Program requirements

Currently most students in Behavioural Neuroscience take four courses (12 credits) in their first year of graduate studies: two advanced 3-credit statistics courses and 6 credits of course work selected in consultation with their Advisory Committee. In their second year, students typically take one or two courses per term and complete an acceptable thesis to meet the MA requirements. Students present their thesis research at a departmental conference (Psychfest) held each May.

Students completing the MA program must apply for acceptance into the PhD program; acceptance depends upon the quality of the masters-level work. As part of the PhD requirements, each Behavioural Neuroscience student must successfully complete two survey (“breadth”) courses offered by other areas of the Psychology Department and write a Comprehensive Exam.

All students are expected to attend the informal weekly Behavioural Neuroscience Seminar and give one talk per year, for as long as they are in the MA and PhD programs. Behavioural Neuroscience graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers at national and international scientific meetings of such academic societies as the Animal Behaviour Society; the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science; the Society for Neuroscience; and the Psychonomic Society.

MA Program (at least 30 credits)

  • 6 credits of statistics
  • 9 credits for the MA thesis
  • 12 credits of Behavioural Neuroscience courses recommended
  • 3 credits of psychology outside Behavioural Neuroscience

PhD Program (at least 12 credits)

  • 6 credits of breadth courses in other areas of Psychology (may not include courses taken during MA program)
  • 6 credits of Behavioural Neuroscience courses required
  • comprehensive exam and dissertation

Behavioural Neuroscience students must take at least one 3-credit course from each of the following lists. Not all courses are offered each year, and other life sciences graduate courses, such as Neuroscience 500 or 501, may be substituted with approval.

A. Behavioural Emphasis
Animal Behaviour
Animal Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Strategies and Techniques of Studying Behaviour

B. Neuroscience Emphasis
Drugs and Behaviour
Neural Models of Learning and Memory
Neuroethology
Neurophysiology and Cortical Plasticity

C. Combined Approaches
Biopsychology of Motivation
Developmental Biopsychology
Experimental Neuropsychology and Animal Models
Perceptual Processes
Psychoneuroendocrinology

Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The Behavioural Neuroscience comprehensive requirement consists of a 10-page CIHR-style grant proposal. This document normally serves as the PhD dissertation proposal and accordingly is defended before the PhD dissertation committee.