Neuroscience Graduate Program

Neuroscience research at West Virginia University takes place in over 50 laboratories and encompasses multiple topics involving fundamental organization and development of the nervous system to the study of neurologic diseases. Under the organizational umbrella of the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (RNI), neuroscience researchers at West Virginia University strive to expand knowledge of brain function and improve the lives and health of citizens of the state, the country, and the world. We welcome students to the Neuroscience Graduate Program as they join us in this endeavor and train to become the next generation of Neuroscience researchers.

The Graduate Program in Neuroscience is one of the 7 Biomedical PhD programs at the WVU Health Sciences Center and these students take a common curriculum in the first semester. This semester of study provides a strong background in fundamental knowledge that crosses all 7 programs. The student also carries our research rotations (BMS 702) in different laboratories to select an advisor for their dissertation research. Entry into the neuroscience program occurs in the spring semester and the student begins the neuroscience specific curriculum.

In addition to discipline-specific coursework, all students in the biomedical PhD programs also take a course in Experiential Learning. This course is a chance for students to broaden their education beyond what would be received as part of their dissertation research by doing short-term internships with companies or in health policy, by attending unique workshops, or by embarking on clinical shadowing, to name a few.


Admission to the Graduate Program in Neuroscience is via the common admissions process used by all applicants to any of the seven PhD granting programs in the biomedical sciences. Students should follow the instructions at this link: Apply Here. Whether the student selects biomedical sciences or neuroscience, the application is reviewed by the same committee and formal entry into neuroscience does not occur until the spring semester of the first year.

Research Areas

The neuroscience graduate program emphasizes research on the function and dysfunction of the brain and nervous system, providing students with innovative approaches to understanding neural mechanisms responsible for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain injury and repair, as well as fundamental understanding of cellular and molecular neurobiology, motor and sensory systems, neural processing, behavior, and neural development.



Common Core Coursework
BMS 700 - Scientific Integrity (2 hours) 
BMS 702 - Biomedical Lab Experience (2 hours) 
BMS 706 - Cellular Methods (1 hour) 
BMS 707 - Experiential Learning for Biomedical Trainees (2 hours) 
BMS 720 - Scientific Writing (2 hours) 
BMS 747 - Foundations for Contemporary Biomedical Research 1 (4 hours) 
BMS 777 - Foundations for Contemporary Biomedical Research 2 (4 hours)

Neuroscience Coursework
NSCI 770 - Fundamentals of Neuroscience 1 (6 hours) 
NSCI 772 - Fundamentals of Neuroscience 2 (4 hours) 
NBAN 760 - Neuroscience Journal Club (1 hour) - Will transition to NSCI 760 in fall 2019
NSCI 761 - Neuroscience Research Forum (1 hour) 
NSCI 797 - Research (1-15 hours) 
Electives (3 hours) 
Qualifying Examination 
Dissertation Proposal 
Dissertation Defense 

Total hours: 87

Neuroscience Graduate Catalog: 
Handbook - PDF provided 

2019 Mentors
Aric Agmon
Charles Anderson
Omid Dehzangi
Elizabeth Engler-Chiurazzi
Victor Finomore
Valeriya Gritsenko
Jason Huber
Randy J. Nelson
David Smith
Eric S. Tucker
Edwin Wan
Shuo Wang
Sergiy Yakovenko