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Neuroscience phd applications, Helppp

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hello there,

i'm planning to apply to cognitive neuroscience phd programs this fall, and i have a couple of questions regarding the process.

here's some info about me:

psychology ba graduate gpa 3.6

studying neuroscience msc. gpa 3,5

will be taking the gre this month

will be attending neuroscience summer school on september

have basic knowledge on matlab, spm

so here are my questions:

1. i'm mainly interested in neural representations of semantic memory. so i specifically searched for potential supervisors with interests in memory and representations. however it turns out that it's a trend in neuroscience community. and i formed a long list of programs, about 20. :S i don't know where to start, or which faculty members to contact. how should i narrow this list? (THE LIST: berkeley, stanford, ucla, u chicago, u illinois urbana champaign, northwestern, johns hopkins, boston c, MIT, princeton, CUNY, NYU, CMU, u penn, brown, wustl, toronto, mcgill, UCL, cambridge...)

2. i have about 2-3 months of research experience in neuroscience. i worked as an RA in 3 projects (1 year) when i was an undergrad. no publications. (will have more once i start collecting data for my thesis) is this a huge problem?

3. does my research proposal have to be a rigid commitment, or can I change it once i start the phd? is it just an essay to show the colleges that i am capable of planning a research, or do i have to go through with it once i write it?

4. lastly, do i have to find faculty members who have identical research interests as mine, or is it okay if there's a marginal connection? as in semantic memory, instead of what i have.

i appreciate all the help i can get!

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  • 2 months later...

1. Ask a professor who knows you and who you trust. Alternatively, apply to as many as you can and figure it out at the interviews.

2. It depends on how well you know your adviser and what he thinks of you, since he is the one who's going to write your recommendation.

3. I think most applications ask you for research interests, but not for a research proposal. It can be really vague. Mine was.

4. There have to be some faculty members with overlapping research interests somewhere at the institution. Otherwise, you won't find a lab there you want to join, and none of the labs will want to take you. The people you talk to don't necessarily have to be the people with overlapping research interests.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Campus websites should have the list of their faculty and pages for each faculty member listing their publications. You can also contact the graduate program that you're interested in and ask them to recommend professors with similar research interests. Then, call or email a professor in the department and talk to them about it. Always remember to ask whether you are catching them at a bad time and ask if you could schedule another phone call if they are busy when you call them.

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Apply to UT Dallas! You might be interested in John Hart's work. We have a lot of memory experts here, but Hart is the semantic memory specialist. It's a growing program. (My undergrad credentials were very similar to yours, too, so you probably have a good chance of being accepted.)

Edited by Arcadian
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