In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about neuroscience as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a Neuroscientist.

Who's a Neuroscientist?

Are you curious about how the brain works? Would you like to learn how and why our nervous system has us react in certain ways? If so, consider a career in neuroscience!

As a neuroscientist, you would research how the nervous system works. You would also conduct research to develop pharmaceuticals to treat neurological disorders. In India, you need to have an MSc in Neuroscience to work as a neuroscientist. However, abroad a PhD is a must.

Neuroscience offers several career options in both medical and non-medical fields. Professionals in the medical field of neuroscience range from neurosurgeons, neuro-physicians, neuro-pathologists, neuro-anaesthetists, neuro-radiologists, and neuro-pharmacists to careers in psychology, psychiatry, and therapy. On the other hand, researchers in neuroscience, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, as well as biomedical engineers and other biological scientists make up for the non-medical professionals in this field.

What will you do?

Conducting experiments and research.

You would have to learn and discover new things about the brain every day. For this, you will test theories using scientific methods and conduct experiments. Most neuroscientists specialise in a certain area of research.

Example: You would make use of dyes, antibodies and gene probes to conduct your experiment. You would also use various tools and equipment to study and monitor brain and nerve activity.

Using tools and equipment.

You will use different tools and equipment to monitor brain and nerve activity.

Example: You would use the help of an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure changes in blood flow in the brain.

Developing instruments and processes.

To analyse nerve activity you will have to develop new instruments and tools and set processed to analyse the data you find.

Example: The Pet – Positron Emission Tomography was used to create images of the brain by tracking radioactive molecules.

Studying and remaining up-to-date in the field.

Like any other science, you will have to constantly look for to learn and keep yourself updated on the latest developments in the field.

Example: You will study developmental, computational, structural, medical, molecular, cellular, evolutionary, and other functional aspects of the nervous system.

Leading a team for research.

You will be in charge of a team of technicians, students, and assistants to help you with your research work. You will have to lead them to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Example: You will help the junior researchers and interns figure out which aspect of the experiment/research they should take on – collecting data, data analysis, collecting samples, etc.

Take the Mentoria career assessment test, to find out how well-suited you are as a Neuroscientist.

Where will you work?

Research Facility

You would work at a research facility either for a university, the government or a hospital. Here you will study nerve-activity data and conduct experiments.  

Private Industry

In a private facility, you would perform applied research, where you would develop new pharmaceutical treatments or other biotechnology products. 


If you are a licensed neurosurgeon or neurologist, or consult for any of the two, you would work at healthcare facilities to help treat patients or conduct diagnosis

How do you get there?

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

STEP 1: XI-XII/ Junior College

Take up science. You will learn subjects like chemistry, biology, computer science, mathematics and others that will further help you in the field. If your college offers it, it would also be great if you take up psychology as an elective.

STEP 2: Graduation

Take up a three-year BSc in subjects like biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, neurobiology, and zoology from colleges like St. Stephen’s College (Delhi), Ruia’s College (Mumbai), University of Madras, etc.

Alternatively, you can also pursue a BTech in electrical engineering, computer science, etc., from colleges like Amity University, IIT- Kanpur, etc. You will need to clear entrance exams like the JEE for these courses. You will need at least 55% marks in Class 12 and physics, chemistry and mathematics as your subjects to be eligible for the JEE.

STEP 3: Postgraduation

Pursue a two-year MSc in Neuroscience from institutes such as Shri Ramchandra University, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, University of Madras, Indian Academy of Neuroscience and others. You will need at least 55% marks in your graduation course to be eligible for a master’s degree.

If you wish to, you can continue studying and earn a PhD in Neuroscience.

STEP 4: Land a Job

Once you complete your master’s degree you can start looking for a job. Congratulations, you are officially a Neuroscientist!


Thinking of a career as a Neuroscientist? Take the Mentoria assessment & talk to our career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path.

What skills would you need?



You need to perform research on the eggs, sperms and embryos you obtain from the patient. This will involve some long hours of research.

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Analytical and Data Skills

Analytical and Data Skills

You will receive huge amounts of data from your client. This data will have to be analysed effectively so you can find ways that will help your client reach their customers is the best way possible. While it is true that the more data you analyse, the more insights you generate; analytical thinking will help you narrow down your search and find your key actionable items, thus saving you a lot of time and resources.

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Technical Skills

Technical Skills

As a marketer, you will work on different platforms to communicate with people. If you don’t understand how they work, you won’t be able to come up with the best strategy. You will also use various kinds of software like Google Adwords, MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, etc., during your promotions. You need to know how they work, and how to use them to your advantage.

