Pursue Research into the Neuroscience of Human and Animal Behavior
Learn how to research, test, measure and treat the brain, at all levels from molecular analysis to the psychological impact of human neurological conditions in the doctoral program in behavioral neuroscience at the University at Albany. Gain a deep understanding into the biological variables that affect behavior, and a broad knowledge of the working of the nervous system.
You will combine behavioral testing with assays that might include metabolism, gene expression, protein levels and neuronal structure. Acquire the skills to become an expert in your field and prepare you for a career in academia, corporate research, public health, advocacy, or any field where complex data analysis is required.
Both in the classroom and in the laboratory, you will work directly with faculty experts on in-depth study topics like brain plasticity, stress neurobiology, sex differences, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and memory and learning. You will also gain hands-on expertise in scientific writing, statistical analysis and data management with the benefit of expert mentoring.
Program of Study
During the first two years of the PhD in Behavioral Neurosciences program you will complete rigorous training in statistics and a grounding in multiple aspects of neurobiology and psychology. You will then proceed to specialized classes in neuroendocrinology, learning and memory, behavioral genetics and special-topics classes. Next you will conduct hands-on research, working towards your thesis.
Behavioral Neuroscience Required Courses:
- Behavioral Neuroscience I and II
- Neurobiology of Learning & Memory
- Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
- Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience Electives (choose one):
- Special Topics in Psychology Behavioral Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuropharmacology
- Behavior-Genetic Analysis
Other Psychology Courses (choose two):
- Survey of Learning & Conditioning
- Survey of Psychopathology
- Survey of Cognitive Psychology
Out of Specialization Area Courses
- Two courses from two different areas of specialization within Psychology PhD programs
Statistics/Method Courses (8 credits):
- Statistical and Experimental Methods I and II
Biology Courses (6 credits):
- Cell & Molecular Developmental Neurobiology
- Molecular Neurobiology
Initial Research Project
- Demonstrate good experimental design and basic research competency in your subfield of Psychology, by the end of your second year
Research Tool Requirement - demonstrated proficiency in one of the following:
- Pass a foreign language test
- Course in computer programming, mathematics, electronics, biochemistry, histological techniques, foreign language, pharmacology, or advanced statistics
- Master a technique, statistical or otherwise, in the process of conducting the Initial Research Project or another research project.
Qualifying Examinations (at the end of your third year)
A major, significant contribution to the body of knowledge in your field, typically including several published and peer-reviewed papers reporting your work to the scientific community.
Full-Time Study in Residence
The most significant element of your PhD is the design and completion of your thesis - an original research contribution to the field, planned with the help of your faculty thesis committee. You will gain the expertise to become an independent researcher by making required contacts with industry partners and labs, analyzing data, reporting and presenting the results at scientific conferences.
UAlbany has the facilities and resources needed for your success Our Life Science Research Building has generous lab space, a state-of-the-art animal housing facility, and access to core facilities including tissue culture, molecular biology and behavioral analysis cores. You will interact with research scientists and students across a range of disciplines including Neuroscience, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Locally, additional collaborations are common and increase the resources and expertise available with colleagues at RPI, Albany Medical College and the Wadsworth Center at the New York State Department of Health.
With a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience you will be on the path to pursue careers such as:
- Research scientist
- Medical scientist
- Scientific writer
- Teaching faculty
- Research faculty
- Non-profit sector research and policy
- Public policy advisor
Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.
- Students will be able to conduct original research including:
(a) Literature review and generation of hypotheses
(b) Understand and apply an appropriate laboratory technique or research methodology
(c) Statistical analyses of data
(d) Incorporate findings into the existing literature and identify implications of study
- Students demonstrate effective presentation skills.
- Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of the behavioral neuroscience literature, an ability to use critical thinking skills and scholarship to create new ideas and hypotheses and an ability to synthesize scientific approaches and findings across research areas.
- Students will demonstrate accomplishment of laboratory skills