The DBS curriculum consists of a minimum of 60 credits: 30 credits earned through coursework (18 required credits and 12 elective credits) and 30 credits through research. Each student works with a primary faculty advisor and an Advisory Committee to develop and monitor a cohesive plan of work that reflects both program and individual goals.
Program course requirements. A list of the courses with links to the syllabi can be found HERE.
The curriculum consists of the following courses:
1. Required core courses (3 courses/9 credits)
- A required introductory course (pass/fail): Proseminar (PSYDBS 601). This course is offered during the first semester for each cohort of students.
- Two required foundational courses: Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYDBS 610) and Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYDBS 620).
2. Concentration electives (3 courses/9 credits)
- One required elective course from a selection of two offerings: Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYDBS 611) or Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYDBS 621).
- Two required methods courses from a selection of three offerings: Advanced Statistics (PSYCH 670); Research Design and Analysis for Developmental Studies (PSYDBS 671); Matlab for the Behavioral Sciences (PSYDBS 672).
3. General elective courses (4 courses/12 credits)
These may come from within or outside the program with a limitation that only two may be taken from outside offerings. Thus, electives may be chosen from the program list (see Courses) or from courses offered by Clinical Psychology, Biology, or Computer Science. Courses taken from outside of the DBS program must be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director.
4. Special courses
There are two special 800 level courses offered by the DBS faculty: Independent Study in Developmental and Brain Sciences (PSYDBS 896) and Seminar in Developmental and Brain Sciences (PSYDBS 897). Upon approval of the Advisory Committee and Graduate Program Director, one 800 level course may replace one of the four required elective courses needed to meet program course requirements.
Research and exam requirements.
Students will engage in research under the direction of a program faculty member, beginning in the first semester and continuing through the dissertation research. Under the direction of their mentor and Advisory Committee, each student must complete a Mentored Research Project (MRP) and Qualifying Exams in order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy. Students are required to complete the MRP no later than the end of the fifth semester and to register for at least 6 credits of Mentored Research (PSYDBS 690) while pursuing the MRP. Oral presentation and defense of the Mentored Research Project to program faculty will constitute the oral part of the qualifying exam.
The written portion of the qualifying exam must be completed no later than the end of the third year. This exam will consist of questions posed by the DBS program faculty to test knowledge in the core areas of the program and to examine the student’s ability to critically evaluate and synthesize primary research literature to provide empirically based summarization on selected areas of interest. A qualifying examination will be used to assess knowledge and understanding of the subject matter before the student advances to doctoral candidacy and begins the dissertation.
Although a Master's degree is not required as a step to the doctorate, students may petition for this degree. In this case, the MRP may be developed into a formal written Master's thesis to fulfill a requirement for the Master of Science degree.
Of the 30 required research credits, 24 credits must be satisfied by enrollment in Dissertation Research (PSYDBS 790) after qualification. Students may elect to take additional research credits. The dissertation is expected to represent an original and thorough piece of research. Evaluation and approval of the proposal for this research must be conducted by a dissertation committee consisting of at least two DBS program faculty members and at least one faculty member from outside the program.
All rules and requirements are subject to change by the DBS Program Committee; please contact us for up-to-date information.
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