applying to UT Austin, UT Dallas, UC Santa Barbara, WUSTL, Michigan, and Duke. These are all departments of psychology except UT Dallas, which has a "School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences" with a "Cognition and Neuroscience PhD."

I have no idea what to expect with the admissions process. I've been optimistic just to get myself through the application process, but I know I will be competing with people who are more qualified than me. My GRE score is 550 verbal, 680 quantitative (1230 total). My GPA is 3.0 overall, 4.0 over the past two years, 4.0 in psychology (I'm a case of the bad freshman year). I have one year of research experience in a memory lab. I have teaching experience through the SI program at my school. I think I have a good SOP and am a good fit for the programs to which I have applied. I honestly don't know how good my letters of recommendation will be. They're all from psychology professors, but they have all known me for less than a year.

I decided to follow through with this, but I'm prepared to apply for Master's programs next semester.

I think you have a pretty good shot and you'll at least be considered. Michigan and Duke are hard to get into but I think your stats are good enough to make "fit" matter.

I know some top masters programs have deadlines in December so you might want to look at those as well.

Good luck!!

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On 11/7/2010 at 1:52 AM, Arcadian said:

I'm applying to cognitive neuroscience programs as well. I'm mainly interested in the neuroscience of decision making, memory, attention and consciousness. I would like to use imaging technologies like fMRI.

I'm applying to UT Austin, UT Dallas, UC Santa Barbara, WUSTL, Michigan, and Duke. These are all departments of psychology except UT Dallas, which has a "School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences" with a "Cognition and Neuroscience PhD."

I have no idea what to expect with the admissions process. I've been optimistic just to get myself through the application process, but I know I will be competing with people who are more qualified than me. My GRE score is 550 verbal, 680 quantitative (1230 total). My GPA is 3.0 overall, 4.0 over the past two years, 4.0 in psychology (I'm a case of the bad freshman year). I have one year of research experience in a memory lab. I have teaching experience through the SI program at my school. I think I have a good SOP and am a good fit for the programs to which I have applied. I honestly don't know how good my letters of recommendation will be. They're all from psychology professors, but they have all known me for less than a year.

I decided to follow through with this, but I'm prepared to apply for Master's programs next semester.

That is a pretty tough list of schools to get into. Along with Michigan and Duke, I think you should add WUSTL and UT Austin as reaches, too. It sounds like you're realistic about your chances, which is good. But as you said, there will be a number of applicants with better GREs, better GPA, and better letters of rec.

If you can find more labs that will be a good fit, I think you would do well to apply to another couple top/mid-range schools, like mid-level UCs, Brown, Arizona, Vanderbilt, etc. Schools like that are still very good and should all have labs that will be of interest to you (feel free to PM me if you want suggestions for labs). You'll have a better shot at each of those than places like Michigan and Duke, plus applying to more will give you a better overall shot at being accepted somewhere.

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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum

I'm also applying to cognitive neuroscience programme. In particular I'm interested in researching on aging using fMRI. I was looking at Michigan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Duke, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL/WashU), UT Dallas and Toronto. My GRE is 1490 (V=710, Q=780), this was my second try. I got 1360 the first time round but was adviced that it might be a bottleneck and some schools won't even consider me if I am not above 1400. I don't know how true that is.

I am not from the U.S. so my GPA is on a scale of 5.0 but I am currently within the First Class honours range. I've also had a number of research experience and should be able to get some decent letters of recommendation. However, I heard that my chances of entering directly into a Ph.D programme from a bachelor degree are slim because my undergraduate was done in an Asian institution. Which is kind of disappointing if its true. Just wondering if anyone else has heard the same or can verify the claim.. thanks

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Hello!

I'm applying to a combination of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience programs. I am wondering what sort of science/math background you other cognitive neuroscience applicants have. I only have AP Bio (which my university gave me credit for as environmental science), 1 semester Chem, 1 semester Physics, withdrew passing from calculus my freshman year, Basic stats, 1 semester human evolution (anthro class), a year of graduate stats for psychology, a semester of cognitive science, an intro cog neuro class (lower-level undergrad) and a semester of computer science. There is a range of As and Bs on these classes, with an upward trend. I am also currently TAing undergrad stats for psych. I used most of my undergraduate credits for anthropology classes, and now almost done with my MS in cognitive psychology. I am confident that I am qualified for the cognitive psychology programs I am applying to and it will come down to fit and how qualified other applicants are, but reading the MIT admissions page, I realized that I might not have the coursework background that cog neuro programs are looking for (or at least that MIT is looking for). I think I am still going to apply, but I am now wondering if I should be addressing my lack of full years of science, or if I should be taking a class next semester that will fill in the most important gap (though I'm already taking a psych class and finishing running/writing up my MS thesis project). What do you guys think?

