Neuroscience is a branch of life sciences that explores everything to do with the human brain. Because of its complexity, neuroscience often works closely with other scientific fields such as psychology, linguistics, engineering, biochemistry, and more. It plays a pivotal role in understanding medical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, autism, and more.

Neuroscience is one of the newer fields of medical studies. There are still plenty of mysteries surrounding the human brain, and taking neuroscience will undoubtedly be a challenge for anyone who wishes to take it. If you’re ready to pursue neuroscience and want to learn from the leading experts in the field, here is a list of the top universities in the world for neuroscience!

Top Neuroscience Schools in the World

1. Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the United States and one of the most prestigious neuroscience schools worldwide. Part of the prestigious Ivy League, Harvard University has produced more Nobel Prize awardees than any other university in the world. The school offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from its ten academic departments.

Harvard University’s Division of Medical Sciences is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that trains doctoral students in biomedical sciences. Neuroscience is one of the six areas of study along with bioinformatics and integrative genomics, biological and biomedical sciences, immunology, speech and hearing bioscience and technology, and virology. You can specialize in neuroscience while still studying the other five topics. At the end of this program, you will receive a Ph.D. in neurobiology.

Additionally, while not a degree in itself, Harvard University also offers minors in neuroscience.

2. University of California, San Francisco

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a public research university located in San Francisco, California, United States, and a top school for neuroscience across the globe. It is part of the University of California school system and is devoted to health sciences. UCSF is ranked among the top universities in the world in medical research and training.

Neuroscience is one of the many postgraduate programs offered at UCSF. The university’s Ph.D. in Neuroscience program trains doctoral students in both general and specialized neuroscience research. Students take a combination of neuroscience courses and courses directly related to neurosciences such as psychology, biochemistry, computer sciences, and more. As part of the program, students get to conduct top-of-the-line research with some of the world’s leading experts in neuroscience.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Established in 1861, MIT is a leading school for neuroscience around the world and has always been primarily focused on science and research. The school has been at the forefront of many technological innovations and advancements throughout modern history, particularly in the fields of STEM.

The MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, according to their official website, aims to understand “how the mechanisms of the brain give rise to the mind”. Neuroscience is one of the areas of research this department tackles, though the term neuroscience is used quite broadly. Oftentimes, their innovative scientific research stretches the boundaries of neuroscience and leads them to new and uncharted territories. Presently, MIT offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees relating to neuroscience.

4. Stanford University

Stanford University is a private research university located in Stanford, California, United States. Considered by many to be their “dream school”, Stanford University is a member of the prestigious Ivy League and is one of the top universities for neuroscience in the world. It has produced numerous, prolific alumni in the fields of business, law, education, and medicine.

The Stanford University School of Medicine offers a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. This program emphasizes being interdisciplinary—students will not only get to learn from neuroscience experts, but biochemistry, pathology, psychology, computer science, and other experts as well. This is a holistic approach that allows students to study and understand the inner workings of the nervous system from all sorts of angles.

5. University College London

University College London (UCL) is the third-highest ranking university in the United Kingdom behind Oxbridge and consistently ranks within the top 10 worldwide. Located in the heart of London, it is one of the country’s largest universities by student population and offers a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

UCL is the #1 European university in the field of neuroscience. The school offers general (bachelor’s and master’s) and specialized (master’s and Ph.D.) neuroscience degrees. The length of the degrees ranges from three to four years, depending on how specialized it is. Some examples of their specialized courses include developmental neuroscience, translational neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience.

6. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins or JHU) is located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. It has the distinction of being the oldest research university in the country and one of the top universities for neuroscience in the world. With its ten domestic and international campuses, students at Johns Hopkins can choose from a huge selection of degrees in arts and sciences, engineering, medicine, and more.

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in neuroscience. Their graduate program was one of the first neuroscience programs established in the country and is internationally renowned. Here, students can enjoy a dynamic environment where they can collaborate with fellow neuroscientists and other science departments and enjoy a good student-to-teacher ratio.

7. Columbia University

Columbia University is an Ivy League private university in New York City, United States. It is the oldest higher education institution in the state and frequently ranks among the top universities worldwide. It is known for its contributions to science—the theory of plate tectonics and continental drifts, brain-computer interface, and nuclear magnetic resonance are just some of the contributions their graduates have made to the scientific community.

Columbia’s Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior was one of the first of its kind in the country. The curriculum is specifically tailored to suit the students’ backgrounds and interests. In addition to the regular neuroscience courses, students can enroll in psychology, physics, mathematics, computer science, and other courses that tickle their fancy. This is because Columbia believes in collaborating with other science departments and laboratories.


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About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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