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In the Department of Psychology at Wright State University, undergraduates have the option of receiving a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience (BNS). This concentration prepares students for graduate studies in Behavioral Neuroscience and can be easily modified to incorporate premedical requirements as well.
Behavioral Neuroscience is the study of the biology of behavior. It focuses on the behavioral, neural, and physiological processes involved in perception, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, and emotion. Behavioral neuroscientists study the brain in relation to behavior, its evolution, development, functions, abnormalities, and repair, as well as interactions with the immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine systems, and energy regulation systems.
The Behavioral Neuroscience section prides itself in having an active undergraduate honors student community with a focus on applied community outreach. Visit the Honors Thesis webpage for a listing of undergraduate honors student theses and presentations.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the B.S. in Psychology, students concentrating in Behavioral Neuroscience at Wright State take extra coursework within the College of Science and Mathematics and focus their electives within the Psychology Department to those with primary relevance to the field of neuroscience. All students within the concentration are encouraged to participate in research supervised by one of the BNS faculty, either in their laboratories or as independent research and coursework. As part of the coursework for the undergraduate honors track, students can enroll in the Honors Research Project Seminar (PSY 4070). This course teaches students how to conduct, analyze, and present literature reviews--one of the fundamental basis of empirical research.
View Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration program information, degree requirements, and graduation planning strategy in the Academic Catalog.
Students must apply for admission to Wright State University. For admission into the Department of Psychology, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Successful completion of PSY 1010 or equivalent college-level Introductory Psychology course with a grade of 'C' or better.
- Earn at least a 2.25 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA), including transfer courses.
- Successful completion of at least 15 semester credit hours of college-level coursework. This includes transfer credit hours and credit for Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
For more information about the undergraduate program in psychology, contact the Psychology Department in 335 Fawcett Hall at (937) 775-2391.
Although you do not apply for this concentration until 64 hours of coursework are completed, it is best if several of the required courses are taken in the first two years of study. Obtain program information and course guidelines from Dr. Schiml's office door 313B Fawcett or the Psychology Success Center (342 Fawcett) as soon as possible.
A Bachelor's of Science (B.S.) degree in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience is available in the Department of Psychology at Wright State, and this formal concentration will appear on your academic transcript.
- Completion of 64 hours of coursework, including PSY 3910
- An overall GPA at Wright State of 3.2
- Declaration of Psychology B.S. as your major
- Completion of an application form
Applications are processed around the 10th week of each semester. Students will be notified upon admittance. Although the concentration is only open to psychology majors, any student may take the listed courses provided they have the necessary prerequisites.
PLEASE NOTE: For the BNS notation to remain on your transcript at time of graduation, you are required to: (1) complete the required courses AND (2) maintain a Psychology GPA of 3.2.
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Highest Degree: B.S. Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience Concentration and Pre-Medical Studies, Wright State University
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Highest Degree: M.S. in Physiology & Neuroscience, Wright State University
Primary BNS Advisor
Dr. Patricia Schiml
313B Fawcett Hall
What kinds of classes do I need to take?
You will need to take some basic science, math, and computer programming classes to gain a background in methods of scientific inquiry and analytic skills. Topics in behavioral neuroscience (e.g., relationships between behavior and the brain, hormones, or drugs) may be introduced in lower level elective classes offered by Psychology, Biology, or Neuroscience departments. Advanced courses will train you in research techniques and offer in-depth study of specific behavioral neuroscience topics that examine the complex relationships between behavior, the brain and neurochemical systems. Advanced coursework in cell biology and chemistry, e.g. organic chemistry and biochemistry, also is highly recommended.
What other preparation will I need?
It is recommended that you receive research experience while you are an undergraduate. This may be obtained in a variety of ways, including working with a faculty member as a research assistant in his or her laboratory.
Do I have to go to graduate school?
Most individuals interested in Behavioral Neuroscience eventually choose to pursue independent research within a focused area of interest. To conduct research of this nature, the training that a Ph.D. degree provides is typically necessary.
What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience?
A bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience prepares you well for application to graduate programs within a broad array of fields, including behavioral neuroscience, psychology, biology, animal behavior, medicine, clinical neuropsychology, and general neuroscience. If you choose not to go to graduate school, a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience would be excellent preparation for such diverse careers ranging from a laboratory research assistant to a pharmaceutical representative.
What can I do with a graduate degree in Behavioral Neuroscience?
M.S: With a master’s degree, you would be able to assist another scientist in running the day-to-day operations within his or her laboratory. A master’s degree would provide you with advanced research skills beyond the bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges employ master’s-level persons in teaching positions, as do many pharmaceutical laboratories.
Ph.D.: A doctoral degree in behavioral neuroscience would prepare you to conduct your own research program. With a Ph.D., you would be generating work that is relevant to the overall understanding of how the physiology of the brain contributes to human behavior and well-being. In addition, a Ph.D. prepares you to train others to do research in your field.
How do I get a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Wright State?
There is no major in behavioral neuroscience at Wright State. However, a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) degree in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience is currently available in the Department of Psychology at Wright State. The courses that students are required to take are described here (see “What classes…”). The concentration will appear on your academic transcript.
What classes does Wright State require?
The WSU PUP office (Fawcett 335) has sample programs of study and checklists that will help you plan which courses to take. In addition to essential courses in basic science, math, statistics, and computer programming, you will take several of the behavioral neuroscience-relevant courses offered in the Department of Psychology. These courses include our 3-course behavioral neuroscience series (Behavioral Neuroscience I & II and Methods), lower level electives that introduce you to particular specialty areas in behavioral neuroscience (e.g., Hormones & Behavior, Drugs & Behavior), and upper level electives (BNS capstones, PSY 4900-4990) that will expose to you the breadth of the field and provide you with opportunities to explore areas of your interest in greater detail (e.g., Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Animal Behavior, Clinical Neuroscience, Endocrinology & Sexuality, Psychobiology of Stress, Behavioral Embryology and Teratology, Behavioral Neuroscience Education).
How do I get research experience at Wright State?
It is recommended that you participate in research during your tenure at Wright State. You may do this by working as a student employee, or for credit, with a faculty member engaged in behavioral neuroscience research or by gaining research experience with other faculty, in other departments, or other lab settings. Additionally, one-on-one independent study courses or an honors project may be developed in conjunction with a faculty member according to your specific interests. Working as a research assistant or doing an Independent project depends on the availability of positions as well as your GPA, coursework completed, project needs, and your own schedule. See an advisor for referral to potential mentors.
Below is a list of websites that describe various aspects of neuroscience. An introductory course in behavioral neuroscience would also provide you with an overview of the field. You may wish to speak to a faculty member engaged in behavioral neuroscience research or teaching. Look up faculty members’ research on the Internet and read their published work to see what kinds of scientific questions interest them.