Colorado State University


Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences

PhD Program

Graduate studies in the MCIN Program provide students with the knowledge about interdisciplinary neurosciences, as well as the communication skills and technical expertise to serve as the foundation for the doctoral students to become an independent investigator in academia, biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industries.

Suggested Application Date: For Admission in Fall 2019 - Janurary 5th, 2019


About the Program | Apply to the Program | Participating Departments | Graduate Student Guidelines

1st Year Curriculum | Stipends | Living & Housing | Student Outcomes


About the Program

This interdisciplinary graduate research and education program, established in 1986, has 32 faculty participants. The international reputation of the faculty members and their ability to attract strong extramural support has resulted in the program being designated as one of Colorado State University's centers of Research and Scholarly Excellence. Faculty research interests are focused in cellular, molecular and integrative neurobiology, with emphasis in areas related to neuronal differentiation, degeneration and regeneration, ion channels and membrane physiology, synaptic mechanisms, neuronal circuitry and chronobiology, sensory biology, artificial neural networks, cognitive neuroscience and neurovirology. Students interested in the cellular and molecular aspects of nervous system function and systems neuroscience are encouraged to apply.

Suggested Deadline Date for Fall 2019 Admission is Janurary 5th

Back to Top


Apply to the Program

Applications should be submitted online via the Graduate School.

Questions should be directed to:
Janice Berning
Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Neurosciences Program
Special Academic Unit
Colorado State University
1680 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1617

Back to Top


Participating Departments

Students can apply and be admitted directly to the program, or they can be admitted into one of the participating departments (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Computer Science, Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences, Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, or Psychology) and participate in program activities. Students admitted directly into the Program participate in laboratory rotations and may select from the laboratories of all participating faculty, regardless of their departmental affiliation, provided that the degree-offering department approves of the research topic for the Ph.D. In some instances where the degree-granting department is not the home department of the research advisor, assignment of a co-advisor from the home department will be necessary. The co-advisor will serve as a member of the student advisory committee.

At the end of the first year in residence, each student must select an advisor and the department through which he or she will work toward the Ph.D. degree. No formal degree is offered through the Program, but a transcript endorsement indicating the student has successfully completed the requirements of the interdisciplinary Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences Program will become part of the student's official record.

Back to Top


Graduate Student Guidelines

Back to Top


2018-2019 1st Year Core Curriculum for Neuroscience Graduate Students

An integrated first year core curriculum provides essential material in a format that allows time for laboratory rotations. Students must take two of three options for neuroscience core classes: NB503; NB505; or PSY600b. Laboratory rotations provide exposure to essential techniques and a range of research questions. Journal clubs allow students to discuss primary literature and provide opportunities to present research articles to their peers in a relaxed environment.

Course Title Credits
NB501/BMS500 Mammalian Physiology (Neurology) 2
STAT511a Design and Data Analysis (or equivalent) 4
NB 796b Neurobiology of Disease 2
NB 793 Neuroscience Seminar Discussion 1
NB 796C Journal Club: Topics in Neuroscience 1
NB 795V Independent Study (Laboratory Rotation) Var.
NB500 Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology Readings 1 (every other fall)
NB Electives
BC 563 Molecular Genetics 4
Total Credits 15
NB505 Neuronal Circuits, Systems & Behavior 3
NB503* Developmental Neurobiology 3
BMS 545* Functional Neuroanatomy 4
PSY 600b* Cognitive Neuroscience 3
NB 793 Neuroscience Seminars Discussion 1
NB 795V Independent Study (Laboratory Rotation) Var.
NB 796D Journal Club: Topics in Neuroscience 1
NB 586 Practicum-Techniques in Neuroscience 1
Total Credits 15
Other Core Classes to consider for second year in the program:
GRAD 544 Ethical Conduct of Research (Fall)
BIOM 750 Writing, Submitting and Reviewing Grants (Fall)
GRAD 550 STEM Communications


*Students can choose one or two options: NB 503 - Developmental Neurobiology; BMS 545 - Functional Neuroanatomy; or PSY 600b - Cognitive Neuroscience.

The above is the generally recommended course of study. The Admissions and Academics Committee may recommend substitutions depending on a student's background and goals.

The recommended course of study will satisfy the majority of requirements for a PhD in Biomedical Sciences, Cellular & Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Psychology PhD requirements vary by area. Consult each Program for full requirements.

Back to Top



Students accepted into the Ph.D. program receive assistantships, usually for the duration of their graduate studies. The yearly stipend for 2015-16 is $24,000 for students accepted directly into the program. Departmental stipends may vary slightly from this amount. Tuition costs for domestic students are paid by the program or from faculty research grants that support the student. Students are responsible for fees totaling about $1,000 per year (twelve months); these fees cover the student center, student health service, student recreation center, student activities, athletics, the stadium, the auditorium-gymnasium complex, and free trans-Fort bus transportation. 

Back to Top


Living & Housing

On-campus housing for married students is available with rent starting at about $700 per month (including utilities) for modern two-bedroom units. Off-campus housing is also available near the University. Living costs in this moderately sized community are reasonable, averaging about 10 percent less than those in the Denver-Boulder area.

Back to Top


Student Outcomes

There have been 32 Ph.D. and 22 M.S. degrees conferred to students affiliated with the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences Program, some of which include the 35 new doctoral students that have been recruited directly into the program since 1994. The great majority of the graduates have successfully pursued careers in science. Of the 32 students who earned a Ph.D., 23 continued their training as postdoctoral fellows and 8 entered a science-related field.

Back to Top