How to Apply

An admissions committee comprised of representatives from the participating departments and units vet students applying to the Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program (CNAP). The explicit aim of the committee is to seek out and select students who wish to work on higher human brain function using concepts and methods that cut across traditional departmental boundaries. Qualified students will include those with undergraduate training in biology, psychology, computer science, philosophy, engineering, or other fields relevant for cognitive neuroscience. Scores on the general test of the GRE are required of all applicants. No subject test is required. TOEFL scores are required of international applicants. However, grades and GREs are only two factors taken into consideration in the review for admission. Letters of evaluation and recommendation and a statement of research interests are particularly important. In addition, prior research experience is helpful.


Applications for admission should be made via Duke University Graduate School. Information on how to apply as well as further explanation about requirements for application can be found on the Duke Graduate School website. The Graduate School requires that applicants use its electronic application.

On the drop-down menu in the Graduate School application form, select “Cognitive Neuroscience” as the proposed department/program, and select “Ph.D.” as the highest degree sought.

We receive many applications from well-qualified applicants and are unfortunately only able to accept a few. It is sometimes possible to share outstanding applications with other groups on campus. If you are interested in having your application shared with others at Duke, make sure to check the appropriate box during the electronic application process.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submission of applications for admission is December 1. The application fee is $95. We encourage you to complete the application well before the December 1 deadline. The new GRE analytic writing test takes longer to score than previous GRE tests. Please take the exam early enough so that we have your scores by December 1. Please note that the institutional code for Duke is 5156. No code for specific departments is necessary.

Review and Notification

The admissions committee reviews applications in December/early January and identifies promising candidates. A group of applicants is then invited to the Duke campus for a visit in February.