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On 11/11/2010 at 4:34 AM, onomatopoeia. said:

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum

I'm also applying to cognitive neuroscience programme. In particular I'm interested in researching on aging using fMRI. I was looking at Michigan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Duke, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL/WashU), UT Dallas and Toronto. My GRE is 1490 (V=710, Q=780), this was my second try. I got 1360 the first time round but was adviced that it might be a bottleneck and some schools won't even consider me if I am not above 1400. I don't know how true that is.

I am not from the U.S. so my GPA is on a scale of 5.0 but I am currently within the First Class honours range. I've also had a number of research experience and should be able to get some decent letters of recommendation. However, I heard that my chances of entering directly into a Ph.D programme from a bachelor degree are slim because my undergraduate was done in an Asian institution. Which is kind of disappointing if its true. Just wondering if anyone else has heard the same or can verify the claim.. thanks

I'm not sure about how graduating from an Asian institution will affect you but you have a fantastic GRE score. Most places seem to not consider you if you have a 1200 (at least what I've heard.)

I think if you have great research experience (maybe working with an fMRI) on top of your other stats you have a good chance. :)

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Hello!

I'm applying to a combination of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience programs. I am wondering what sort of science/math background you other cognitive neuroscience applicants have. I only have AP Bio (which my university gave me credit for as environmental science), 1 semester Chem, 1 semester Physics, withdrew passing from calculus my freshman year, Basic stats, 1 semester human evolution (anthro class), a year of graduate stats for psychology, a semester of cognitive science, an intro cog neuro class (lower-level undergrad) and a semester of computer science. There is a range of As and Bs on these classes, with an upward trend. I am also currently TAing undergrad stats for psych. I used most of my undergraduate credits for anthropology classes, and now almost done with my MS in cognitive psychology. I am confident that I am qualified for the cognitive psychology programs I am applying to and it will come down to fit and how qualified other applicants are, but reading the MIT admissions page, I realized that I might not have the coursework background that cog neuro programs are looking for (or at least that MIT is looking for). I think I am still going to apply, but I am now wondering if I should be addressing my lack of full years of science, or if I should be taking a class next semester that will fill in the most important gap (though I'm already taking a psych class and finishing running/writing up my MS thesis project). What do you guys think?

Well you have much more natural sciences courses than me :) I think except for programs that explicitly state you need certain pre-reqs you have a good amount of science courses.

I've only taken one bio, calc, and neuroscience. I've taken a few psych stats courses but I feel like I have significantly less science coursework than other applicants. Despite that I've been asking around and for programs located in psych departments instead of bi departments I should be fine.

However, my understanding is the more science courses, the better. I don't think you should be concerned from what I know.

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LJK,

What sort of classes does MIT want that you don't have? I think that if you have a MS in the field you're applying to, you're probably solid. I don't know much about MIT's cogneuro program specifically, but based on what I know of the university in general, I'd guess it has different, more quantitatively focused requirements than most other schools. And as neuropsych said, cogneuro programs in psych departments look for fewer hard science courses than programs in biology departments, so look at where you're applying. However, I wouldn't rule out a school just because you haven't taken a recommended class, especially if you have a strong background in the field.

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However, I wouldn't rule out a school just because you haven't taken a recommended class, especially if you have a strong background in the field.

This is very good advice. It is much more important that your background prepares you for the work done in the lab you want to join, and less important that you meet the overall departmental requirements. Of course, meeting both isn't bad either :)

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That is a pretty tough list of schools to get into. Along with Michigan and Duke, I think you should add Northwestern and UT Austin as reaches, too. It sounds like you're realistic about your chances, which is good. But as you said, there will be a number of applicants with better GREs, better GPA, and better letters of rec.

If you can find more labs that will be a good fit, I think you would do well to apply to another couple top/mid-range schools, like mid-level UCs, Brown, Arizona, Vanderbilt, etc. Schools like that are still very good and should all have labs that will be of interest to you (feel free to PM me if you want suggestions for labs). You'll have a better shot at each of those than places like Michigan and Duke, plus applying to more will give you a better overall shot at being accepted somewhere.

Yeah, I definitely gave myself a challenge with those programs. I also decided to apply to Georgia Tech. Of the schools you suggested, I have no desire to apply to three of them when I consider their locations. I really would not want to live in Arizona, Tennessee, or Rhode Island. However, I am considering applying to one more school. What do you think about UC Davis?

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Yeah, I definitely gave myself a challenge with those programs. I also decided to apply to Georgia Tech. Of the schools you suggested, I have no desire to apply to three of them when I consider their locations. I really would not want to live in Arizona, Tennessee, or Rhode Island. However, I am considering applying to one more school. What do you think about UC Davis?

