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Neuroscience: PhD


The primary goal of the doctoral program in neuroscinece is to provide students with a strong educational and research foundation in cellular, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. Students will apply critical concepts in neuroscience to understanding normal and disordered processes of sensation, movement, cognition, language and communication across the lifespan. This goal will be accomplished through a core set of neuroscience courses, advanced electives and laboratory experiences. 

Students in the neuroscience doctoral program are expected to align themselves with a focus area.  Currently, these include Translational Neuroscience, Educational Neuroscience, and Lifespan Neuroscience.


  • Educational Neuroscience: This focus area is designed to apply the principles of behavioral, cognitive, and biological neuroscience to core problems in education related to cognition, socialization, learning, and/or teaching.
  • Lifespan Neuroscience: This emphasis studies the changes in central and peripheral nervous system structures from infancy to late adulthood with corresponding effects on behavior in cognition, language and emotion.
  • Translational Neuroscience: This emphasis focuses on understanding the signal transduction pathways underlying neurophysiological function in normal and disease states at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and system levels.

The Neuroscience PhD program prepares students for careers in research settings.  Graduates may find jobs in academic settings as well as in private industry and other research settings.

Admission Requirements

All applications are submitted with the USU Graduate School.

As part of the application prospective students must submit the following:

  • A statement of purpose describing interest in graduate school and relevant experiences and qualifications
  • A curriculum vita / resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • Official transcripts from all previous schools attended

Admissions criteria include the following:

  • GPA for the last 60 credits taken of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE scores for the verbal and quantitative areas at the 40th percentile or above
  • Fit with a current faculty member involved in the neuroscience program

Admission Deadlines

Application deadline for Fall admission: January 15th.

Application deadline for Spring admission: July 15th.

Financial Assistance

The full-time PhD graduate students in this program will receive graduate research or graduate teaching assistantships to help finance their education.  All students with assistantships also receive the doctoral tuition award which covers the tuition for classes taken for the doctoral program.

Stephanie Borrie, PhD, Speech and Language Therapy
Assistant Professor
Area: University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
Office: Lillywhite 104
Phone: 435-797-1388

Catalin V. Buhusi, PhD, Duke University
Program: Neuroscience
Area: To provide a more complete understanding of the role of the dopaminergic system in normal and abnormal adaptive behavior by using methods from behavioral-, systems-, and computational neuroscience.
Office: BioInnovations Center 305 N

Mona Buhusi, PhD, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania
Associate Professor
Program: Neuroscience
Area: Understanding the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders in which neuronal wiring is abnormal.
Office: USTAR 650, Room 305M
Phone: 435-797-8974

Tim Gilbertson, PhD, University of California – Davis
Area: Cellular and systems neurobiology
Office: BTEC 303
Phone: (435) 797-7314

Ron Gillam, PhD, Indiana University
Area: Speech-language pathology
Office: ECERC 224
Phone: (435) 797-1704

Kerry Jordan, PhD, Duke University
Associate Professor
Program: Brain & Cognition
Area: Developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, animal behavior
Office: EDUC 483
Phone: (435) 797-2797

Lisa Milman, PhD, University of Arizona
Assistant Professor
Area: Adult neurogenic communication disorders, cognitive neuroscience, mathematical models, multi-lingualism, tele-rehabilitation.
Office: Lillywhite 108
Phone: 435-797-1375

Sydney Schaefer, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Motor control and neuro-rehabilitation
Office: HPER 142
Phone: 435-797-8441

Breanna Studenka, PhD, Purdue University
Assistant Professor
Area: Sensory Motor Behavior and Motor Control
Office: HPER 144
Phone: 435-797-0109

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Society for Neuroscience - The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 40,000 members in more than 90 countries and 130 chapters worldwide.