PhD Program in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences

Applications are currently being accepted for fully funded multidisciplinary PhD training in Complex Systems & Brain Sciences. The aim of this 5-year graduate program is to train scientists to perform cutting-edge brain research that combines neuro-behavioral and cognitive experiments, computational modeling, laboratory biology, and medical imaging. Students learn how these multi-disciplinary approaches yield powerful insights into the operation of the human brain as a complex dynamical system. Individuals with undergraduate degrees in any pertinent discipline are invited to apply. The program offers multi-year stipends and tuition remission.


Past graduates have pursued careers at academic institutions (including Harvard, Brown, Emory, Vanderbilt University, University of Pittsburgh, Boston University, UC San Francisco, and the Salk Institute), clinical research centers (including John Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts General, Harvard Medical School, and Dell Children’s Medical Center), private industry (including IBM, Mathworks, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson), and at federal agencies (including NIH, US Air Force, NASA, and NRL).

Alumni map  

Research opportunities are available using behavioral, computational, and neuroscientific methods. Research projects will focus on approaches to understanding the brain as a complex system, with possible concentrations in areas such as computational neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, developmental cognitive neuroscience, systems neuroscience, neurorobotics, molecular neurobiology, cellular physiology, and neuronal regeneration. A 3T MRI scanner and multiple high density EEG, eye-tracking, and motion capture and robotic systems will be available for non-invasive neuroimaging and neurobehavioral research. Wet laboratories include Plexon 16- and 32-channel in vivo neurophysiological systems and patch-clamp recording, ERG (electroretinogram) recording, as well as Ca 2+ imaging and confocal microscopy for studying neural function and mechanism in single cells and intact tissues.   A hypoxia chamber is also available for in vitro cell culture, and the instruments for DNA, RNA and protein assays are available for molecular biological study. The Center has access to High Performance Computing resources maintained by the College of Science and FAU’s Office of Information Technology.


Qualified students are encouraged to apply via the Graduate Neuroscience Training Program ( or the core program at the Center for Complex Systems & Brain Sciences ( Applicants should review both programs to determine which one best suits their interests. Applicants may also submit applications to both programs.


Application deadline for the Graduate Neuroscience Training Program: December 11, 2017

Application deadline for the core PhD program in Complex Systems & Brain Sciences: January 15, 2018

See Faculty page for mentors and research themes.

 Typical Path to PhD:

First Year: Core Courses and groundwork research for dissertation.

         Neuroscience 1

         Neuroscience 2

         Cognitive Neuroscience

         Nonlinear Dynamic Systems

         Psychological Statistics Course (Experimental Design 1)


Second Year: Electives (See "courses" page, a minimum of 5 must be taken).

Third Year: Upon successful completion of coursework and either a research paper or poster, student submits Plan of Study (Form 5), for advancement of candidacy and forms a PhD committee.

Third Year and Beyond: Dissertation (A minimum of 12 credits must be taken).

Total of 80 credits grade "B" or better.

Students will receive the PhD degree in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences.  Tuition waivers and competitive stipends for post doctoral fellows are available through individual research grants or the University.