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What is the process for working in the Brain & Behavior Lab?

There are two types of lab members: undergraduate and graduate/post-graduate. Undergraduate members at University of Hawaii can either do a 499 or come to one of our bi-weekly lab meetings to learn more about opportunities. Experience in a lab is highly meritorious for grad school. Graduate students wishing to do PhD work in the lab need to apply to the university (usually in the beginning of December). Check the university and departmental websites for more details, make sure you plan ahead, and don’t forget any of the requirements. A good idea is to check in early with the lab that you are interested in. Get to know the lab and figure out how you can be a strong applicant. It is highly competitive with only 1-2 positions per year and many more applicants. In the past, we have been able to provide some funding for graduateships, but this depends on many factors. Finding external funding helps your application tremendously so please check out this video and other opportunities here. Also please check out this document here and the links below. More info on graduate applications here.

What pre-requisites do you look for when evaluating a potential graduate student?

Our selection process of graduate/post-graduate lab members is a rigorous and competitive one, with numerous applicants turned down each year because of low grades or not enough experience. We look for students who have a strong background in perception, cognition, and neuroscience relevant to our research interests. Experience from practical work in a lab, especially in brain imaging and/or MatLab will be meritorious. We expect students to have a strong work ethic, good organizational skills, and be self-motivated (Intelligence/good grades is not enough). A strong GRE score will help you in applying for any graduate school. Things that set you apart include experience with EEG, FMRI and experimental design. It also helps if you have access to graduate funding from e.g. NIH, NIH2, NSF or Foundations.

What information are you going to want from a prospective graduate student who is interested in working in the B&B lab?


We expect students to send a covering letter outlining why they want to work in the B&B lab specifically, what expertise they have that make the B&B lab well suited to them, and what they hope to gain during the graduate experience. Outlining future goals also helps me gauge how serious a student is. Additionally, students should send a cv (i.e., a resume). We usually Zoom with applicants. This is important as a PhD is a minimum commitment of three years so you have to be a good fit for the lab and the lab has to suit you.

How do you want to be contacted?

You can send an email with CV and cover letter to vibell at to take the discussion further.

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