UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience
Students who wish to be considered for admission to the UCL-NIMH Program must submit an online application through the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP) central database. The application system opens annually in August and closes in early December. For the application, students should expect to provide information on their academic history, research interest/experiences, references (3), and a personal statement. Interested applicants will need to apply through the NIH GPP Application Center . Note: The UCL-NIMH Program uses the Institutional Partnership Long Form for prospective PhD students, so it is important to make sure the correct form is completed in the GPP application portal.
Unlike most programs, the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience requires applicants to specify areas of research interest and propose a UCL-NIH mentor pair upfront as part of the online application. In addition to the application, interested applicants are required to submit a 1-2 page research proposal that outlines their prospective research project and potential mentor pairing. Competitive applicants will greatly improve their chances of being offered acceptance if they provide a well thought out research plan, identify potential mentors at NIH and UCL, and communicate with these mentors ahead of time to assure their interest in supporting the applicants’ graduate research efforts should the applicant gain admission to the program.
The GPP application portal does not have an area for applicants to submit a research proposal so we ask applicants to send proposals separately via email to the Program Director, Janet Clark and Program Administrator, Aneka Reid. Once proposals are received it will be included with the application package. Applicants should aim to send their research proposals around the time of application submission in December or by mid-January at the latest. Applicants who do not provide a research proposal and identify research mentors at UCL and NIH will not be invited to interview for the program.
Within the application, please include the following:
- Additional Information section- indicate proposed NIH and UCL investigators and also mention whether they have been contacted to serve as mentors for your intended thesis research.
- Personal Statement section- provide a statement that explains who you are as a person, student, and scientific researcher. Additionally, please address why this program is best suited for your graduate education and development.
Pre and Post Interview Process
Applicants are typically notified of interview selection on or around mid-January. Those selected for interview will travel in person or virtually as appropriate to the NIH in February, where they will meet with their proposed NIH mentors, Program Directors and Selection Committee members. Acceptance notifications for the program are sent out in March; after which newly admitted students will need to submit an application to the UCL Doctoral School to complete student registrations. By this time, selection of the UCL mentor has been finalized and students will be interviewed again by the mentor and their department’s graduate tutors, if necessary by telephone or virtual methods. Students should expect to begin work at their NIH laboratory in the summer of their admission year and simultaneously work to expand their initial research proposal into a broader proposal that includes more on research plans, timelines and project location. It is important to note that new students typically spend at least the first two weeks in London during the fall period (September/October timeframe) to register with their appropriate UCL department. After the initial visit to London, students reside where the research directs them at either the NIH or UCL campus.
This program prides itself on maintaining strong partnerships with mentors, students and staff on both ends. We accomplish this by prioritizing communication, fostering and nurturing relationships and connecting with our students regardless of location. In summary students have the full support of their NIH mentor, UCL supervisor and Program staff to achieve their educational pursuits.