The development of scaffolds for neural tissue engineering application requires an understanding of cell adhesion, proliferation, and migration of neuronal cells. Considering the potential application of carbon as scaffold materials and the lack of understanding of compatibility of amorphous carbon with neuronal cells, the carbon-based materials in the forms of carbon films and continuous electrospun carbon nanofibers having average diameter of ∼200 nm are being investigated with or without ultraviolet (UV) and oxy-plasma (OP) treatments for cytocompatibility property using mouse Neuroblastoma (N2a) and rat Schwann cells (RT4-D6P2T). The use of Raman spectroscopy in combination with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction establishes the amorphous nature and surface-bonding characteristics of the studied carbon materials. Although both UV and OP treatments make carbon surfaces more hydrophilic, the cell viability of N2a cells is statistically more significant on OP treated fibers/films compared to UV fiber/film substrates after 4 days in culture. The electrospun carbon fibrous substrate provides the physical guidance to the cultured Schwann cells. Overall, the experimental results of this study demonstrate that the electrospun amorphous carbon nanofibrous scaffolds can be used as a suitable biomaterial substrate for supporting cell adhesion and proliferation of neuronal cells in the context of their applications as artificial nerve implants. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2013.