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Psychology | Behavior, Cognition, & Neuroscience PhD Program

PhD in Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience


Degree Requirements

  • 54 credit hours of approved graduate work 
  • Students who have been admitted to the doctoral program in psychology but do not have an MA in psychology that has been accepted by the department must complete the degree requirements for theMAin Psychology (thesis option) before they can be awarded the doctorate.
  • Specialty comprehensive exam. A student, with the help of his/her advisor, chooses a topic for specialization and forms a committee of at least fourmembers (including the advisor), at least two of whom are full-time psychology faculty at American University. The student is given a personalized written examination on this topic prepared and scored by the committee members.
  • Dissertation: A written proposal for the dissertation is to be submitted to the dissertation committee by the middle of the second semester of the third year. The original proposal, or a revision thereof, should meet the requirements of the committee by the end of the second semester of the third year. The dissertation must be accepted by the dissertation committee, the department chair, and the university. 

Course Requirements

  • 6 credit hours of PSYC-598 Neuroscience Seminar (3) 
  • 12 credit hours from the following: 
  • PSYC-501 Physiological Psychology (3) 
  • PSYC-513 Neuropharmacology (3) 
  • PSYC-518 Advanced Human Neuropsychology (3) 
  • PSYC-530 Conditioning and Learning (3) 
  • PSYC-551 Psychopathology: Theory and Research (3) 
  • PSYC-560 Advanced Developmental Psychology (3) 
  • PSYC-575 Advanced Memory and Cognition (3) 
  • PSYC-618 Principles of Neuropsychological Assessment (3) 
  • Other courses focusing in the neurosciences may be taken with approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Curriculum Committee. 
  • PSYC-799 Doctoral Dissertation Research (6)
  • 6 credit hours of statistics 
  • 6 credit hours of electives 
  • 18 credit hours of lab research