Biopsychology Major (Joint Program with Biology)

Human BrainBiopsychology is a major run jointly by the Departments of Psychology and Biological Sciences.  There is no biopsychology department.  Please see appropriate faculty in either department if you have questions about the program (see information below for how to declare). Use our Biopsychology Checklist for detailed requirements.

Biopsychology is an interdisciplinary area of study (traditionally a subfield of psychology) where the major area of interest is the relationship between physiological and psychological systems: in the nervous system. Study focuses on the neural mechanisms of behavior and cognition, evolutionary development of the nervous system, and mechanisms of nervous system and psychiatric disorders. The biopsychology major prepares students for graduate study in biopsychology, neuroscience, neuropsychology, neurobiology, or related fields and for careers requiring a solid foundation in science.

Graduate programs in biopsychology (also known as physiological psychology, psychobiology, and behavioral neuroscience) are often located in psychology departments.

NOTE: some courses are NOT offered every year.  Please note planned scheduling of the course offerings in the undergraduate bulletin and below.


Requirements for Biopsychology Major

Requirements for a Major in Biopsychology (B.S.)
14 units including the following required courses and electives:
  • Biology 213, 217, 306 (306 usually offered annually in spring)
  • Psychology 101, 351 (351 usually offered annually in spring), 442 (442 usually offered in fall of even years)
  • Biology 221 or Psychology 116
  • Chemistry 111.
Elective courses (Select two courses from Experimental Psychology and two from Biology)
  • Experimental Psychology: select 2 courses (these courses have "experimental psychology" in the course title; 2 offered each semester- PS 116/BI 221 is prerequisite for all biopsychology majors. All students must be familiar with scientific/APA writing styles and research methodology.)
  • Biology: Biology 219, 304, 311, 312, 323, 324, 333.
One of the following senior-level learning communities (Student must make this decision in their junior year and inform the appropriate department).:
  • Biology 400, Biology 400E and Biology 496 (recommended for students considering medical/dental school or graduate studies in the biological sciences or neuroscience/neurobiology)
or
  • Psychology 400 and Psychology 441 (recommended for students considering graduate studies in psychology or neuroscience with emphasis on biopsychology).

Additional Information about Biopsychology Major


  • A laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered. Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently.
  • Please consult the appropriate department chair (Biological Sciences or Psychology) for information regarding research and internship opportunities.
  • Students interested in graduate study in neuroscience should take additional chemistry courses including biochemistry.
  • Courses used to calculate the major index include all courses taken in Biology and Psychology.
  • Students may choose an academic advisor from among the psychology or biology faculty depending on academic interest.
  • To declare your major, you should go to the psychology department (social sciences office in Parker Hall 211) if you would prefer a psychology advisor and/or are thinking of taking the psychology senior LC.  If you would prefer a biology advisor and/or are thinking of taking the biology senior LC, you should declare your major in the biology department. Note: students can choose either senior LC regardless of who their advisor is.

Tips for Selecting Courses in Biopsychology Major

  • Attempt to take both psychology and biology courses simultaneously when available. Do not postpone either group- later, they may not be available when you need them.
  • Take statistics as soon as you can. Several courses in the major (in both biology and psychology) require it.
  • Several courses are only offered every other year. Please plan carefully.
  • If you take biostatistics (BI 221), you must request permission to take experimental psychology prior to your registration time. You will not be able to register for them online.
  • Students interested in graduate study in neuroscience should take additional chemistry courses including biochemistry.

Faculty with Interests in Biopsychology

  • Dr. Laurence Nolan, Psychology
  • Dr. Zoltan Fulop, Biological Sciences
  • Dr. Brian Palestis, Biological Sciences
  • Dr. Christopher Corbo, Biological Sciences

 

There is no minor in biopsychology and biopsychology majors cannot minor in psychology or biology.

There are no biology or psychology "tracks" in the major. The requirements for the major are the same for all students.