Admission to the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program

To be admitted to the program, an applicant must be approved by the Graduate School, the Department of Psychology, and the faculty of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences program. Selection is based on various criteria, including prior academic record, GRE scores, previous research experience, letters of recommendation, and a good match between the applicant's interests and those of faculty members who might serve as their Major Professor.

Applications must be turned in to BOTH the University of Georgia Office of Graduate Admissions and the office of the Graduate Coordinator of Psychology. Applications to the Brain and Behavioral Sciences program must be received by December 1 to be guaranteed full consideration. Click here for more on Psychology graduate admissions.

Financial Assistance

Students working in a labUpon admission to the program, students are typically considered for various forms of financial support. These include teaching assistantships - students with masters degrees may teach their own courses; those with the bachelor's degree assist an instructor - and research assistantships. A limited number of research assistantships are available through the Graduate School through competitive University-Wide Fellowships, or students may be funded through a faculty member's grant. Applications for University-wide assistantships are routed through the chairperson of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences program

The program has been very successful in recent years at obtaining funding for all or nearly all of its students in all semesters. Students may also work directly with the University's Office of Student Financial Aid (706-542-6147) for assistance in securing student loans.

The Faculty, and Selecting a Major Professor

Student completing a cognitive task while wearing an EEG cap

Entering students are assigned an initial sponsor based upon what seems to be a "best match" between the student's expressed interests and the specialty area of individual faculty. Because most new students are not familiar with specific areas of faculty interests and their research, and because it is not uncommon for students' academic research interests to undergo significant change (especially in their first year or two), the assignment of the initial advisor should be regarded as entirely provisional. Students should attempt to acquaint themselves with all faculty members in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program in order to secure a Major Professor who best matches their interests and ambitions. Applicants are encouraged to identify one or more potential Major Professor(s) in their applications.

M.S. Degree

Although the Psychology department does not offer the M.S. as a terminal degree, it does require that each student complete the M.S. as preparation for the Ph.D. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted, for example if the student has elsewhere obtained a M.S. degree in Psychology based, in part, upon a written thesis.

The M.S. Program of Study must contain at least 30 hours of course work.  Six of those hours must be research (PSYC 7000 or 7300) and Quantitative Psychology I (PSYC 6410 or an approved equivalent) is required. At least 9 hours must come from the following list:

  • PSYC 6100 - Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 6110 - Basic Learning Processes
  • PSYC 6130 - Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • PSYC 6160 - Sensory Psychology
  • PSYC 6180 - History of Psychology
  • PSYC 6200 - Advanced Social Psychology
  • PSYC 6210 - Individual Differences
  • PSYC 6220 - Developmental Psychology

Students who have taken graduate course work elsewhere, or who have had an especially good undergraduate preparation, may be able to exempt some of the specific course requirements. See your Major Professor for procedures to petition for such exemptions. Some of the requirements (e.g., PSYC6410, informally known as Quant I) may also be satisfied by analogous courses in other departments.

Ph.D. Degree

Cognitive program graduate students in a lab meeting

Award of the terminal doctoral degree is contingent upon (a) a minimum of 30 credit hours in a Ph.D. Program of Study, (b) satisfactory performance on both written and oral Comprehensive Examinations, (c) submission and successful defense of a dissertation prospectus, and (d) completion of a written doctoral dissertation and satisfactory defense thereof in a final oral examination.  The Ph.D. Program of Study and other Ph.D. requirements are additional requisites to those needed for the M.S. degree. 

The Ph.D. program of study must include:

  • PSYC 6420 - Quantitative Psychology II
  • Either PSYC 6430 (Quant. III) or PSYC 6440 (Quant. IV)

At east one additional course on research methods and/or instrumentation (such as PSYC 8330) must be chosen with the advice and consent of the DAC.  Additional courses from outside of the Psychology Department can also be chosen with the advice and consent of the DAC.

Specialty Area 

Current specializations include social psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology; behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and visual science. Students can form a different area of specialization if it is represented by and consistent with the research of their Major Professor and other DAC members (e.g., Social Neuroscience). The concentrations provided by the department tend to be defined broadly since the foci themselves are fluid and tend to evolve according to the progression of the field.