10+ Year Member
Dec 22, 2006
Attending Physician
You certainly don't have to get a PhD to get into one of the top programs; however, research is pretty important to many of them. Publications speak for themselves, but even without much in the way of demonstrable research, the ability to speak clearly about what you are interested in as well as the research goals you have for the future will go a long way. Even without publications, the fact that you worked in a neuro-related lab for a year will help your cause.

We had plenty of people from big-name schools in my program, but we had just as many from places that weren't at the top of US News (which is meaningless anyway). Your 265 will essentially take care of that problem anyway. When I was interviewing as a senior, personality and CV made a much bigger impact than the name of the applicant's school.

With good letters and maybe a paper or two, you should have no problem getting interviews at the top programs...unless you have an aggravated assault charge against you or something you aren't telling us.