Neuroscience, PhD


Delaware State University offers the only Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Neuroscience in Delaware — and is one of the most innovative in the mid-Atlantic region. Launched in 2007, this rapidly growing program combines the resources of three institutions and unites researchers from multiple disciplines working at the cutting edge of neuroscience.

Our program unites neuroscience faculty from across Delaware in a statewide research and training network; partner institutions include the Nemours Foundation (associated with the A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital) and the University of Delaware. Our PhD students can pursue dissertation research with faculty from Delaware State University in three different departments, or any of its partner institutions.

The neuroscience network’s size and breadth enables PhD students to explore the full range of neuroscience subspecialties, including

  • Molecular biology
  • Neurochemistry
  • Neurophysiology and electrophysiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Diseases and disorders of the nervous system
  • Psychology/behavior

The program establishes a nurturing environment for emerging scholars, with emphasis on mentorship and collaboration.

Professional Preparation

Delaware State’s neuroscience PhD program cultivates a broad range of professional skills. Doctoral candidates have the opportunity to perform research and to collaborate with investigators in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, while getting first-hand experience in

  • writing grants
  • publishing scientific papers
  • attending and presenting at national conferences
  • teaching undergraduate courses
  • attending seminars at DSU and partner institutions

The program enables doctoral students to develop professional networks and build research skills, laying the foundation for a career in neuroscientific research.

Research and Experience

Delaware State University has active research projects in many different areas of neuroscience, including

  • behavior
  • development
  • aging
  • cellular / molecular
  • clinical neuroscience
  • biomechanics
  • model systems of learning and memory
  • neurophysiology

Admission Requirements

Admission is considered for applicants who have submitted a complete application, and who meet all admission criteria as outlined below. Considering that there are a limited number of seats, will be evaluated on a competitive basis by the Graduate Program Committee based on the following:

  • Personal Statement 
    The personal statement must demonstrate research experience, scientific writing capacity, scientific reasoning and critical thinking, and goal-oriented and progressive thinking that links previous experience with both short-term and long-term academic and professional goals.
  • Transcript
    Minimum transcript criteria include a 3.0 overall GPA, Bachelor’s Degree conferred in Biology or similar field. Pre-requisite courses include General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics, Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Statistics, Biochemistry.
  • GREs
    GRE Scores for the General Test must reflect an overall percentile score of 100, with a minimum percentile score of 25 within the three content areas (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing). Discipline-specific GREs (e.g. biology) are not considered for evaluation.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    Three letters of recommendation are those that indicate the reviewer’s support of the applicant in terms of their academic strength, personal character, and academic potential of the applicant.

Financial Support

The department admits a limited number of students to the graduate programs so that they can be supported with tuition scholarships and research stipends from grants; however, funding is not guaranteed upon admission. Admission without funding is not usually a viable option, unless the student has a formal financial commitment letter from a faculty sponsor from the Biology department.

The program is considered a career endeavor. In some cases, students will be partially supported by teaching assistantships. In all cases students are expected to focus full-time on their studies and research. No student enrolled in either of the MS program and supported financially through DSU will be allowed to take up employment elsewhere without permission from advisor, GPC and department chair.


DSU has fourteen faculty doing neuroscience related research in three different departments. Because the PhD program in Neuroscience is interdisciplinary and multi-institutional, doctoral candidates work with a broad array of faculty and are exposed to diverse perspectives, techniques, and theoretical approaches. Faculty members at Delaware State and its partner institutions are engaged in pioneering research funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and other agencies. 

Current DSU Biology faculty with Research Related to Neuroscience

  • Dr. Michael Gitcho: Neurodegeneration and neuroprotection models of Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Dr. Melissa Harrington: Multielectrode physiology with invertebrate and mammalian cell culture model systems
  • Dr. Y. Hwan Kim: Vertebrate models of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Dr. Hakeem Lawal: Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease models using D. melanogaster
  • Dr. Murali Temburni: Electrophysiology and epilepsy studies in an avian chick embryo model system
  • Dr. Miki Ii: Neurophysiology and behavior

Required Courses

View the course curriculum

View the course descriptions