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BN Doctoral Program

The doctoral program in Behavioral Neuroscience (BN) has adopted an apprenticeship model of graduate training in which each student works closely and continuously with a faculty member within the realm of the faculty member's research interests. In your personal statement, it is important that you indicate the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work. The research interests of the core faculty may be found on the Faculty page.

All PhD students are full-time with courses offered only during the day. The coursework provides fundamentals of the BN field that allow the student to do further self-study and development in the research topic of interest to the student. Most students earn an MA as they work toward the PhD. In that case, both an empirical MA research thesis and an empirical PhD research dissertation are required. For a student entering with an MA, coursework and the MA thesis will be considered on an individual basis. Applications to the BN program are made through Graduate Admissions on the Graduate School website.

Application Deadline

The deadline for receipt of all admission materials is January 15 of each year for admission to the Fall semester only.

Degree Program

A minimum of 60 semester credit hours of graduate coursework is required beyond the baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 30 hours credit may be transferred.
The program has adopted an apprenticeship model of graduate training in which each student works closely and continuously with a faculty member within the realm of the faculty member's research interests, including the following:

  • Cognitive behaviors
  • Animal models of neuroendocrinology and psychopathology
  • Subcortical systems in affective behaviors
  • Neurophysiological correlates of post-traumatic stress disorder, self-reflection and default modes, emotions and romantic love, reading disability, and prejudice
  • Human neuropsychology and neuroimaging

After completing two years in the program, students must pass written and oral exams to continue in the program. Students are also required to complete a specialty paper for publication.
All students must defend orally a written dissertation proposal to their dissertation committee. A dissertation embodying the results of original research must be accepted by the faculty and the Graduate School.

Application Requirements

  1. Application
  2. Official transcripts from all universities attended
    • Applicants must have at least a baccalaureate degree at the time they will begin the program.
  3. Three letters of recommendation
    • From individuals who are familiar with the applicant's potential to successfully complete graduate training in biological psychology. Ideally, individuals who provide letters of recommendation will be sufficiently familiar with the candidate to address critical thinking, academic success, written and oral expression, responsibility, organization, and other important skills necessary for successful graduate training.
  4. Entrance examinations
    • Acceptable scores on Graduate Record Examination scores for the general test (Verbal, Quantitative, Writing).
    • International students are required to document English proficiency by providing scores from an internationally accepted standardized examination before a decisions is made on admission.
  5. Grade Point Average
    • Minimum of 3.0 on 4.0 scale.
  6. Personal Statement
    • Please submit a statement of 300-400 words with your rationale for seeking admission to a Ph.D. program in Behavioral Neuroscience and the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work. This statement is in addition to the application materials that are submitted online.
  7. Other information may be submitted directly to Program Director Dr. George Taylor that the student feels is pertinent (e.g. manuscripts, curriculum vitae, or resume).

Application Fee

$50 for domestic applicants; $40 for international applicants. 

Assistantships

Assistantships are currently funded with stipends of approximately $12,000 per year on a competitive basis. They include a scholarship from the Graduate School for tuition.