What does NACS stand for?
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

What kind of undergraduate classes do I need to take in order to be considered for admission to NACS?
Most students who apply to our program have taken courses in neuroscience, biology, psychology, and math. The academic coursework is dependent in many cases on the research that you are interested in doing during your graduate studies.

Do I need to have an advisor in place before I apply to the program? 
No. However, in order for you to be recommended for admission to the program, a NACS faculty member must be willing to serve as your advisor.

How many applications do you typically receive, and how many students do you typically admit?
NACS receives around 80 applications, and we enroll 8-10 students each year.

What can I do to be a strong candidate for the program?
Strong applicants have taken a broad selection of coursework in neuroscience (which may include cellular/molecular, systems, and cognitive approaches) or cognitive science (which may include artificial intelligence, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and education).  Courses in related areas, such as math and biology, can also be seen as a strength for some research areas. Strong applicants also have research experience. In addition, they have a sense of their own research interests, which they clearly articulate in their personal statement. Finally, they have strong letters of recommendation. 

How will I be funded?
The NACS program guarantees financial support (stipend and tuition remission) for five years to students accepted into the NACS program.  Financial support is provided from a number of sources, including research assistantships, teaching assistantships and fellowships/scholarships.  Note: Students do not have a teaching assistantship in their first year.

Can I apply for my own external funding?
Yes. Once accepted into the NACS program, we encourage you to apply for external funding. NACS has a Grants Development Specialist to help you with the applications.

Does NACS offer lab rotations?
Lab rotations are not mandatory. Although it is uncommon, in some instances a lab rotation in the first year can be arranged in cases where the applicant is interested in two potential mentors and both of those potential mentors are interested in having the applicant rotate in their labs before selecting a lab to join. The applicant should discuss this possibility with the potential mentors as early as possible.

Does NACS offer a part-time program?
No. NACS accepts only full-time graduate students. The complexity and depth of the neuroscience and cognitive sciences require full-time study to successfully complete doctoral-level research.

What is the average time to degree for students in the NACS program?
The average time to degree is 5.5 years.

Does NACS have a master's program?
No. NACS does not have a master's program. However, NACS offers an optional non-thesis or thesis MS degree to students in the NACS program who wish to earn a NACS MS degree in route to their PhD, and to students in the program who need to exit the program before completing their PhD.

Does NACS have a summer internship program?
No. Students interested in internships can contact the NACS faculty directly to see if they have openings in their labs.

Does the NACS program provide application fee waivers?
Yes. To be considered for an application fee waiver, by November 13 applicants need to submit a Request for Application Fee Waiver form.  After the form is reviewed by the NACS program, NACS Assistant Director Pam Komarek will email the applicant to let them know if they will receive an application fee waiver. 

Who do I contact if I have questions about the NACS program?
Send an email to Pam Komarek at pkomarek@umd.edu.

Graduate School FAQs


Last modified
08/23/2023 - 9:09 am