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Help for choosing universities phd Neuroscience


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I am an international student. We don't have many of the american systems (GPA, etc).

I will try to use the template given on other questions as far as I can.



Undergrad + Masters: Biggest state school, good reputation (around 250 in global ranks) 

The degree is a Biology degree but I've spent last 3 years doing neuroscience/molecular biology courses + research 

Overall GPA: around 3.3/4 (the real is around 8.3/10) 

Position in Class: slightly above the historic average (7.9/10)

Type of Student: international male

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Taking in two weeks. Quant practice is around 160, Verbal is around 155
B: should I?
TOEFL: 104/120


Research Experience:

2.5 years in a memory lab doing behavioral tests and western blot.

The research has been quite slow because I had to standarize a new recording device using a shifting natural population (so I was never sure if I was doing things wrong or the sample was not helping or both).

At least I have had a good experience with experimental design, statistics and I am taking my first solid steps using R on my own.




2 congress poster presentations ?

thesis coming on december but not publishing?


Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

School teacher

Founded private lessons company which lasted 3 years

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:


Youtube channel with more than 150 videos and 1M total views? (kahn accademy style)

Special Bonus Points:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:


Applying to Where:

This is the big question. I want to have a quality jump in my career. I want to learn state of the art techniques and having the resources to actually do research with them instead of smiling to the papers. I want to focus on behavioral neuroscience, addiction and memory. I try to compare with some descriptions given by others in this forum and I find myself without a chance. Although I've written some emails and actually got one "I encourage you to apply to the phd program in this around top 20 University program" I don't think I stand a chance. I might have 3 letters of recommendations but, since in our country we normally do research in only one lab, I will have 1 from my PI (not a huge name) and 2 from professors which are very recognized but work in other fields (and also just know me because I was a pretty good student in their classes so they can't say much about my research abilities).  


I tried to make a more holistic approach (consider lifestyle and cultural change) but I still think I'm going to be applying places out of my league. These ones are:


UC San Diego



Cold Spring Harbor

Yale *

Washington University in St. Louis *


* I don't think I have even a tiny chance here


I've also seen some interesting places in Canada (Toronto and Mcgill). Finally, since taking the Biochem GRE (I will probably take it) and also applying will cost a lot I'm trying to avoid as much as possible the spending money roulette and apply where I have solid chances. I've been given the advice to chose a strategy of 1 "dream school", 1 "realistic school" and 1 "for sure school". In order to follow the advice I would need to know what are my realistic and for sure chances at least (I can always dream huge and apply to Harvard med school)





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Hey as a Canadian here, I would say Toronto and McGill have fantastic Neuroscience-based programs. You may also want to look at McMaster University too. It is about an hour away from Toronto, and has an excellent Neuroscience program called MiNDS.

Good luck!

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I'm currently in a similar situation, so I have just decided to apply to a couple top schools as well as a couple lower-down as back-ups. If you haven't already found this site, here's an easy interactive way to compare programs: http://www.phds.org/rankings/neuroscience


Also, not sure if you are limiting options based on cities you want to live in, but UNC Chapel Hill has a pretty good program and so does Oregon Health and Science University.

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