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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

It’s harder than ever to get people’s attention, what with so much information being thrown at them. But, people cannot resist a good story. Every good marketing campaign has a story to tell their customers and relate to them on an emotional level. Marketers who tell great stories through their marketing campaigns are always in great demand.

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How do you make it to the top ranks?

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Research/Project Assistant

After acquiring an NET or GATE qualification, you are eligible to work under a neuroscience researcher, assisting them on a particular project. This is your opportunity to gain research experience before completing your MSc in the subject and pursuing neuroscience as a full-time career.

Junior Research Fellow/Research Associate

You can start work as a Junior Researcher in reputed institutes like AIIMS, NCBS, NBRC, and IGIB. At this stage, you will be given individual projects as well as a team of interns to assist you on your project. If you do not have prior experience, you could also start off by assisting senior researchers on their projects.


Senior Research Fellow/Research Manager

It takes a minimum of two years of experience to progress from junior research fellow to senior research fellow even for the best of neuroscientists. At this stage, you are leading the research on important projects or overlooking the work of junior researchers on the team.

Pursuing your career locally VS abroad

There is no specific background required to pursue neuroscience. However, students with graduate degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, neurobiology, and zoology have the best chances of qualifying for an MSc in neuroscience, which is a must-have degree for a job in the field. The course fee for this two-year programme ranges from INR 6,000 to INR 17,000 after which students usually pursue jobs or might even consider getting a PhD. Neuroscience is a fairly new career in India, thus opportunities are limited as compared to other countries. However, there are a few reputed institutes in this field such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) among others, where students can pursue neuroscience research. These institutes are also incorporating neuroscience courses to help aspirants fulfil their dreams. These courses are still is in the developmental stage, but also offer placements and other job opportunities to students.

While in India, a Master’s degree is enough to land a job in neuroscience research, a PhD is a must for a career in this field abroad. Many students who travel to other countries for a neuroscience degree usually get a bachelor’s degree in biology, physiology, psychology, human anatomy, or anything else that would prepare them for medical school. After a bachelor’s degree, they acquire their master’s in neuroscience or any other biological sciences. These courses cost anywhere between INR 2,00,000 – INR 20,00,000, depending on the country and the institute. It is also important to choose a programme that provides both research opportunities and lab experience. Unlike in India, countries abroad have many leading institutes offering courses in neuroscience at bachelors, masters, PhD, and MD levels. USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia have premier research centres where students can both learn and grow in their careers. Some top universities are Stanford University, University of Sydney, Humboldt University of Berlin, McGill University, etc.


How much would you get paid?

Your pay would depend largely on where you’re working in terms of your location and the organisation you are working with. Private organisations tend to pay more than government facilities. However, government jobs offer better perks. 

What are your career options?

Neuroscience Research

One of the most common careers in neuroscience involves research on the subject. Neuroscience researchers thoroughly research the function of the brain and nervous system. Based on their studies, there are developments in neuroscience, biological sciences, as well as the medical fields. Researchers in neuroscience work in labs or research centres. Getting a PhD. is a must in this field for the highest remuneration.

Cognitive Neuroscience

These professionals apply neuroscience in the field of psychology. Cognitive neuroscientists are responsible for developing therapeutic treatments for neurodegenerative or behavioural disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to anxiety and depression, by applying the theories of neuroscience. There are further specialisations in this field focussing on a specific area of the brain or a particular psychological disorder.


This is one of the most challenging fields in both neuroscience and medicine. Neurosurgeons use their knowledge of the brain and nervous system to diagnose disorders and perform complicated surgeries on various brain-related issues such as brain tumours or nervous system debilitation. Due to the delicate nature of the job, these professionals are some of the highest-paid doctors.

Machine Learning

Our brain functions much like a machine. Brain cells run algorithms on the basis of the feedback received from its surrounding environment, leading to a desired outcome. It is, in fact, from the functioning of the brain that a structure to build machines and artificial intelligence came into development. For neuroscientists who enjoy mathematics and programming, machine learning is a lucrative career option.

Pharmaceuticals Science

Neuroscience students who are interested in chemistry or biochemistry can also take up a career as a pharmaceutical scientist. These professionals are involved in developing new pharmaceutical drugs, making improvements to existing ones, and charting the success rate across various categories of medication. Their connection to neuroscience comes from assessing the drugs associated with neurological disorders, such as antidepressants and mood enhancers/stabilisers.

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