What are the careers you can pursue with a Ph.D. in neuroscience?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “what can you do with a Ph.D. in neuroscience”.  We will explain what a Ph.D. in neuroscience entails, what are the different areas, and most importantly what could be the future prospect in terms of career and other endeavors. 

What are the careers you can pursue with a Ph.D. in neuroscience?

Here is the list of careers you can pursue with a Ph.D. in neuroscience:

  • Education
  • Management Consultant
  • Marketing or Advertising Consultant
  • Medical Scientist
  • Medical Writer
  • Natural Sciences Managers
  • Neuroscientists
  • Neurosurgeon
  • Psychiatrist
  • Research Scientists
  • Scientific Editor, Science or Medical Journals

What is a Ph.D. in Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is a branch of biology that focuses on the study of the nervous system, most specifically the brain, its structure, function, and processes. 

Because of its interdisciplinary nature, neuroscience touches on other disciplines like physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, philosophy, and medicine. 

A Ph.D. in neuroscience or Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience is a pursuit of lifelong knowledge in neuroscience. It is the highest form or pinnacle of scholastic degree a student of neuroscience, in this case, can achieve. 

Those who achieved this distinction can be referred to as “doctors” or scientists. Having a Ph.D. in Neuroscience means that you have extensive knowledge about the connection between brain and body and how this connection affects our overall behavior. 

This understanding is achieved through rigorous research, scientific experiments, developing hypotheses, running tests, analyzing data and drawing conclusions. 

A doctor of neuroscience is an expert in advanced studies of consciousness, cellular neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, neuroengineering, or computational neuroscience. 

Advancements in this field such as the development of new therapies for different diseases like  Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury, are also the works of some of the most successful Neuroscience doctors

Lastly, a neuroscience doctor’s work can be applied to better develop our way of treating diseases affecting the nervous system and only time will tell when will be their next breakthrough. 

How long does it take to get a Ph.D. in Neuroscience?

This is a case-to-case basis and it will also depend on your state or university but a standard Ph.D. in neuroscience will typically take up to 3 to 4 years to complete if it was taken as a full-time study. 

For the part-time program, it will require 6 to 7 years to finish but it will also depend on other variables such as the availability of courses and instructors as well as the students’.

What are the different Ph.D. specialist areas in neuroscience?

A Ph.D. in neuroscience is a general term because in reality if you pursue a doctorate degree in this field you will have to choose a specific specialized area of study. 

You could choose from the relevant but are not limited to doctoral degrees such as the following:

  • Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience – this specialization studies the effect of neural and psychological processes on our behavior and as well as neurological diseases
  • Ph.D. in clinical neuroscience – a Ph.D. in neuroscience specializes in identifying the different processes of the nervous system and how its functions affect health whereas its malfunction can cause diseases. 
  • Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience – this area focuses on the investigation of neurotransmitters and chemical compounds and their role in sending information to the brain. 
  • Ph.D. in computational neuroscience – rather than biology, this area of specialization focuses on physics, artificial intelligence, and mathematics to simulate the brain. 

As one of the emerging fields of study and rapidly advancing science discipline, neuroscience includes other popular research areas such as neuroengineering, neuroinformatics, neuroimaging, neurobiological study, neurolinguistics, and of course neuroscience. 

What are the average salary and job growth of a doctor in neuroscience?

The average salary of a Ph.D. in neuroscience holder varies depending on the job specification.  As of 2021 to 2022 the average salary of a Research Scientists/ Medical Scientist is $82,784 with a job growth of 17% from 2020-2030. 

Same with Neuroscientists who have an average salary of $80,458. Medical Writers earn about $75,142 with a job growth of 12%. With 6% job growth, Natural Sciences Managers earn $81,000 in 2022. 

The highest paying doctor in neuroscience are the neurosurgeons with $412,706 earnings. This includes physicians and surgeons with the lowest job growth of 3%. 


A Ph.D. in neuroscience is a great recognition only few can achieve. It will take more than will and perseverance to achieve the status of a “Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience” and its fruit are also sweet. A Ph.D. in Neuroscience opens a lot of doors and opportunity in any industry and filed as it is interdisciplinary. Wether in the world of academia, healthcare, and business, there is a path for this degree. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): what can you do with a phd in neuroscience?

How hard is it to get into neuroscience PhD?

Neuroscience programs in the U.S. get anyplace somewhere in the range of 5 and 875 program candidates — 170 overall. For the scholarly year 2016-2017, the normal acknowledgment rate for U.S. PhD programs was 19%.

What do I need for a PhD in neuroscience?

For a Ph.D. in neuroscience, you will be needing an undergraduate degree in biology, physics and behavioral science with courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology. 

Does neuroscience research pay well? 

Neurosciences makeup atleast 67% of Research Scientist in the US with average earnings of $85,000, with the top making $102,000. 


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McLoon, L. K., & Redish, A. D. (2018). Demystifying graduate school: Navigating a PhD in neuroscience and beyond. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 16(3), A203.

Ramos, R. L., Alviña, K., & Martinez, L. R. (2017). Diversity of graduates from bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree neuroscience programs in the United States. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 16(1), A6.

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