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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

​The Neuroscience graduate program seeks to advance research contributing to the understanding of the brain and mental health, promote independent thinking and prepare graduate leaders to excel in any field of human endeavor. The program is ideal for inquisitive students with high scholastic achievement​ driven to understand who and what we are, and who wish to better the mental and physical health of all members of our society. Doctoral students contribute to new discoveries, advance the field of neuroscience and gain a toolkit of skills and experiences that will help them take their place at the forefront of health care. Students will focus on both disease and fundamental understanding of the brain, learning in a faculty that fosters interaction between clinical and basic scientists.

Completing this program

  • Courses: Topics include cellular, molecular and developmental neuroscience, systems neuroscience and neuropathology and others.

  • Research Ethics: Students are required to attend Research Integrity Day sessions in the first year of their program.

  • Sex & Gender Module: Students are required to complete one of the CIHR sex and gender online training modules found at in the first year of their program.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.

  • Seminars: Students will participate in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute seminar program and a journal club.

  • Research Proposal: Students must defend a written research proposal to their supervisory committee. 

  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.

  • (Optional) Interdisciplinary Specialization I: A specialization in computational neuroscience is available. Additional information can also be found here.

  • (Optional) Interdisciplinary Specialization II: A specialization in medical imaging is also available. Additional information can also be found here.


Careers that demand a high degree of intellectual performance, positions of leadership, academia (teachers, administrators, researchers), medicine - clinician researchers, pharmaceutical industry, entrepreneurial endeavors, Fortune 500 companies, biomedical sales.

A PhD in neuroscience is usually considered a final degree; many graduates go on to pursue post-doctoral research.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, and must agree to oversee the student's research before admission will be granted

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Michael A Colicos

    Michael A. Colicos

    Accepting Inquiries
  2. Headshot Camila Aquino

    Camila Aquino

    Neuromodulation in Movement Disorders, Clinical Trials in Parkinson's Disease, Patient-Oriented Research
  3. Placeholder Profile Image

    Jeff Biernaskie

    Accepting Inquiries
  4. Stephanie Borgland

    Stephanie Borgland

    Accepting Inquiries
    Neural circuits underlying motivated behaviour
  5. Janice Braun

    Janice Braun

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular Chaperones and Neurodegeneration
  6. Signe Bray

    Signe Bray

    Accepting Inquiries
  7. BCallahan

    Brandy Callahan

    Geriatric neuropsychology, Adult ADHD
  8. Deborah Dewey

    Deborah Dewey

    pediatric health and neurodevelopment, Other Degrees I Supervise
  9. Jeff F Dunn

    Jeff F. Dunn

    Accepting Inquiries
    Disease processes, Medical imaging
  10. Placeholder Profile Image

    Richard Dyck

    Seeking Students
    Behavioural Neuroscience

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

An MSc or equivalent.

Work samples




Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on May 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents: March 1 application deadline
  • International students: Dec. 1 application deadline

For admission on September 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents:Jun. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Apr. 1 application deadline

For admission on January 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Oct. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Aug. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Neuroscience

Graduate Science Education
HSC G345B, 3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 2T9

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Cumming School of Medicine

Health Sciences Centre
Foothills Campus, University of Calgary
Calgary, ABT2N 4N1

Visit the Cumming School of Medicine website

Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour