Program contact

Lucy Russo-Smith

The Centre for Neuroscience Studies offers interdisciplinary MSc and PhD graduate programs recruiting expertise from a variety of research areas and backgrounds. Our research areas range from the use of cellular/molecular and genetic approaches to those that emphasize neuronal systems, whole organism and clinical studies.

We Need Dreamers

We Need Dreamers

How to apply

Thank you for your interest in our program!  We encourage you to complete your application using the online application program available through the School of Graduate Studies website.   Students who submit applications by February 1st will be eligible for internal awards.

In order to be offered admission to our graduate program you will need to meet the minimum academic requirements and have a supervisor who is willing to offer you a position in their lab.  We encourage students considering graduate studies to reach out to potential supervisors as early as possible in the admission cycle.  However, you do not need to have a supervisor identified in order to apply to the program.

Please note that in order for your application to be deemed complete, two academic references are required.  Once complete, all applications are reviewed by our Graduate Program Admission Committee.  

Please see our Graduate Student Handbook for more information. 

Admission Requirements

Master's of Science Degree (M.Sc.)

Second class standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA (overall "B" average), of one of the following degrees awarded by a recognized university:

  • Honours bachelor degree in Arts or in Science;
  • Bachelor degree in Applied Science
  • Degree of Doctor of Medicine
  • or equivalent

Note: A four year degree with laboratory experience is considered the same as an honours bachelor degree.

Please note that these are minimum requirements. Since the Neuroscience Graduate program is highly competitive, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee entry into the program.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)

The minimum requirement for admission into the Ph.D. program is a master’s degree in Neuroscience, or in a field with a strong neuroscience and research component.

Degrees and Requirements

Master's of Science Degree (M.Sc.)
  1. A research thesis which demonstrates that the candidate is capable of original and independent work.
  2. The equivalent of 12.0 credits to be determined in consultation with the graduate student’s supervisor and the advisory committee. One of these courses shall be NSCI 800* Current Concepts in Neuroscience (See Graduate Courses Link for a list of NSCI graduate courses).
Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)
  1. A research thesis, describing original research conducted by the candidate.
  2. Some courses may be required by the student’s advisory committee to prepare the student for the comprehensive examination (see below), which all Ph.D. candidates are required to successfully complete, and/or to provide additional formal training in a particular area of research. Students who enter the Ph.D. program from another discipline may be required to take NSCI 800* and/or an equivalent.
  3. A comprehensive exam is required to be completed prior to beginning the 3rd year of studies. Please refer to the comprehensive exam guidelines in the Student Handbook.

Acceleration into a Ph.D. program without completing the Master’s thesis is reserved for students who meet the following criteria:

  • Must have completed at least one term, full time, and completed at least two graduate courses (6.0 credits), or equivalent.
  • Must complete all course requirements for both the Master’s and Doctoral degree (if applicable) prior to graduation.
  • Should have an undergraduate honours degree with a minimum B+ standing or equivalent.
  • Must have an overall A average in completed graduate courses.
  • Must demonstrate exceptional promise and ability at research. Evidence of exceptional progress in research can include first authored papers in peer-reviewed journals or first authored abstracts of presentations at national or international meetings as well as letters of support from faculty familiar with the student’s progress.
  • Must apply to FHS Graduate Council follwoingone term of enrolment (4 months) and prior to the end of the fifth term of study (20 months). All requirements for completion of the mini- master’s must be satisfied by the end of the sixth (6th) term.

Please refer to the Student Handbook for more detailed information.


Application Requirements

Applications must be made directly to the School of Graduate Studies and should be comprised of:

  1. The application form.
  2. Two official transcripts from each university previously attended.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from professors under whom the applicant has studied.
  4. An application fee is required in order to submit an application. If filling out the on-line application form you will be asked to pay this by credit card before you submit your final application. If using a paper application please send a certified cheque or money order payable to Queen's University.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all required documentation is submitted. Only applications that are complete in all respects will be considered by the admissions committee. Although it is not a condition for acceptance into the program, all applicants are urged to seek external funding.  Information on awards and scholarships can be found at the following page from the School of Graduate Studies.


International students


The most current information regarding international student fees can be found on the Queen’s University Registrar’s website:  Tuition and Fees.

Finances and Government Regulations

Beginning September 2021, international PhD students will pay the same tuition amount as domestic PhD students. Visa students registered in the MSc program will be assessed international fees. 

Government regulations may make the financial situation of non-Canadian students very difficult. First, while in this country on a student visa, a student may be allowed to work in Canada, subject to various conditions; however, this potential source of employment should not be relied on as evidence of sufficient funds for immigration purposes. Second, while on a student visa the student must be enrolled full-time in the graduate program. Third, a full-time student must limit teaching assistantship employment on-campus to an average of ten hours per week in each term.

While studying in Canada may impose financial difficulties, we welcome applications from international students. We currently have a very small number of international students enrolled in our degree programs. Indeed, we do welcome such students but feel bound to inform them of the potentially difficult financial situation in which they may find themselves especially in the later years of their program.

For more information including estimated living expenses, please refer the International Student Handbook - International Centre - International Guidebook 2019 ( 


Current minimum stipends are $21,000/year for an MSc and $23,000/year for a PhD.

