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The Doctor of Philosophy program in psychology with an emphasis on behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology at Arizona State University is a program with a unique combination of real-world challenges and neuroscience solutions. Doctoral candidates will conduct translational research into the neurobiological and psychosocial processes that underlie behavior and health (e.g., drug abuse, stress, heart disease) using both theoretical and applied models. We challenge our students to help advance the field of neuroscience and also to advance their careers.
The Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (BNCP) program provides an extensive range of instruction and is committed to training the next generation of behavioral neuroscientists who will take their place as scientists in departments of psychology, life sciences, and others at major research institutions, and in the private sector. Our graduate students are trained in:
Our program consists of faculty with diverse research interests including: learning and memory (Bimonte-Nelson, Conrad; Sanabria); mathematical modeling of behavior (Sanabria); aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and hormone modulation (Bimonte-Nelson); behavioral and neurobiological consequences of drug abuse and stress (Olive, Conrad, Gipson-Reichardt); stress and brain plasticity (Conrad); timing and time perception (Sanabria); ADHD and impulsivity (Sanabria); and canine cognition and behavior (Wynne).
IMPORTANT: To be considered for PhD program, you must complete the application through ASU's online portal AND submit your material through Slideroom.
The 84-hour program of study includes a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive, a prospectus and a dissertation. Prospective doctoral candidates should have a passion and interest in behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology, have demonstrated research skills in a senior thesis, have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA and score in the upper quintile of GRE scores.
The Department of Psychology application process is completed online through ASU Graduate Education. Prospective students must submit the admission application form along with the fee and official transcripts. For the department’s doctoral programs, students must submit supplemental application materials through SlideRoom, which requires an additional fee.
One of the best things about the doctoral program in Psychology is the really great sense of community and working together to exchange ideas. Not only have I been able to publish my research but I've also been able to collaborate with other scientific resources in Phoenix such as the Mayo Clinic, Barrow Neurological Institute and TGen.
- Stephanie Koebele, Doctoral Student, Behavioral Neuroscience
The Department of Psychology’s doctoral program offers collaborative and interdisciplinary training in innovative, mentored research that is tailored to the unique needs of student. Doctoral candidates will develop expertise in quantitative methods from one of the nation’s top ranked programs. The program also offers a breadth of courses in cognitive processes within the context of perception and action, personality and issues of stigma and prejudice.
The 84-hour program of study includes a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive, a prospectus and a dissertation. Prospective doctoral candidates should have a passion and interest in behavioral neuroscience, have demonstrated research skills in a senior thesis, have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA and score in the upper quintile of GRE scores.
Requirements and electives
Total hours required
The coursework for each student is individualized and based upon the student's previous training, research goals, and mentor and committee consensus. Students will take three core courses covering behavioral neuroscience, at least one elective course to expand their breadth of study, two skill courses and two in-depth seminars. Our research heavy program requires students to participate in weekly seminars as well as complete a dissertation.
Core courses. Three courses covering the basic content in behavioral neuroscience from the following:
Skill Courses. Two courses:
Breadth Courses. At least one course, to be agreed upon with the mentor, from the courses above or:
In-Depth Seminars. Two topical seminar courses, selected from those made available over the student's time in the program. These courses tend to be decided upon according to the interests of the current faculty and student body.
Research Seminar and Research Hours. Each semester, students enroll in PSY 598 Behavioral Neuroscience Research Seminar, a weekly forum for presenting new research and discussing current topics. In addition, students enroll in the milestone-related courses below:
Prospective grad students interested in joining our program are encouraged to learn more about the faculty research and to directly contact BN faculty with any questions or comments. Some faculty within the Department of Psychology also participate in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program.
Undergrads who are interested in gaining research lab experience should visit the department's Research Opportunities pages for more information on how to apply to a lab that matches their interests. In general, research lab experience is limited to psychology majors.