Applicants are selected based on merit and aptitude for research as determined by their scholastic records, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and through interviews with the BNS faculty. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution of higher education in the United States or abroad is required to enter the program. In general, an average of B or better in previous academic work is expected. Foreign students must take the TOEFL examination of proficiency in English. Considerable weight is placed on the applicant’s aptitude for research as evidenced by prior experience and on letters of recommendation.
The program receives about 100 applications from all over the world. After initial screening by the Admissions Committee,  files are reviewed by the entire faculty and eligible candidates are invited to Rutgers for an interview. Four to six outstanding students are admitted each year. The overall size of the program is about 30 students.

Each year the DEADLINE for applications is December 15 and interviews take place in February. Late applications may be considered on a case by case basis (contact the Graduate Secretary for information).

To start preparing your application, you should read the frequently asked questions, and complete the downloadable documents. With those in-hand, you can start the application process. When you get to the drop-down box that allows you to select the program, you may notice that there are multiple programs with the word Neuroscience in the title. Please make sure to select ‘Behavioral and Neural Sciences’.

After completing the online application process, please send a brief email to the graduate secretary to let us know that you applied. We will use that email address to let you know if we need further information, or if we would like to invite you for an interview. During the whole process, you can also check the status of your application online .


BNS students receive a 12-month renewable graduate assistantship of $29,605 plus tuition remission and a medical benefits plan. There is a maximum of 4 weeks of vacation time per year (with permission of advisor or program director). Travel funds of up to $500 per year are available for each student to present their research at major national or international meetings.

Beyond these graduate assistantships, exceptionally qualified applicants will be considered for the following prestigious fellowships.

Presidential Fellows

The President of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, invites outstanding candidates to apply to Ph.D. programs for consideration as Presidential Fellows.

  • $35,000 annual fellowship stipends for 2 years
  • Full tuition and medical fee remission
  • Mentorship in applying for prestigious national or international fellowships
  • Additional years of support for candidates sustaining good standing in their program.

Successful candidates are expected to have demonstrated outstanding academic accomplishments and exceptional promise for success in research in their chosen discipline. Candidates are nominated by the BNS Program Director.

Norman Samuels Fellowship

These fellowships provide a one-time award (a signing bonus) for exceptionally qualified applicants. Candidates are nominated by the Program Director on the basis of their application materials.