I was thinking Davis or Irvine (or both), as long as you can find labs at them that will be good for you.

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LJK,

What sort of classes does MIT want that you don't have? I think that if you have a MS in the field you're applying to, you're probably solid. I don't know much about MIT's cogneuro program specifically, but based on what I know of the university in general, I'd guess it has different, more quantitatively focused requirements than most other schools. And as neuropsych said, cogneuro programs in psych departments look for fewer hard science courses than programs in biology departments, so look at where you're applying. However, I wouldn't rule out a school just because you haven't taken a recommended class, especially if you have a strong background in the field.

MIT listed a bunch of disciplines: bio, physics, math, chem, linguistics, psych, cog sci, and neuroscience, that they say many of their students have at least a year of coursework in a number of them. I have a year of stats, not calculus or anything (which maybe more of a its MIT stereotype that calc is more what they are looking for), and psychology, including psycholinguistics. I do have at least a semester in each of the listed disciplines. My weakness is neuroscience, which the department is more of a neuroscience department than a psychology one... I think my degree choices would be cognitive science or neuroscience. Objectively, I probably am not too weak coursework wise but I'm nervous that if I'm too average I just won't stand out as someone to be excited about. Application nerves I guess mellow.gif! I don't have a background in cog neuro, just cog psyc, but a lot of the work being done on the questions I am interested in is in cog neuro, so that might be where I am going next.... I am feeling unprepared without any neuro experience. Anyway, I'm going to apply anyway and see, I guess thats all any of us can do at this point.

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MIT listed a bunch of disciplines: bio, physics, math, chem, linguistics, psych, cog sci, and neuroscience, that they say many of their students have at least a year of coursework in a number of them. I have a year of stats, not calculus or anything (which maybe more of a its MIT stereotype that calc is more what they are looking for), and psychology, including psycholinguistics. I do have at least a semester in each of the listed disciplines. My weakness is neuroscience, which the department is more of a neuroscience department than a psychology one... I think my degree choices would be cognitive science or neuroscience. Objectively, I probably am not too weak coursework wise but I'm nervous that if I'm too average I just won't stand out as someone to be excited about. Application nerves I guess mellow.gif! I don't have a background in cog neuro, just cog psyc, but a lot of the work being done on the questions I am interested in is in cog neuro, so that might be where I am going next.... I am feeling unprepared without any neuro experience. Anyway, I'm going to apply anyway and see, I guess thats all any of us can do at this point.

Where do you see the list of disciplines where it says you need to have at least one year of? I just read that they want people with strong math and science coursework but not specifics. I'm on the fence about applying to MIT. I know its better to just give it a shot but I feel like I have such a small chance. I sent my CV and research interest to the only prof I'm super excited about working with. If this prof gives me some positive feedback i'll feel better about applying.

Do you have any neuroscience research experience even if you haven't taken any neuro classes?

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http://bcs.mit.edu/academics/grad.html

Admission Requirements Students should be adequately grounded in the basic academic disciplines that will provide the foundation for their graduate work. Relevant background varies across different areas of the department, but entering students will typically have taken at least one year of college-level work in several of these areas: biology, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, linguistics, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and psychology. For some students, make- up courses may be required during the first year. Relevant research experience, either in college or post-college, is also highly desirable.

I actually have 3 potential people at MIT that I would be interested in working with. One is more interesting than the others...

There isn't any cognitive neuroscience research at my current school and I didn't try to pursue anything through the biology department, so nope, only a low level undergraduate course for neuro background :/

Edited by LJK
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http://bcs.mit.edu/academics/grad.html

Admission Requirements Students should be adequately grounded in the basic academic disciplines that will provide the foundation for their graduate work. Relevant background varies across different areas of the department, but entering students will typically have taken at least one year of college-level work in several of these areas: biology, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, linguistics, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, and psychology. For some students, make- up courses may be required during the first year. Relevant research experience, either in college or post-college, is also highly desirable.

I actually have 3 potential people at MIT that I would be interested in working with. One is more interesting than the others...

There isn't any cognitive neuroscience research at my current school and I didn't try to pursue anything through the biology department, so nope, only a low level undergraduate course for neuro background :/

Oh I interpreted that as if you have taken a few courses in that area and majored in one area that would probably be okay. It didn't seem to binding for admissions but what do I know :P

Well you have lots of other science courses so i dont think that will be a huge detriment for not knowing neuro. If you have lots of cognitive science research it might make up for no neuro research also.

Good luck!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just thought I would add a post to see who else is waiting! I am getting anxious. I know I could heat from a few schools before the holidays but am checking my phone/ email all the time ever since it hit December since I know some places started reviewing apps on the 1st!

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