English Language Proficiency Information

Minimum TOEFL Scores required:

  • Computer based test: 250
  • Paper based test: 600

Test results expire after three years. We must receive a current version of results.

Institutional code for Queens: 0949

For more information on English Language Test Results please see the School of Graduate Studies website.


Combined BScH/MSc (Neuroscience) or BAH/MSc (Neuroscience)

The Centre for Neuroscience Studies is very excited to launch a new initiative which offers a combined program of a BScH/MSc (Neuroscience) or BAH/MSc (Neuroscience).  This program offers an opportunity for students in the 4th year of their Honours program to take up to 2 courses in neuroscience at the graduate level which would then allow these students to enter the graduate program with advanced standing. Research begun in the 4th year thesis project could be carried forward as a foundation for the graduate thesis, which would create an opportunity for exceptional students to complete the graduate degree within 4 terms.

Admission to the combined program is a two-step process.

Step 1:

Normally, students will have the option to apply for admission to the combined program (permission to take graduate level courses) in the winter term of the 3rd year, in parallel with the process for admittance to the Honours year and the thesis research project. All applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies. Students admitted to this program must have an overall A- average in the previous 4 completed academic terms of their undergraduate program.

If accepted into the combined program, in Year 4 of the BSc/BA (Hons) program students will be permitted to take up to two 3.0 graduate level courses for a total of 3 or 6 credits towards the 12 credits required for the MSc degree. It is the student’s responsibility to gain admission to these graduate courses following acceptance into the program. These courses will be counted as electives or science options towards completion of the degree requirements in the BSc/BA (Hons) program. Only 1 of these courses may be a combined undergraduate/graduate (400/800) level course. The second (and all subsequent) graduate courses must be graduate only (800 and/or 900 level).

* Please note that students can apply for admission to this program up to November 1st of their 4th year.

Step 2:

For admission to the MSc program in Neuroscience (with advanced standing), students will be expected to complete and submit the standard SGS application prior to February 1st of their final year.  Students must have an overall A- average in the previous 2 years of their undergraduate program, and have demonstrated significant research productivity in the 4th year thesis project.  In order for the student to be granted advanced standing in the M.Sc. degree program, they must have received a final grade of at least B+ (B plus) in the graduate course(s) taken during the 4th year and meet all other requirements for admission to the MSc program in Neurosciences.


Students should apply in writing via email to Graduate Coordinators, Dr. DJ Cook (PhD Graduate Program Coordinator) or Dr. Felicia Iftene (MSc Graduate Program Coordinator), with a copy to Ms Lucy Russo and at that time should provide a copy of their transcript, a brief description (1 Paragraph) of their research project, the name of their Project Supervisor, and identify the graduate level courses they hope to enroll in during their 4th year.

Supervisors actively recruiting

In addition to meeting the minimum academic requirement students must also secure a supervisor. A supervisor does not need to be identified in order to apply to the program but is required in order to be offered admission. Supervisory availability varies each year.  For a list of researchers that are actively recruiting please go to the Faculty tab and check the "currently recruiting" box.  The list of supervisors actively recruiting graduate students does not necessarily reflect all the opportunities that may exist with other researchers so you are encouraged to reach out to any CNS Faculty whose research interests you.


Funding opportunities

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The Centre has set a minimum recommended stipend of $21,000 per annum for each full-time MSc student and $23,000 per annum for each PhD students. The CNS does not guarantee additional funding in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TA’s).  Applicants to the Centre for Neuroscience program with external funding awards will have a greater opportunity of being accepted to the program.  

Financial assistance for individual full-time graduate students will be available from the following sources:

  1. Queen’s University internal fellowships and graduate awards.
  2. External scholarships from government and/or granting agencies (CIHR/NSERC).
  3. Supervisors Research Grants.


External Awards

Ontario Graduate Scholarships

The Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) promote excellence in graduate studies at the master's and doctoral levels.  OGS awards are merit-based scholarships available to graduate students in all graduate disciplines in Ontario Universities.  Eligible students apply for OGS through the university they plan to attend in September.  The Centre for Neuroscience Studies deadline for OGS award applications is February 1st each year.

Scholarship Value: $15,000 for one academic year, normally paid out in 3 equal installments.  The award is not renewable.

Learn more at School of Graduate Studies 

Federal and Tri-Council Award (CIHR/NSERC)

Students should apply for all scholarships and awards for which they are eligible and many apply in the fall prior to starting a graduate degree program. Applicants who hold awards are given priority admission. Check the agency websites for eligibility requirements and instructions about how to apply.  The deadline for CIHR/NSERC awards is in the fall for the next academic year.

For information on CIHR 

For information on NSERC 

Learn more at School of Graduate Studies

Internal Awards

Graduate Entrance Tuition Award (GETA)

Is awarded to the top-ranked domestic MSc/PhD incoming graduate student.  The value of the award is based on the acutal domestic tuition assessment approved by Queen's University Board of Trustees for the upcoming academic session. This award is not renewable and is adjudicated by the CNS graduate committee.  No application is necessary.

Tri-Agency Recipient Recognition Awards (TARRAs)

The TARRA provides one time only "top-up" funding ($5,000 for Master’s and $7,500 for Doctoral students), for all new graduate students holding new Tri-Agency awards (Scholarships or Fellowships or Awards from NSERC, SSHRC, or CIHR) valued between $17,500 and $35,000.