University of Wisconsin–Madison

Admissions Questions (FAQs)

  • How do I apply to the NTP?

    You can apply to the Neuroscience Training Program online through the Graduate School Application.

  • What is the deadline for applying to the NTP?

    Completed applications must be received no later than December 1 for admission in the following September.


    All materials must be turned in by December 1st not postmarked so make sure to get started early!


  • What are the program prerequisites?

    Admission to the Program is based mainly on demonstrated ability and interest in science and mathematics. The minimum course prerequisites are mathematics through calculus, and a year each of chemistry, physics, and biology. Prior laboratory research experience, while not required, is strongly recommended.

  • What makes for a successful applicant?

    Successful applicants are typically characterized by the following:

    • Strong academic records, i.e. good grades, especially in science and math classes, and all prerequisites for the program met.
    • Extensive research experience, i.e. has worked on a project or projects and demonstrated intellectual ownership of the work, demonstrates that they know the science, has been involved in experimental design for data collection and/or analysis. The applicant should discuss in the research statement (i.e. reasons for graduate study) the science of any projects on which they have worked, and should give a clear motivation for graduate school, including their research interests, and for UW-Madison in particular.
    • Outstanding letters of recommendation. Letters ideally are from research supervisor(s) who know the applicant personally and can convey details about the applicant’s participation in the research and their intellectual contributions, and their suitability to working in a research lab as part of a team.
    • Publications. Almost all interviewed applicants have either abstracts at national/regional meetings or peer-reviewed papers.
  • What if I cannot afford the application fee? Can I defer the payment of the fee until I am admitted?

    We understand the financial difficulties associated with application to graduate programs. However, the application fee cannot be deferred or waived. The Graduate School offers a limited number of fee grants for McNair Scholars, UW-Madison Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), Bioscience Opportunities Preview Weekend (BOPs) and other pre-approved programs. The Graduate School also offers a fee waiver application for domestic applicants from a low-income background. To apply, a Fee Grant Request Form must be filled out before you submit your application. Please see the Graduate School website for more information.

  • Should I send my application to a specific faculty member with whom I am interested in working?

    No. Application packages must be sent to the Neuroscience Training Program for them to be a part of the admission process. Admission decisions are made by a pre-determined committee of Program faculty. Once you have applied through the online application, we do encourage you to reach out to faculty members who you are interested in working with.

  • How many applications do you receive each year? Of those, how many accepted?

    On average, we receive about 175-200 applications per year, and of these, we admit approximately 15-20 students. Of these admitted students, approximately 9-12 matriculate each year.

  • Can you assess my chances of admission based on the following criteria (transcripts, class rank, etc.)?

    We cannot provide preliminary evaluations of chances for admissions based on any one or two qualifications. The Graduate Admissions Committee carefully reviews the entire application package (personal statement, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.) to determine admission decisions.

  • I applied to the NTP within the last two years, but was rejected. How do I reapply?

    If you would like to reapply to our program, you will be required to submit a new Graduate School application form and pay a new application fee. Updated information can be provided in the online application.

  • I am having issues uploading my transcripts. What should I do?

    If you are having trouble uploading your transcript in the system due to file size or other concerns, please contact us at

  • Do I need to take the GRE Exam?

    The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is no longer required. Effective for the 2018-19 admissions season (those applying for the Fall 2019 NTP class), NTP no longer requires GRE scores, nor will the Admissions Committee use any GRE scores submitted as part of its review.

  • Do I need to take the TOEFL Exam? Can the TOEFL Exam be waived in certain cases for international students?
  • What codes do I use when reporting my TOEFL scores to the NTP?

    When reporting TOEFL Exam scores, use the following:
    Institution Code:1846

    *All scores must be received by the Dec. 1st deadline, if scores are not received by that date, applications are considered incomplete.

  • What type of financial support can I expect?

    Financial support for domestic students and permanent residents made available by the the Neuroscience Training Program includes predoctoral traineeships sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, as well as various fellowships and research assistantships. Such appointments typically provide full tuition, full health and dental benefits, plus a 12-month stipend.

  • Do you provide financial support for foreign applicants?

    Due to the fact that most of the Program’s funding is earmarked for U.S. citizens, we accept approximately ONE new international student each year with the understanding that the Program is unable to fund the student directly. Therefore, you should make every effort to apply for grants and fellowships in your home country if you are interested in training with the NTP or make arrangements with a faculty member you want to work with regarding your financial support.

  • Do international students need to send a financial statement with their application?

    International applicants will be asked to provide a financial statement after the program recommends admission. International financial information can be found on the Graduate School’s website, or by clicking here.

  • Does the NTP offer a Master's Degree?

    No. The final degree objective for all admitted students to the the Neuroscience Training Program is the Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).