Medical students in neuroscience postgraduate programs ?

Kevin Spencer kspencer at
Mon Mar 31 16:51:01 EST 1997

"Stavros P. Zanos" <stavrosz at> writes:

>Hello all,

>Im an undergraduate medical student (at the 4th year out of 6) with a
>strong interest in basic neurosciences, and some laboratory and
>computational experience. Mainly out of curiosity, I did a web search on
>european and north american graduate neuroscience schools; I noticed that a
>constant prerequisitive is a "strong (undergraduate) background in biology,
>chemistry, physics, mathematics and behavioral sciences", leaving out (?) a
>prospective student with a medical background. 

>In medical school, we are trained on courses covering virtually every
>aspect of current neuroscience research (bioph., biochem., mol. biol.,
>neurophysiol., neuropathol., neurol., neurosurg., psychol., psych., to name
>some), spending considerable time over a lab bench. Ofcourse our studies
>lack the depth of those of a specialized sciences school, but my impression
>is that the broadness of our training is perhaps of equal value.

>Do you think a medical student with an interest in basic neuroscience, and
>generally in basic sciences, could "stand a chance" among the competition
>with his/her specialized colleagues from science schools, for post-graduate
>training ?

I'm sure you would stand a good chance of gaining admission to a neuroscience
program in the US, since you do in fact have the training they are looking
for.  The reason these grad schools have not specified a medical background
is that in the US (and Canada?), undergraduates don't get medical training --
they get a general scientific background ("pre-med"), then go to medical
school after their undergraduate training.

Kevin Spencer
Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory and Beckman Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
kspencer at

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