Oct 16, 2019
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi Everyone! I am planning on applying to neuroscience PhD programs and I was wondering whether or not I should aim much lower or apply to M.S. programs, or if I have a good chance at these universities. I am sure that many of these are definitely reach schools, but I thought that I would ask anyways:
  • Johns Hopkins
  • UMD
  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • Boston University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • UCSF
  • UC Berkeley
  • Stanford
  • UCLA
  • UCSD
  • Cal Tech
  • University of Michigan
  • Yale
  • Northwestern
  • University of Chicago
  • Princeton
  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • NYU
  • University of Rochester
  • Mount Sinai
  • University of Washington
  • Duke University
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • Washington University
  • Emory University
  • Rice University
  • Stats:

    cGPA = 3.65
    Undergraduate Institution = Virginia Commonwealth University & took Calculus II/III + Linear Algebra + Differential Equations + Introduction to Probability Theory courses at UMD College Park
    GRE = not taken yet

    I have roughly 5 years of total research experience:

    USUHS (Uterine Fibroids) - spent roughly two months as a brief experience in a lab setting at 17 years old

    VCU / Department of Physiology and Biophysics - spent roughly a 1.5 years research Autism Spectrum Disorders in mouse models. This experience lead to co-authorship on a ACS Chemical Neuroscience publication, two poster presentations (one at UROP and another at biophysical society), and a senior thesis/defense

    NIH (NIMH) - spent 1 year as a Postbac IRTA Research Fellow researching the circuitry and neuromodulation underlying various depression and emotion regulation models in transgenic mice. Unfortunately, this experience did not translate to any publishable work, but I amassed a ton of new techniques under my belt

    Johns Hopkins University - spent 2 years as a Research Technologist doing research on magnetically-heated nanoparticles as a potential treatment method for glioblastomas and other cancers as well. From here got another poster presentation and I was able to craft my own independent project, which I am still working on


    - Honors College Member and Graduate
    - Honors Distinction in Biology (1 of 6 people in my class)
    - Cum Laude Latin Honors
    - Dean's List (5x)

    Other Information:

    I can get very strong letters of recommendation from all three of my previous PIs, as well as get in contact and establish strong relationships with potential labs that I would want to join at some of the universities mentioned above

    I have mastered A LOT of techniques throughout these experiences, including ones in molecular biology, electrophysiology, behavior tests, histology, microscopy/imaging, data analysis, etc. I have a strong skill set in computational approaches using R, Matlab, and Python as well

    ** the list above is a master-list and it will be narrowed down eventually**

    I have more experiences in community outreach and clinical experiences as well, but I did not think that it would be TOO relevant when applying for PhD programs.


5+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2016
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
You seem like a strong candidate. Applying to that many schools is absolutely bananas.

I would suggest attending a conference to network and asking your PIs to suggest labs that would be a good fit. Try to narrow things down a bit. That said, given your location, have you considered UVA?
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