Viability: Physics undergrad to Neuroscience/Psychology PhD?


According to this UC Berkley site physics is an appropriate background as long as you meet some additional requirements.


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Updated on December 24, 2022


  • Ferreroire
    Ferreroire 11 months

    I'm currently an undergraduate physics major entering my senior year in Fall 2017. However, I've had a change of interests and I wish to pursue something along the lines of psychology or neuroscience for graduate school. I've only had the scantest formal psychology education, but I do have a 4.0/4.0 overall GPA in my favor (as a different major, but I've also consistently done well in my humanities electives).

    How viable is such a transition from the point of view of a potential PhD advisor in these two fields? I know that there is cross-pollination across fields such as physics and engineering, but do PhD programs in neuroscience, for example, offer similar leeway?

    PS: I should also mention that I'm an international student studying in the US, and I would also want to do a PhD strictly within the US.

    • Bryan Krause
      Bryan Krause over 6 years
      A lot of people from a physics background do neuroscience - there is a lot of overlap, and neuroscience is extremely interdisciplinary (lots of more senior professors would have degrees in areas like physics, electrical engineering, because neuroscience is young). Your biggest difficulty will be a lack of any research experience in biology, though if you've done some research in physics that could count. You might be best off working in a neuroscience lab for a year (I know this can be tricky for international students). Skills in programming will give you an advantage.
    • StrongBad
      StrongBad over 6 years
      You may get better answers at if you flag the question, I can move it there.