Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration

Catalog Year: 2023-2024

Banner Code: LA-MA-PSYC-CBNR

The MA in psychology is distinguished by its emphasis on basic research and the application of research to solve practical problems in families, industry, government, and health care settings. Because of the program’s proximity to Washington D.C., students have access to many employment and continuing education opportunities in research, academia, and consulting within government, public, and private settings. 

The psychology MA offers the following concentrations:

  •     applied developmental psychology 
  •     clinical psychology
  •     cognitive and behavioral neuroscience 
  •     human factors/applied cognition 
  •     industrial/organizational psychology 

While the department does not offer a master's degree in clinical or counseling psychology, a master's degree in psychology with a concentration in clinical psychology is available for students who have been admitted to the doctoral program concentration in clinical psychology.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Choose one concentration and complete the requirements therein.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNR)

The concentration in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience focuses on studying biological substrates of behavior. Core and affiliated faculty study areas as diverse as neural control of behavioral development; animal models of learning and memory and their disorders (such as Alzheimer's); human brain systems involved in cognition, perception, human error, decision making, and movement; the relation of neural activity to human performance; and cognitive aging. A focus of the program is on translational neuroscience-complementary study of neural systems in humans and animals, including application of animal research to human behavior.

Specialized Content

PSYC 531 Mammalian Neurobiology 3
or NEUR 603 Mammalian Neuroanatomy
PSYC 558 Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory 3
or PSYC 685 Cognitive Neuroscience
Total Credits 6

Additional Course 

Select one course from the following: 3
Behavioral Chemistry  
Total Credits 3

Quantitative Methods 

PSYC 642 General Linear Modeling I 4
PSYC 643 General Linear Modeling II 4
Total Credits 8


Students complete the 30 credits required for the degree through additional credits of coursework, including courses not listed above within or outside the department, with prior approval of the graduate advisor. 

Some options for fulfilling this requirement:

PSYC 592 Special Topics 
PSYC 892 Special Topics in Psychology
NEUR 602 Cellular Neuroscience
NEUR 689 Topics in Neuroscience
BIOL 585 Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory
BIOS 740 Laboratory Methods in Functional Genomics and Biotechnology

Practicum, Research or Thesis

Students may choose to do either a 6 credit Psychology Practicum, a 6 credit research experience or a thesis. All options require at least 6 credits total. Students should be aware of the policies governing theses. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PSYC 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment. See Academic Policies.

Psychology Practicum Option
PSYC 792 Psychology Practicum 6
Psychology Research Option
PSYC 597 Directed Reading and Research 6
Thesis Option 
Select 6 credits from the following: 6
Thesis Proposal  
Master's Thesis (minimum of 3 credits)