Welcome to the School of Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences - Neuroscience and Physiology

Students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty comprising the Neuroscience and Physiology (NP) group emphasize an integrative approach to the study of these two important and related sub-disciplines. Neuroscience identifies the neural substrates of behavior, whereas Physiology investigates organismal functions.

Research within Neuroscience and Physiology spans broad organization levels within Biology, from genes and molecules and cells to tissues, circuits and behaving animals. We employ a variety of experimental approaches, including genetic, molecular, cellular, and whole-animal techniques such as microelectrode recordings, microscopy, optical imaging, EEG, mathematical modeling, and behavioral observations. Current research asks fundamental questions in molecular neuroethology, cellular, systems, and human neuroscience, and cellular and transport physiology.

The Neuroscience and Physiology sequence is an option for students enrolled in the Ph.D. degree program within Biological Sciences. We offer a comprehensive curriculum to graduate students interested in Neuroscience and Physiology. Sequences provide an exciting and challenging academic environment, by combining research excellence with a strong commitment to education, and are tightly integrated into laboratory research.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to a doctoral program must:

  • have earned a master's degree or equivalent in a discipline appropriate to the specific doctoral program
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work (approximately the junior and senior years)
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for all graduate-level coursework
  • provide official scores from the GRE general exam (use institution code 1319)
  • provide three letters of recommendation
  • present official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must: 

  • upload your curriculum vitae (i.e., résumé): Your vita should include any information that will help the School to assess your potential as a student in our graduate program. It should include a summary of your educational background; previous employment or positions related to science; current status; research activities, including publications; and any other relevant information, such as memberships in professional societies and any honors and awards you have received.
  • provide a statement of academic and professional goals: Your one- to two-page statement of academic and professional goals should identify the general area of research in which you are interested and the faculty member(s) with whom you have corresponded with regard to serving as your possible dissertation advisor (i.e., major professor). In addition, describe your plans after completing graduate school.
  • Spring and summer applicants must provide three letters of recommendation. Your letters should be from faculty members or others who are familiar with your academic record and can evaluate your potential for graduate study. Spring applicants will send letters of recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies; fall applicants will submit names and e-mail addresses of references for letters of recommendation within the online application.

    Director of Graduate Studies
    School of Biological Sciences
    Illinois State University
    Normal, IL 61790-4120

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall (August)  January 30 
Spring (January)  October 1 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.


To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,

  • be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).


Graduate assistants receive

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs) are available for qualified students.
TAs in the Ph.D. program currently receive $1800/month for 9 months plus tuition waivers. Opportunities for up to 3 months/year of additional support are available.

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone Note
Paul Garris  Felmley Annex 233  pagarri@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-2664  Sequence Coordinator 
Steven Juliano  Felmley Hall Annex 335  sajulian@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-2642  Graduate Coordinator