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Cognitive Neuroscience*

For more information contact

Director of Graduate Studies
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Duke University
Box 90999
Durham, NC 27708

Phone: (919) 684-3422


General Information

Degree offered:
Certificate, Ph.D. offered through one of the participating departments (Neurobiology, Psychology and Neuroscience, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Evolutionary Anthropology, and Philosophy)
Faculty working with students:
Part time study available:

Program Description

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences offers an interdisciplinary program for graduate study in cognitive neuroscience via the Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program, which consists of intensive multi-disciplinary coursework and research lab rotations in the first two years, followed by a transition into a PhD degree-granting program in years 3-5. Students in the program gain a thorough understanding of the intellectual issues that drive this rapidly growing field, as well as expertise in the major methods for research on higher brain function.  These functions include, but are not limited to, perception, attention, memory, language, emotion, motor control, executive functions, consciousness, and the evolution of mental processes.

Cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary area of research and scholarship.  Thus, the program at Duke explicitly involves collaboration between multiple departments of the Schools of Arts and Science, Engineering, and Medicine.  Students have access to the facilities of all participating entities including MRI scanners located in the Brain Imaging Analysis Center, EEG labs in the Center, and extensive facilities for psychophysical studies in humans and animals.

The program begins with Neuroscience Bootcamp where students make connections with students and faculty throughout the campus studying neuroscience.  Students then engage in an extensive year of course work and laboratory research in cognitive neuroscience that includes three rotations in distinct laboratories.  Professional development seminars are offered on topics such as grant writing, tips for the publication process, and teaching.  Students affiliate with a Ph.D. degree-granting program by December of their second year and receive a formal certificate of graduate study in cognitive neuroscience. 


Application Information

Application Terms Available

Application Deadline
December 1

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional for 2022)
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)

Writing Sample
None required

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance