Behavioural Neuroscience

Develop a high degree of research competence in a specialized topic while gaining a broad academic background to allow you to apply your research interests to both behavioural neuroscience and psychology.

Each Behavioural Neuroscience graduate student engages in research from the beginning of the program, first by working under the close supervision of an advisor and then by assuming a more independent approach as specific research interests are formulated. Students are required to study a wide range of topics that focus on both the behavioural and neurobiological facets of the discipline.

Our faculty members in the behavioural neuroscience program conduct research at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. The Centre employs a strongly multidisciplinary approach, combined with a scientific philosophy of cooperation and collaboration among the researchers, physicians, and technicians who are exploring common origins and overlapping features of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Faculty research programs are well funded by major national granting agencies, including NSERC and CIHR.

The general exchange of ideas in the neurosciences is facilitated by the presence on campus of a BC chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, the meetings of which are attended by neuroscientists from throughout the region.

Program Overview

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.

The MA program requires full-time resident study and should be completed within two years.

  • 6 credits of behavioural neuroscience core program courses
  • 3 credits of statistics
  • 3 credits of PSYC courses outside the behavioural neuroscience area
  • Thesis (18 credits)

In addition, certain students may be required to complete additional courses or other undertakings because of deficiencies in their preparatory background; these requirements are specified by the program in coordination with the Graduate Student Progress Committee in writing during the first term of the student’s residence in the program.

Note: Students completing the MA program must apply for acceptance into the PhD program; acceptance depends upon the quality of the master’s-level work.

Full academic year residency is required for PhD students until the attainment of candidacy.

  • 6 credits of behavioural neuroscience core program courses
  • 3 credits of statistics
  • 3 credits of PSYC courses outside the behavioural neuroscience area
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation


Behavioural neuroscience students must take at least four (3-credit) courses from the following list during their graduate studies (MA and PhD). Not all courses are offered each year, and other courses may be substituted on a case-by-case basis with approval from the student’s supervisor, area, and Associate Head, Graduate Affairs.

PSYC 514 – Advanced Topics in Biopsychology
PSYC 516 – Animal Learning, Memory, and Cognition
PSYC 517 – Biopsychology of Motivation
PSYC 520 – Developmental Biopsychology
PSYC 522 – Drugs and Behaviour
PSYC 523 – Experimental Neuropsychology and Animal Models
PSYC 524 – Neural Models of Learning and Memory
PSYC 592 – Neuroethology
PSYC 593 – Neurophysiology and Cortical Plasticity
PSYC 594 – Psychoneuroendocrinology
PSYC 595 – Psychophysiology