The DBS curriculum consists of a minimum of 60 credits: 30 credits earned through coursework (24 required credits and 6 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 can be found HERE.

The curriculum consists of the following courses:

1. Core courses (7 courses/21 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 613) and Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYDBS 623).
  • Three methods courses: Computational Methods (PSYDBS 641), Physiological Methods (PSYDBS 611) and Advanced Statistics (PSYCLN 670).
  • One required seminar course: Seminar in Developmental and Brain Sciences (PSYDBS 693).

2. Concentration core courses (at least 1 course/3 credits)

  • Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYDBS 715) or
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYDBS 725).

3. General elective courses (at least 2 courses/6 credits)

While students are strongly encouraged to fulfill DBS elective course requirements with DBS course offerings, students may elect to take one elective course outside of the department or as a DBS Independent study, provided permission has been granted in each case by the student's Advisory Committee.  Independent studies may not be used to fulfill non-elective requirements.

  • PSYDBS 693 Seminar in Developmental and Brain Sciences (course may be repeated once for elective credit)
  • PSYDBS 764 Mechanisms of Attention
  • PSYDBS 752 Advanced Hormones and Behavior
  • PSYDBS Independent Study 696/796/896

4. Research Credits (at least 6 Mentored Research Credits and at least 24 Dissertation Credits)

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 fourth semester and to register for at least 6 credits of Mentored Research (PSYDBS 690) while pursuing the MRP. Culmination of the MRP will result in both an oral presentation/defense and a written paper.

Students are expected to present a dissertation proposal to their Dissertation Committee (usually comprised of the student's advisor, 2 members of the DBS faculty and one member from outside of the program) by the beginning of the 5th semester, usually in September.  The proposal should exemplify how the dissertation research will be an original and thorough piece of research that contributes to the field of neuropsychology.

A qualifying exam is given at the end of the 5th semester and is a question-based, take-home, written exam.  Students will typically be given two weeks to complete the exam, and the exam will be released each January, during the winter session.

DBS students are expected to defend their final dissertations by the end of the 8th semester.

All rules and requirements are subject to change by the DBS Program Committee; please contact us for up-to-date information.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at