Behavioral neuroscience is a field of study that examines the connection between human biology and human psychology or behavior. Those in this field examine a wide array of topics that can include emotions, memory, addiction, developmental processes, learning, and brain injury recovery. In Texas, there are several different graduate programs that fall within the realm of behavioral neuroscience.
Overview of Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Programs in Texas
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University offers a PhD in Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience degree, which is housed within the Psychological and Brain Sciences department. This is a rigorous program that will include a series of colloquiums, a first-year research project, a teaching development series, opportunities for professional development, and statistics training. The behavioral and cellular neuroscience degree track will have you studying questions that relate to the biological source of behavior, and you might investigate such topics as experimental psychology, clinical psychopharmacology, and comparative neurobiology. The program requires 96 hours in various coursework, including classes and research, and it was designed to take five years to complete.
The University of Texas at Austin
At the University of Texas at Austin, you can earn a PhD in Psychology with a behavioral neuroscience concentration. Depending on whether you focus on clinical or non-clinical psychology, this program will take about four to six years to complete. During that time, you will take core courses, take two advanced statistics courses, perform research, and will write a dissertation. For your behavioral neuroscience concentration, you will work with a diverse faculty in this field as well as specialize in specific topics that could include evolution, how patients recover from brain injury, or behavioral development.
The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso also gives you the opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Behavioral Neuroscience degree. This university prides itself on its diverse, bilingual faculty. In this program, you will be trained in neuroscience theories, empirical design, writing skills, and research. You can also work outside of the Psychology department in the Biological Sciences department, which has several neuroscientists. This program can take anywhere from two and a half to six years to complete, depending in part on whether you already have a master's.
University of Houston
The University of Houston offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience, which is part of its psychology department. The focus of this program is to prepare students to become both teaching and research scientists. At the start of the program, you will be required to choose your own research focus, which could include such topics as developmental disabilities, exercise and neuroplasticity, or bilingualism's neural bases. The first two years of this program will have you taking core courses and attending seminars. By year three, you will need to finish a master's thesis and complete qualifying exams, and by year four, you should be ready to graduate with your PhD.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
If you're looking for a master's level program, then you might consider the University of Texas at El Paso, which has a Master of Science in Psychology with a behavioral neuroscience concentration. Designed to give students a thorough education in both psychology and neuroscience, this master's program will require you to take classes in both subjects as well as classes in statistics, chemistry and anatomy. Research also plays a big role in this program. You will need to complete a thesis, a research project or an internship in order to graduate.
Common Entrance Requirements
While each specific neuroscience program will have its own set of admission requirements, there will be a set of common materials needed when applying. First, you will need to have earned a bachelor's degree. Second, you will need to submit an application and its related fees. You will also need to submit a statement of purpose or a career statement that describes why you want to attend the program, what you hope your research focus will be, and what your qualifications are, such as previous research experience and your academic successes. You will also need to submit your GRE test scores along with your transcripts and letters of recommendation. For the most part, you will not need a master's degree, as during some of these programs, you will earn a master's degree on your way to earning your PhD.
As each graduate program in behavioral neuroscience is slightly different, it's important that you research each one of them in order to decide which one offers that right research and faculty options that will fit your specific interest. In Texas, there are several programs to choose from, all of which will allow you to dive deep into the study of behavioral neuroscience.