Graduate Program

Welcome to the graduate program in Behavioral Neuroscience

Dr. Mitchell

We aim to provide our students with outstanding training and mentorship to earn doctor of philosophy degrees and become multidisciplinary neuroscientists. This is possible due to the excellence our faculty members in numerous areas, including the neurobiology of drug abuse, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral genetics and the highly collaborative structure of our program.

We accept students with a diverse array of qualifications, but especially encourage applications from those who have completed undergraduate coursework in biopsychology or neuroscience, or the other basic biological science areas that provide the background required for graduate training in behavioral neuroscience (e.g., biology, chemistry).  

After joining our program, during their first year, students complete a series of laboratory research rotations, so that they can choose a lab and faculty mentor that gives a mutual fit. By the end of the second year, students will have completed their required coursework, and written up an initial research project. After creating a research proposal, as part of their qualifying exam, the majority of our students' time is spent conducting research under the supervision of their faculty mentor. On graduating, some of our students take postdoctoral fellowships at major universities, others use their expertise in industry, government service and the media.


Dr. Suzanne Mitchell
Graduate Program Director

Brief Overview of Program Requirements

Required Coursework

Students complete most of their required coursework during the first 2 years. Thereafter, the majority of the time is spent conducting research under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Research Rotations

Students will complete a series of laboratory research rotations during their 1st year and then choose a faculty mentor. 


Research Paper Requirement

All students must fulfill a research paper requirement by the end of the 2nd year (i.e., before the 1st day of class for fall term of the 3rd year). Completion of a Master's thesis may be used to meet this requirement.

Qualifying Examination

All students must pass a written qualifying examination to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. by the end of fall term of the 3rd year of training.

Ph.D. Research Proposal

A written Ph.D. Research Proposal must be submitted by the student and approved by the departmental Dissertation Advisory Committee by the end of the 3rd year.

Ph.D. Dissertation and Oral Examination

All students must complete a Ph.D. dissertation and pass the Graduate Council Oral Examination. It is generally expected that students will complete this requirement during 5th year of training.

Please note that the above is a brief overview and does not include all detailed program requirements.