The IPN Rotation Ph.D. Program

2017/18 Rotation Students

From L: Dr. Ed Ruthazer, Morteza Pishnamazi, Alice Morgunova, Mary Loka, Kaan Salcin, Zaida Martinez Moreno.

2016/17 Rotation Students:

From L: Dr. Ed Ruthazer, Saishree Badrianarayanan, Max Wolpert, Golia Shafiei, Maitra Malosree, Jill McCarthy, Alastair Garner, Dr. Joe Rochford

2015/2016 Rotation Students

2014-2015 Rotation Students:

(From left) Joseph Rochford, Josephine Nalbantoglu, Nathalie Nilsson, Scott Bell, Polina Reynolds, Yvonne Yau, Yiran Chen, Ed Ruthazer, Carl Ernst (missing: Zahra Chorghay)

2013/14 Rotation Students:

(Clockwise from left) Lawrence Chen, Maryse Thomas, Blandine Ponroy, Maria Zamfir, Camille Boudreau-Pinsonneault; Shannon Swikert

2012/2013 Rotation Students:

Elena Kutsarova, Eva Chadnova, Miguel Cisneros-Franco, Anastasia Sares, Peter Donhauser, Reiko Matsushita.

2011/2012 Rotation Students:

Roberto Gulli, Adele Tufford, Stephanie Muise, Holly Boyle, Ali Abedian-Amiri.

2010/2011 Rotation Students:

David Liu, Nasr Farooqi, Phil Dickinson, Avinash Vaidya, Sarah Konefal, Ariane Gagnon.

What is the Rotation Program?

The IPN Ph.D. Rotation Program admits a select group of students each Fall. The Program makes it possible for these outstanding students to start their neuroscience doctoral work at McGill by sampling several labs and supervisors. Through a series of rotations in three candidate labs, students can experience diverse research environments, while expanding their repertoire of lab skills, in order to identify the best scientific niche for themselves.


How it Works

After arrival, Ph.D. rotation students will follow the standard IPN course sequence together with the entire cohort of IPN Ph.D. students. However, rotation students will also participate in regular meetings with other Rotation Program participants and will be provided with a Rotation Student Mentor to help guide them through the process. Normally, rotation students will conduct three lab stints of three months each. The fourth period of the rotation year will be spent in lab of the supervisor chosen for the duration of the Ph.D., or exceptionally, conducting a final rotation in another lab.

Applying to the Rotation Program

Detailed Application information can also be found in detail on our Apply Now page. Please read through the following sections for specific application information about the Rotation Program:

Who should apply?

The IPN Rotation Program is ideally suited for students with at least a Bachelor's degree, who may prefer to broaden their research experience prior to undertaking a PhD in a specific research area.

How to apply

Submit a traditional online application along with the regular supporting documents to the IPN. When filling out the online application form, please apply to the PhD program. As well, in lieu of naming your supervisor preferences, please write instead: ROTATION PROGRAM. Once your application file has been completed (online application, supporting documents, etc), you may e-mail IPN admissions (ipn.admissions [at] to inform them about your submitted application to the Rotation program.

Application Timeline and Deadlines

Interested students should apply to the IPN Rotation Program before its application deadline (December 1st of the year before entry is sought - All application materials must be submitted to the department by this time). Shortly thereafter, successful applicants will be notified of the admissions decision. Note that decisions will be made prior to the deadline for traditional IPN applications (under a single supervisor) in order to assure that every qualified student, who is not accepted into the rotation program, will still have a chance to find an IPN host lab through the traditional processThis means that you do not need to apply again for the regular Program. We will contact you, and the file that you already submitted will be added to our regular applicant's list for potential supervisors to view.

IPN rotation Program Application Timeline

December 1 Application deadline. All materials must be received by the office.
January 15* Interview invitations sent.
First week of February Interviews (offered by Skype and in-person).
February 20* Post-interview decisions released.
April 8 Deadline to respond to offer of admission.
August 1 Deadline to secure lab #1.
September 5 First day of classes.
September 12 First rotation meeting.
*Approximate dates

Selection Procedure

The number of slots available for rotations is very limited. GPA, abstracts and publications, reference letters, and application essay will all be taken into consideration in evaluation for admission to the Rotation Program. Typically, a subset of applicants are selected for interview, and the final candidates are chosen from this group.

The IPN Rotation Program is very competitive. For September 2017 admission, there were 31 applicants and we admitted 5. Those students who are not accepted into the Rotation Program are encouraged to continue with the traditional MSc or PhD application process.


Once you have been granted an interview, you have the option to have an interview via Skype or an in-person interview.

Skype and in-person interviews will be scheduled based on your availability.



The IPN will provide Rotation Program students with a full stipend during their rotation year, after which their host lab will support them. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for external sources of funding, as these help provide financial support and build the prestige of the program and the students.


Rotation Supervisors

Please use the Rotation Supervisors web-app to help you identify supervisors you may be interested in working with. The first rotation supervisor will be selected before the students start in the program. Second and third rotation supervisors are then determined during the semesters. The IPN Retreat is the perfect place to see all the research going on in the IPN, and using that information as a basis for deciding whom to rotate with.