Students admitted to the program from a variety of backgrounds. Some come from disciplines closely related to the likes of psychology, neuroscience, computer science, cognitive science and linguistics, and others.

This richness of backgrounds is a source of great strength for the program because of its students. ALTHOUGH we do not stipulate the kinds of backgrounds students should have, we do expect applicants for admission to have outstanding academic records, and to be reliable to demonstrate their capacity for thinking and clear formal expression of ideas.

For more information about joining our program see:

Still have questions? Contact our graduate coordinator Kathy Corser at (585) 275-1844 or

How to Apply

Submit the University's secure online application for graduate study. The application for the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences can be found in Arts, Sciences and Engineering link. Our graduate program does not have an application fee.

The closing date for applications for admission in Fall 2025 is December 1, 2024. We cannot guarantee consideration to applications received later than that date or incomplete on that date.

The department's Graduate Admissions Committee reviews all applications. Candidates who are under serious consideration will be invited to visit the department. Interviews are arranged by invitation only. Decisions on all applications will be made before April 1.

The department accepts students only for full-time PhD study and beginning only in the fall semester.

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A complete application to the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences should include the following items:

  • Online application for graduate study
  • Letters of recommendation (a minimum of two)
  • Personal statement (statement of purpose)
  • College transcripts (official copies)
  • GRE scores (not required)
  • TOEFL scores (official report), if applicable

It is not necessary to send hard copies of supplemental materials if your online application.

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Standardized Tests

GRE is not required.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE):

GRE exam scores, verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections, are optional to all applicants to our graduate program. An advanced test in a field of specialization is not required.

The University of Rochester institution code number for the GRE score report is 2928. Department code number is 2002 Cognitive Psychology.

GRE test scores are valid and reportable for five years.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS):

Either test is required of all applicants whose native language is not English. The requirement may be waived upon other satisfactory demonstration of competency in English. See waiver requirements under information for non-US students.

TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid and reportable for two years after the test date and there is no limit to the number of times you can take the test.

The University of Rochester institution code number for the TOEFL score report is 7267. Department code number is 58 Psychology, Experimental/Developmental.

Obtain information and registration materials for these exams from your own institution, or write to:
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541
ETS website

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Information for Non-US Students

English Proficiency Test Score Requirements

All international students whose native language is not English are required to provide proof of English language proficiency through the submission of official test scores from one of the following exams. Scores more than two years old from the application deadline are not valid.

  • TOEFL or TOEFL iBT Home Edition
  • Duolingo

To send in IELTS scores please use the following address:

University of Rochester
Graduate Studies
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd
P.O. Box 270401
Rochester NY 14627

TOEFL scores can be submitted using the code 2928 (A department code is not necessary).

Duolingo score can be sent directly to the University of Rochester at no cost.

English Proficiency Test Score Waiver Policy

The English proficiency test requirement is waived for citizens of the following countries whose native language is English:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Commonwealth Caribbean Nations
  • Ghana
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Virgin Islands

The requirement may also be waived if a student has completed at least three years of full time and in-person postsecondary study in one of the countries listed above or the United States. We reserve the right to require further demonstration of English proficiency, even if you have received your degree from one of the above mentioned countries.

If you would like to be granted a waiver for these exams please email

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Personal Statement

Your personal statement should describe past research experience, interests for future research training in graduate school, and future plans following graduate school.

The University of Rochester motto of Meliora – or “ever better” - deeply integrates critical core values into all that we do. These core values of equity, leadership, integrity, openness, respect and accountability define not only who we are, but also who we hope to become. Based on our motto please share something about your background, lived experiences, or viewpoint(s) that speaks to how you can contribute to your intended field of study, your community or the University of Rochester to make it “ever better”.

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Applicants are required to submit academic transcripts from each college/university attended. You may submit your transcript using one of the following methods:

  1. Upload a scanned copy of your official transcripts. Include any transcript key or guide that your school provides. Scanned transcripts must be clear and legible, and documentation for each institution should be saved in a separate single file. See application instructions for further details on scanned transcripts. After uploading your transcript please preview the file to ensure readability. Preferred method.
  2. Send transcripts via postal mail directly to this department. Use the address shown in the mailing address section below.

If your transcripts are not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation. Please note that the University of Rochester reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of final official transcripts.

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Letters of Recommendation

Provide the names, titles, and addresses of three present or former academic references whom you have asked to recommend you. If you have been employed six months or more, a letter from your supervisor may be desirable as one of the three recommendation letters.

Please double check the email addresses. These people will be contacted via email and will be asked to upload their recommendation via the web (we may also contact them by mail or phone to verify their recommendation). Contact your references ahead of time, so that they can expect our request for a recommendation. If any of your recommenders prefer they can fill out a paper form instead of submitting their reference online. Please note that you still need to enter your recommenders' information in the application.

You will be able to view the status of the electronic submission of your recommenders, and you will have the ability to re-send email to the recommender if necessary by returning to this page after you have submitted your application and clicking on the 'Recommender Status' button that will appear after your application is submitted.

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Supplementary Application Materials

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences does not require applicants to submit a sample of writing; however, applicants are welcome to include supplementary materials, such as CV, honors essays, theses, published works or the like, that they believe may enhance their application to this department. If publications are listed, please provide complete references. 

Additional supplemental materials can be submitted electronically by uploading your documents to the online application form.

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The University of Rochester and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences value diversity and are committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Further, the University complies with all applicable nondiscrimination laws in the administration of its policies, programs, and activities.

Questions on compliance should be directed to the College, or to this department, or to the University's equal opportunity coordinator, University of Rochester, P.O. Box 270501, Rochester, NY 14627-0501. Phone (585) 275-4321.

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Mailing Address

The contact person for information about the graduate program in brain and cognitive sciences is:

Kathy Corser, Graduate Coordinator
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
University of Rochester
358 Meliora Hall, Box 270268
Rochester, NY 14627-0268

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