Summer Program FAQs

1. What are my chances of getting accepted?

That depends on many variables. In 2019 we received approximately 75 completed applications from well-qualified students for twelve positions. Successful applicants typically have a 3.0 GPA or better (on a four-point scale); solid performance and completion of several upper-level science courses; strong letters of recommendation; and, most importantly, a thoughtful personal statement that clearly defines how participation in the CNUP summer program will help achieve their career goals in neuroscience research. 

2. I have no research experience. Can I still apply?

Yes! A principal goal of the CNUP summer program is to provide research opportunities to qualified undergraduates who lack such opportunities at their home institution. 

3. I am not an American citizen. Can I still apply?

Yes, provided you are currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at a U.S. college or university.  In all cases, international applicants while be required to provide official authorization for Optional Practical Training (OPT) from their home institution, prior to their arrival in Pittsburgh.


4. Can I register for other coursework while I'm a summer fellow?

No. We expect that each fellow will devote most of his or her time to laboratory research. 

5. I am a freshman (or senior/recent graduate). Can I still apply?

Our program is designed to provide an intensive research experience to qualified undergraduate students who are beginning to formulate future career plans, which potentially include neuroscience research. Thus, most successful applicants to the CNUP summer program have recently completed their sophomore or junior years and are actively preparing for postgraduate training. In unusual cases, we have funded younger students with exceptional backgrounds. 

6. I am a nontraditional student. Can I still apply?

In principle, yes. Note that a desirable and valuable aspect of our program is the camaraderie that develops among the fellows, who mostly are 18- to 20-year-old college undergraduates. In special circumstances, however, we can accommodate a committed non-traditional student. 

7. I'm going to apply to medical school and will be studying for my MCATs during the summer. Will this work out OK if I'm accepted into your program?

The goal of our summer program is to help students decide if a scientific research career is right for them, and to enhance students' ability to compete successfully for admission to graduate training programs in neuroscience-related disciplines. In our experience, it is not possible for students to fully participate in our summer program and simultaneously study for the MCAT exam. Our program also is not appropriate for students who are considering a clinical career in medicine that does not include a laboratory research component. 

8. How many hours per week do we have to work in the lab?

The precise number of hours and when they fall during the day will be dictated by the nature of the experiments that you undertake. Be prepared to immerse yourself full-time in your research project, and enjoy this unique opportunity. 

9. If I am accepted into the program, can I start a little late (or finish a little early)?

Generally, no. There are essential training sessions that take place during the first several days of the program, and formal research presentations by the fellows are held on the final day of the program. 

10. I received an independent award for summer research. Can I still receive a CNUP fellowship?

No. In order to be considered for participation in the CNUP program, you would need to relinquish the other funding. The CNUP summer program provides funds for a maximum of ten to twelve qualified undergraduates who do not otherwise have an opportunity to engage in summer research. We also want our fellows to spend almost all of their time working in the laboratory, rather than attending classes or meetings that sometimes are required by other programs. If you would like to retain your independent funding while pursuing neuroscience research, we can advise you on potential summer mentors on the Pitt or Carnegie Mellon campuses. 

11. I want to bring my car to campus. Where will I park?

Parking permits are available through the University, though students are responsible for their own parking expenses. Pittsburgh has an excellent public transportation system, and students can get just about anywhere they need to go on the bus. 

The Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP) does not tolerate harassment in any form. We strive for an inclusive environment that does not discriminate based on immigration status, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religious faith, socio-economic status, political affiliation, or disability status. All are welcome here.