Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit


Gatsby Bridging Programme

Latest deadline: 23 February 2024, 23:59 GMT (We may stop accepting applications before this date if the number received exceeds our capacity to review.)

The Gatsby Bridging Programme is a mathematics summer school for penultimate- or final-year undergraduates and Master’s students (incl. recent graduates) who aspire to pursue a postgraduate research degree in Theoretical Neuroscience and/or Machine Learning but whose undergraduate/master's degree does not have a strong mathematical focus. During the programme, you will develop the mathematics skills and intuition necessary to enter these fields. The programme is intensive and requires a full-time commitment.

We aim to be inclusive and to increase the diversity of students entering both fields. Thus, we particularly encourage applications from students in underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), whose socioeconomic background and/or other circumstances may have made it more difficult for them to reach their full academic potential or to consider postgraduate study and research in STEM. See Eligibility for details.

Key Information
During the seven-week programme (10am-5pm Monday-Friday; 10am-noon Saturday), you will:
  • Attend interactive lectures/tutorials and actively participate in problem-solving sessions in linear algebra, calculus, probability, ordinary differential equations, and Fourier analysis and convolution.
  • Have the opportunity to interact with students and academics at the Gatsby Unit and the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour.
Programme Syllabus

To get a sense of what topics will be covered, please see 2023 course schedule.


Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria in A and will be assessed competitively.

We strongly encourage applications from those who meet one or more of the widening participation criteria in B. Where all other factors are equal, priority will be given to students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields, using positive action under the Equality Act 2010 where appropriate.

  1. Have a keen interest in postgraduate research in theoretical neuroscience and/or machine learning.
  2. Be currently taking or have recently completed an undergraduate or Master’s degree which does not offer the type of mathematical training in our programme. If you are an undergraduate student, you must be in the penultimate or final year of your degree.
  3. Have a background in a relevant field such as biological sciences (neuroscience or cognitive psychology in particular) or computer science.
  4. Have A-level (or equivalent) mathematics (see A-level mathematics subject content).
  5. Have proven and potential academic excellence.
  6. Have a good command of the English language.
  7. Consent to abide by the terms and conditions of the offer, should you be made one.

We will be using positive action under the Equality Act 2010 to tackle the underrepresentation of certain groups in STEM fields (see a non-exhaustive list below). We will ask you to describe your circumstances and provide relevant supporting documentation in your application. Any information you share with us will be held securely and confidentially by the Admission Team.

Underrepresented groups in STEM fields, include but are not limited to,

  1. Women
  2. Certain ethnic minorities
  3. Care background or family estrangement. For example, you entered your degree study from a care background (or as a Foyer resident); you are estranged from immediate family or designated care-givers.
  4. Those granted refugee status in their country of residence.
  5. Caring responsibilities. You have/had caring responsibilities for an ill or disabled family member who could not manage without this help; you are/were a single parent, lone foster parent or lone guardian of a young person who is aged under 18 and/or is still in full-time education.
  6. Those in the first generation of their family to go to university.
  7. Low-income background. For example, if you were in receipt of free school meals at secondary school and/or have received full state support for maintenance for your undergraduate study.
Programme Fee and Financial Assistance

There are no programme fees, but students are expected to cover their own travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses.

To broaden participation, we are offering a limited number of bursaries to students who may find it difficult to participate for financial reasons. The bursary will cover (where applicable) half-board student accommodation (shared facilities, breakfast and evening meal included), travel expenses to and from London at the start and end of the programme, and application fee for a 6-month UK Standard Visitor visa. Each request will be assessed carefully to ensure that the bursary goes to the student who needs it most.

How to Apply

As part of the application process you will be required to provide information about your education and mathematics background, to submit supporting document(s), and to provide a motivation statement, etc. We will only consider completed applications submitted via our application form.

Click here to access the application form

(The form is best viewed on a computer.) Unfortunately, you won't be able to save your progress and come back to the form later. To help you gather all the information and documentation you need to make a competitive application, please review carefully information on this web page and the full list of questions in the application form (download the PDF version of the form) before starting your application.

Applications will close at 23:59 GMT on Friday 23 February 2024. We may need to stop accepting applications before this date if the number received exceeds our capacity to review. As such, we strongly recommend applying as early as possible.

Outcome Notification

We aim to notify applicants of the outcome by email by 19 April 2024.

Please note that due to the large number of applications received to the programme, we are unable to provide feedback regarding the reasons for rejection to individual applicants.

Competitive applicants may be invited to join the waiting list for places that later become available.


Can PhD students apply to the Bridging Programme?
Current PhD students may apply. Please note however that the programme is intensive and requires a full-time commitment for 7 weeks. Please ensure that you have the approval of your PhD programme/supervisor(s) before applying.

I need a visa to attend the programme. Will you provide the supporting document required for my visa application if I am accepted to the programme?
If you require a UK Standard Visitor visa to attend the programme, we will provide an invitation letter to support your visa application as soon as we receive your confirmation accepting the offer. Please be aware that a visa can take several weeks to apply for and receive - you are strongly advised to initiate the visa application process as soon as you accept the offer.

I am not based in London, where can I stay during the programme?
You may wish to check UCL Summer Residences or University of London halls, both open to the general public during the student vacation period in summer. The YMCA Indian Student Hostel (if eligible) is within five minutes walking distance.