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Mind, Brain, and Behavior

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The secondary field of PhD study in Mind, Brain, and Behavior (MBB) may follow one of two tracks — a general track, or a specialized track.

The general track will draw PhD students in fields beyond MBB core disciplines. Participants will gain familiarity with basic issues related to mind, brain, and behavior but will not be required to do experimental research. For example, a student in comparative literature who is interested in 18th-century notions of the self might want some familiarity with contemporary cognitive neuroscience to complement her research.

The specialized track, by contrast, will draw PhD students whose home disciplines are within the MBB core. This track is intended to encourage education and research in fields outside the home discipline. A student in linguistics, for example, might do work with developmental psychologists on language acquisition. Such a student might satisfy the requirements of the specialized track with a general course in developmental psychology, a directed reading course on language acquisition, and two semesters of research in a developmental psychology lab working on projects involving language acquisition.

Program Requirements

MBB General Track: Four courses (16 credits) from MBB-related departments. One should be a foundational course, typically satisfied by a graduate level section of SLS 20. The three other courses should be chosen from MBB-related departments, and at least two of them should be at the graduate level, or at the undergraduate level but with special accommodations for graduate students. All four courses must be completed with a grade of B+ or higher. Courses must be approved both by the student’s home field advisor and by a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on MBB.

MBB Specialized Track: Four graduate-level courses (16 credits) from MBB-related departments. All four courses should be outside the student’s main area of research, and up to two of them may involve work in a lab. The four courses should be organized around a central theme, which the student will develop in consultation with at least one supervisor outside the main discipline. One of the courses may be a directed reading course. All four courses must be completed with a grade of B+ or higher. Courses must be approved by the outside supervisor, the home field advisor, and a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on MBB.


If you are considering the MBB secondary field, we would like you to consult with us before you begin taking courses for the program. To begin planning for either track, please contact MBB Education Program Coordinator Shawn Harriman. Once you have begun your secondary field work, your advising will depend upon the track you are following. For the general track, advising will come from your home field advisor, the MBB sub-committee, and the MBB Education Program Coordinator. For the specialized track, advising will come from your home field advisor, your outside supervisor, and the MBB sub-committee, and will include an initial discussion about structuring your specialized program.

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