PhD Program

Students at CNS are exposed to cutting-edge neuroscience research through the CNS faculty, whose interests span the gamut from molecular to systems and cognitive neuroscience. Research at CNS is highly interdisciplinary and reflects the diverse backgrounds of the faculty themselves. The department offers world-class facilities and equipment together with a vibrant environment for research that consists of journal clubs, seminars and workshops.

The CNS PhD program is designed to provide a solid foundation of neuroscience for students with absolutely no prior background/experience in neuroscience. Incoming first year PhD students are not pre-assigned to an advisor, but are instead asked to take the entire first semester to decide on the lab that they wish to join for their PhD. They are encouraged to talk to the faculty & students in each lab and also do a lab rotation if required in order to make an informed decision. In addition, they are required to take two core courses offered by the CNS faculty: (1) Introduction to Molecular Neuroscience and (2) Introduction to Systems Neuroscience – which also helps them understand and form a preference for the kind of neuroscience research they wish to perform. The students make the final choice of their thesis advisor/laboratory by the end of the first semester.

PhD students are provided with a monthly stipend (per institute norms) and with accommodation in the student hostels at IISc. Campus life at IISc is extremely vibrant with a broad spectrum of cultural and sports activities.

How to apply

We welcome students from any background to apply to our PhD program. We don’t expect you to know a lot of neuroscience – this would be unfair considering that there are hardly any colleges that teach neuroscience at the undergraduate level! Rather, we expect you to have a good understanding of your own undergraduate curriculum – be it biology or engineering! Neuroscience is an inherently multi-disciplinary field, and the varied backgrounds of our PhD students provides an ideal setting for tackling neuroscience research questions from diverse perspectives.


Admissions to the Phd program are typically announced in January with an application deadline in April. Candidates are then shortlisted for the interviews which typically are held in the first week of June. The interview results are announced during that week itself. Selected PhD students join IISc in the first week of August.


To apply for the CNS PhD program, we require you to have a Master’s degree in any branch of Science or four-year Bachelor’s degree in any branch of Medicine/ Engineering/ Technology/ Agriculture/ Veterinary Science/ Pharmacy. Candidates who opt for PhD program should possess valid Certificates (as on 1st August 2014) in one of the national entrance tests such as GATE / CSIR-UGC NET for JRF / UGC NET for JRF/ DBT-JRF/ ICMR-JRF/ JEST / NBHM Screening Test / INSPIRE fellows (for Ph D). Students with a 3-year BSc degree are not eligible for the direct PhD programme and must apply to the Integrated PhD programme.

For more details about the admissions process for both PhD and integrated PhD programmes please see the following link

Interview process

We conduct two rounds of interviews for shortlisted candidates. Our interview questions are based on the premise that, if you understand your own undergraduate subjects well, there’s a good chance that you will also understand fully the neuroscience that you are taught here. Apart from questions related to your undergraduate curriculum, we expect you to be comfortable with basic mathematics at the 10th class level. The interview results are announced within a day or two after they are completed.

See also


SP Arun was awarded “the Senior Fellowship” from the Wellcome-DBT India Alliance
2 Dec 2017

Sridhar Devarajan was awarded the “Pratiksha Trust Young Investigator Award”
4 Dec 2017

THE MAGAZINE “Spooling The Tangles”
5 Mar 2018

“IISc team identifies an early-stage biomarker for Alzheimer’s”
10 Feb 2018

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