Have you ever wondered what makes people act the way they do?

In neuroscience and behavior you'll use a blend of social, natural, mathematical and life sciences to address the intriguing and difficult issues related to behavior and experience. This interdisciplinary program combines aspects of psychology and biology to dig deeper into the biological bases of behavior, conscious experience and the relationship between physical and mental health.

Our students go on to rewarding careers in a variety of research and clinical settings — and, with guidance from our expert faculty, many prepare for advanced work in biology, psychology, or for medical, dental or veterinary school.
Program Requirements


Majors will complete a core consisting of nine courses plus five track-specific courses spread throughout their four years.

A suggested sequence for core courses is:

First Year

  • PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science
  • BIOL 113 General Biology
  • CHEM 111 Introductory Chemistry: Inorganic or CHEM 113
  • Principles of Chemistry

Sophomore Year

  • MATH 118 Introductory Statistics (or MATH 227 or MATH 229)
  • PSYC 201 Biological Psychology
  • PSYC 203 Research Methods in Psychology

Junior Year

  • PHIL 237 Philosophy of Mind

One course from the basic process category in psychology:

  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology
  • PSYC 243 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 244 Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 245 Memory and Learning
  • PSYC 247 Perception

Senior Year

  • PB 347 Seminar in Psychobiology

Majors select one of two concentrations to add to the core:

A) Neurobiology Track

  • CHEM 112 Introductory Chemistry: Organic Chemistry or
  • CHEM 114 Organic Chemistry
  • BIOL 225 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 334 Neurobiology
  • BIOL 337 Molecular Biology
  • An additional 200-level or higher biology course

B) Cognitive and Behavioral Track

  • BIOL 342 Topics in Behavioral Biology
  • PSYC 301 Research in Biopsychology or PSYC 303 Research in Cognitive Processes
  • A 200-level or higher biology course

Two additional courses from the Neuroscience list below.

Courses cannot double-count for both core sequence and the Neuroscience lists.

Neuroscience List

  • PSYC 231 The Nature of Abnormal Behavior
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology
  • PSYC 243 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 244 Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 245 Memory and Learning
  • PSYC 247 Perception
  • PSYC 301 Research in Biopsychology
  • PSYC 303 Research in Cognitive Processes
  • CS 112 Introduction to Computer Science
  • PHIL 136 Philosophy of Human Nature
  • PHIL 238 Ways of Knowing
  • BIOL 222 Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 225 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 231 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIOL 334 Neurobiology
  • BIOL 335 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 336 Genetics
  • CHEM 112 Introductory Chemistry: Organic
  • CHEM 223 Introduction to Biochemistry
  • NUTR 111 Fundamentals of Nutrition Science or
  • NUTR 112 Introduction to Nutrition Science

Independent Learning

Neuroscience and Behavior Majors typically fulfill the 8-credit Independent Learning degree requirement in the Biology Department by taking BIOL 350 Independent Laboratory Research (a two-semester 8-credit course) or BIOL 370 Internship (a two-semester 8-credit course), or in the Psychology Department by taking two semesters of PSYC 350 Independent Study (for 4 credits each) or PSYC 380 Fieldwork in a Psychological Setting (a two-semester 8-credit course). Students may with the permission of the department register for a senior thesis (BIO 355, after BIO 350, or PSYC 355 following PSYC 350 or PSYC 380). Alternatively, with Psychology Departmental approval, students may fulfill the requirement by taking one semester of PSYC 350 (for 4 credits) followed by PSYC 381 Writing a Psychological Thesis (for 4 credits) concurrently with a second semester of PSYC 350 or 380. Students should make these arrangements with their Neuroscience and Behavior advisor before the end of the junior year

Customize Your Program

Neuroscience and Behavior majors take a required group of core courses and then select one of two tracks, either Neurobiology or Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. Students may also combine their study in neuroscience and behavior with other disciplines through the selection of dual majors or complementary minors.

You'll work closely with a faculty advisor to tailor your program of study to your interests and career goals. Students planning to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school should work with the health professions advisor as early as possible to ensure you select the right courses to meet entrance requirements right from the start.

Internships and Research

Neuroscience and Behavior majors have exciting opportunities for direct collaboration with faculty and mentoring in research, internships, or both.

    Rachel Galli
    • Rachel Galli
    • Associate Professor of Psychology and Co-Coordinator of the Neuroscience and Behavior Major
    • Phone: 617-521-2607
    • Office: S171
    Amanda Carey
    • Amanda Carey
    • Assistant Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2619
    • Office: S170
How to Apply
So you know that Simmons is a great place to be, you've learned about our programs, maybe even come for a visit...now you're ready to apply! Let's get started.