Admissions and Aid

The M.S. Program in Cognitive Neuroscience was approved by the State of New York in November, 2017, and the inaugural class of students began their coursework and research in Fall 2018. This is the first M.S. Program in Cognitive Neuroscience in the United States that focuses on cognitive neuroscience, which examines the neural basis of cognitive functions, including perception, attention, memory, language, and decision-making.

This program prepares our graduates to go on to doctoral programs for further research or get jobs in varied industries, including the biotechnology sector, data analytics, medical imaging, pharmaceuticals, and many other related fields.

In addition to the admissions requirements below, prospective students should also review the following information:

Admissions Deadline

April 15 for fall enrollment

Admissions Requirements

We do not have minimum GPA or GRE score requirements, but the program is selective. The Admissions Committee takes into consideration all elements of an application. All supporting documents need to be uploaded to the online application system by the program's deadline. In your application, please include all of the following:


Transcripts must be submitted from each college or university attended even if you did not complete a degree or did not enroll in courses in your current field.

This includes: (1) All credit bearing coursework even if that did not lead to a degree on a transcript from the issuing institution where the courses were originally taken, (2) all credit bearing coursework even if that was for a degree program unrelated to the discipline now being pursued, (3) all credit bearing coursework that may be in progress (transcripts that only list courses in progress for the current semester must still be uploaded for review, even if they do not yet contain grades for the current or most recent semester), (4) all coursework that was transferred to another institution must be also submitted on a transcript from the original issuing institution, including community college coursework that was transferred to a 4-year degree program (the community college transcript must also be uploaded to the online application).
This does not include: (1) Credits from study abroad coursework or credits taken as part of AP or other high school college level coursework, or (2) coursework that was non-credit bearing or taken at non-academic institutions such as religious, career, or non-academic technical colleges.
An unofficial transcript is all that is needed for review purposes.  If you are admitted, however, an official transcript must be submitted to the Office of Admissions prior to enrolling in the program. 

You must submit 2 letters of recommendation. These letters should be from professors who have had you in class and can speak to your strengths as a student and a scholar.  If you absolutely cannot obtain academic letters, then professional letters of recommendation may be submitted.

A GRE exam is required for admission into the program even if you already have a Master’s degree. However, a GRE subject test is not required. We do not waive the GRE requirement. You will be required to upload an unofficial, current score report when completing your application. A scan or screenshot of your GRE scores will suffice. If you are accepted into the program and decide to enroll, you will be required to send your official GRE score report (from ETS) at the Admissions Office. The institutional code for the GRE is 2113.

Please note that GRE exam scores are valid for five years.  You will need to take the test again if your scores are older than five years.

An applicant must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they have a post-secondary degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English-only and located in a country that recognizes English as an Official Language. Please note applicants who have only studied in Puerto Rico or India must complete the TOEFL or IELTS. The TOEFL test is administered internationally by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and you need to request that the ETS report examination results directly to College Code 2113. The IELTS test is administered by Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Your applicant statement should be approximately 2 double-spaced pages and convey your interests and qualifications for the program.
A successful applicant statement usually does the following: (1) articulates a particular topic area in which you propose to do research, (2) positions your proposed project within an ongoing scholarly conversation (i.e. that you want to connect your work to existing work in the field, but build on it and add something new), (3) argues for your project as urgent within the field and within academic studies, (4) connects your scholarly passions to your personal motivations for taking on the work (this can take many forms), (5) shows an awareness of your field, but can also be understood by people outside your field, and (6) shows how your academic background has prepared you to do this work.
Please specify a mentor or laboratory in your statement, as this information will be very helpful to you and us in matching you with a mentor and thesis advisor.

The general admissions requirements, including the application fee, apply to this program. For more details, please see the Admissions page.


Because the Admissions Committee takes into consideration all elements of an application, the area of your undergraduate degree is not critical. We have accepted students with backgrounds in the humanities with limited science and math prerequisites, and they have done very well in our courses. However, the coursework may be challenging without a strong foundation in basic science and math courses. In fact, the Neuroscience core courses may be especially challenging because many of instructors will expect some basic knowledge in cell biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that students have some undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, statistics, and psychology.

You may submit a resume as a part of your application. 

COVID-19 Considerations

We are aware that the COVID-19 situation may prevent applicants for enrollment in Fall 2022 from taking the GRE exam. Applicants who have already taken the exam will be required to submit their scores. Applicants who have not yet taken the exam are encouraged to submit all other application materials. The Program Admissions Committee will review each file and may request additional writing samples or interviews as alternative means of assessing the qualifications typically measured by these standardized tests.

Tuition and Fees

Master’s students at The Graduate Center who are residents of New York State and registered for a minimum of 12 credits per semester will pay a flat fee for tuition. Out-of-state residents and students taking less than 12 credits will be charged on a per-credit basis.

See current master’s tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

While The Graduate Center does not currently offer full-tuition scholarships or additional stipends for living expenses, there are funding opportunities available to master’s students that can help cover the cost of attendance, including scholarships, federal and private loans, and federal work-study.

Learn more about financial aid for master’s students »