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Special Major in Psychobiology

Current as of Spring 2010. Check back for updates.

The Departments of Psychology and Biology offer a special major that combines work in the two departments, focusing on the biological basis of behavior.

The major is based on the introductory courses in both departments (Bio 001, 002 and Psyc 001), Physiological Psychology, and three groups of optional courses.

Majors are required to take Psyc 030 and at least two courses from each of the three groups of optional courses.

In addition, majors will satisfy a comprehensive requirement, normally by completing a senior thesis (taken for 2 credits, one each semester of the senior year) or by successful completion of a special comprehensive examination.

Entry Requirements

For admission to the major, students must have completed at least two courses in each department, and must have maintained at least a B average (3.0) in both biology and psychology.

In addition, they must have completed:

  • Chemistry 010: General Chemistry
  • and Chemistry 022: Organic Chemistry I.

Students who have not completed the entry requirements may apply if they will qualify by the end of the next semester following application. They will be deferred from acceptance to the major pending successful completion of the courses. Students who would be deferred longer than 1 1/2 semesters should apply instead for either a biology or a psychology major and plan to change to psychobiology when they qualify for it.


Students are required to take Stat 011 Statistical Methods, preferably before entering the junior year, or as soon thereafter as possible. Statistics does not count in the courses for the special major, but is a requirement for it.

The special major is comprised of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 12 courses in the categories below. All students will complete the courses in the Core category, but they may choose to count Bio 001, 002 and Psychology 001 as part of the major or as prerequisites for it, depending on the rest of their program. Students will include a list of the courses comprising their major with the application and will confirm a final list at the beginning of their final semester. Applicants should use the Psychobiology Special Major application form available from either department, listing the courses they have completed, those they are currently taking, and those they intend to take in the major , copies of which, with signatures from a representative of each department, should be submitted to both departments and to the Registrar.

Note: Qualified students may study psychobiology in the Honors Program. Details about the Special Honors Major in Psychobiology are available on an additional sheet from either department.

Core Courses

Biology 001
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Biology 002 Organismal and Polulation Biology
Biology 022 Neurobiology
Psychology 001 Introduction to Psychology
Psychology 030 Physiological Psychology

Optional Courses

See department information packets for schedule

Group 1: Biological Foundations ( at least 1 )
Biology 010 Genetics
Biology 014 Cell Biology
Biology 020 Animal Physiology
Biology 021 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
Biology 024 Developmental Biology
Biology 110 Human Genetics
Biology 111 Developmental Genetics
Chem 038 Biological Chemistry
Group 2: Bio-behavioral Foundations ( 2 )
Biology 030 Animal Behavior
Biology 034 Evolution
Biology 036 Ecology
Biology 123 Learning and Memory
Biology 124 Hormones and Behavior
Biology 130 Behavioral Ecology
Psychology 031 Cognitive Neuroscience
Psychology 032 Perception
Psychology 042 Human Intelligence
Psychology 043 Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Psychology 091 Advanced Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience
Psychology 130 Physiological Psych. seminar (1 credit.)
Group 3: Psychological Processes ( 2 )
COGS 001 Introduction to Cognitive Science
(counts for major when taught by psychologist)
Psychology 033 Cognitive Psychology
Psychology 133 Cognitive Psychology Seminar (1 credit)
Psyc / Ling 034 Psychology of Language
Psyc / Ling 134 Psycholinguistics Seminar (1 credit)
Psychology 036 Thinking, Judgment & Decision Making
Psychology 136 Thinking, Judgment & Decision Making Seminar
Psychology 038 Clinical Psychology (every semester)
Psychology 138 Clinical Psychology Seminar (1 credit)(every Fall)
Psychology 039 Developmental Psychology
Psychology 139 Developmental Psychology Seminar (1 Credit)
Psychology 041 Children at Risk

Note: This is not a definitive list. By consulting both departments, students may request to have other suitable courses added to these groupings.

Comprehensive Requirement

Special 096, 097 (2 credits) Thesis: Psychobiology or PSYCH 110 (1 credit) Research Practicum in Cognitive Neuroscience.