PhD Program

Students at CNS are exposed to cutting-edge neuroscience research through the CNS faculty, whose interests span the gamut from molecular to systems and cognitive neuroscience. Research at CNS is highly interdisciplinary and reflects the diverse backgrounds of the faculty themselves. The department offers world-class facilities and equipment together with a vibrant environment for research that consists of journal clubs, seminars and workshops.

The CNS PhD program is designed to provide a solid foundation of neuroscience for students with absolutely no prior background/experience in neuroscience. Incoming first-year PhD students are not pre-assigned to an advisor, but are instead asked to take the entire first semester to decide on the lab that they wish to join for their PhD. They are encouraged to talk to the faculty & students in each lab and do at least 3 lab rotations of their preference in order to make an informed decision. In addition, they are required to take two core courses offered by the CNS faculty: (1) Systems Neuroscience and (2) Molecular and Cellular Basis of Behaviour, and also choose from elective courses such as Cognitive Neuroscience and Developmental Neuroscience depending on their interests. These courses are aimed at forming a broad foundation of neuroscience knowledge for their research. They also help students understand and form a preference for the kind of neuroscience research they wish to undertake. Students make the final choice of their thesis advisor/laboratory by the end of the first semester.

PhD students are provided with a monthly stipend (per institute norms) and with accommodation in the student hostels at IISc. Campus life at IISc is extremely vibrant with a broad spectrum of cultural and sports activities.

How to apply

We welcome students from any background to apply to our PhD program. We don’t expect you to know a lot of neuroscience – this would be unfair considering that there are hardly any colleges that teach neuroscience at the undergraduate or graduate level! Rather, we expect you to have a good understanding of your own undergraduate and graduate curriculum – be it biology or engineering! Neuroscience is an inherently multi-disciplinary field, and the varied backgrounds of our PhD students provide an ideal setting for tackling neuroscience research questions from diverse perspectives.


Admissions to the Phd program are typically announced in January with an application deadline in March or April. Candidates are then shortlisted for the interviews which typically are held in May or June. The interview results are announced during that week itself. Selected PhD students join IISc in the first week of August.


The eligibility criteria to apply for the CNS PhD program along with other relevant info can be found at the following links:

Interview process

We receive a large number of applications to join our PhD program each year. We shortlist candidates from each mode of admissions based on their marks and then call for interviews. We conduct two rounds of interviews for shortlisted candidates. Our interview questions are based on the premise that, if you understand your own undergraduate and graduate subjects well, there’s a good chance that you will also understand fully the neuroscience that you are taught here. Apart from questions related to your undergraduate and graduate curriculum, we expect you to be comfortable with basic mathematics at the 10th class level. The interview results are announced within a day or two after they are completed.

For any CNS admissions-related queries, please write to

See also


Neuroscience of Consciousness Initiative
16 Jun 2023

Tanmay Zagade has been selected for the Bayer Fellowship Program 2022-23 toward supporting his Master’s degree in Life Sciences at IISc.
6 Apr 2023

Anuj Srivastava’s paper “Avoiding catastrophic referral failures in medical images under domain shift” has been selected for an Oral Presentation at the ICLR 2023 Workshop on Domain Generalization.
6 Apr 2023

Shankhadeep Mukherjee has received a Best Presentation Award in the Brain, Computation and Data Science cluster at the EECS Research Symposium 2023.
6 Apr 2023

View all