“UCSF seems to have absorbed the sunny California ethos, where faculty and students treat each other like equals in a shared scientific endeavor. ... Fellow students in the Neuroscience program have welcomed me into a broad, program-wide community.”
— Carlos Johnson-Cruz, PhD student, Neuroscience


The Neuroscience PhD program prepares students for independent research and teaching in neuroscience. It seeks to train students who will be expert in one particular approach to neuroscientific research, but who will also have a strong general background in other areas of neuroscience and related disciplines. To achieve this objective, students take interdisciplinary core and advanced courses in neuroscience, as well as related courses sponsored by other graduate programs. In addition, students carry out research under the supervision of faculty members in the program.

The UCSF Neuroscience program faculty, who are among the world leaders in their respective areas of neuroscience, utilize innovative cellular, computational, electrophysiological, genetic, imaging, and molecular strategies to address outstanding problems in neuroscience. These approaches are employed in an integrative manner to engage in research in all areas of neuroscience, including behavior, biophysics, cell biology, development, neural systems, and disorders of the nervous system. The collaborative nature of the UCSF environment offers a unique opportunity in which to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of research at the frontier of modern neuroscience.


The Neuroscience program currently has 100 faculty members from the following departments and areas: anatomy, biochemistry and biophysics, bioengineering, the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Center, cell and tissue biology, CMP, CVRI, the Diabetes Center, Gladstone Institutes, neurological surgery, neurology, the Neuroscience Imaging Center, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, pathology, pediatrics-medical genetics, pediatrics-neonatology, pharmaceutical chemistry, physical therapy, physiology, and psychiatry.

The Neuroscience program is a member of the Program in Biological Sciences (PIBS).


cellular/molecular neuroscience
developmental neuroscience
neuroscience of disease
systems/computational neuroscience

The Neuroscience program is based primarily at Mission Bay, but also has faculty at Parnassus, the UCSF affiliated Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, and Gallo Center.

The Neuroscience program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division, administered by the UCSF School of Medicine, and delivered by faculty members in the UCSF schools of dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy.


Program Coordinator
Patricia Veitch

Program Director
Sam Pleasure, MD, PhD