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We welcome candidates with a keen interest in neuroscience combined with an undergraduate degree in a relevant field (for example Neuroscience, Life Sciences, Physics, Maths or Computer Science) at a minimum of upper second-class UK Bachelor’s level or overseas equivalent.

How to apply

Your application will consist of the following:

  • A completed UCL application form (details below)
  • A current CV
  • Transcripts or qualification certificates and, if available, GRE scores
  • An essay focusing on what you see as a key unanswered question in neuroscience. In 1000 words or less, please discuss why you are interested in this question, how you would approach its solution, and what impact a solution would have for our understanding of the brain.
  • Two reference letters.

To start your application, please visit UCL's online applications page and select the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour as the department before clicking the search button.

The relevant programme code is RRDSWNSYSN19 and the academic year 2021-22. Click the Apply now button. This will bring you to the online application form.

Once you have started filling out the form, you can save it and return to it later. The deadline for applications is midnight (GMT) Sunday 15 November 2020.

Please ensure your given referees are able to provide a reference by the deadline.

We will use the email address given in your application for all correspondence. Please make sure that you still have access to it at the start of the next academic year.


  • Successful applicants will start September 2021
  • Please upload your essay under ‘personal statement’ in the application form.
  • The essay replaces a personal statement and a research statement. It is not necessary to upload a separate research statement.
  • You may include illustrations in your essay if it adds clarity.
  • Literature references are not included in the 1000-word cap for the essay.
  • You do not need to name a supervisor on the application form - students in the Programme select a supervisor at the end of the first year.
  • The required English proficiency level is “good” or above, as defined by UCL. The English language certifications accepted and the minimum “good level” scores are listed here.
  • Please note, if English is not your first language, you will need to provide proof that your English skills fulfil the required criteria.
  • Neither the GRE nor the GMAT is a prerequisite.

Contact us

If you have any further questions, please contact us at SWC-PhDprogramme@ucl.ac.uk.

We look forward to your application!Photo of Gatsby and SWC PhD students talking at a Centre event