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Neuroscientists study brain scans.

The Social and Behavioral Neuroscience dual title program is ideal for students interested in the study of human behavior, social and behavioral development and person/environment interactions, from a neuroscience perspective.

Neuroscience is a broad topic spanning the study of the individuals, to the complex integration of neural networks, implications for behavior, and the dynamic integration with the biological and experiential environment. As a discipline, neuroscience integrates with many other disciplines in biological, engineering, and social sciences.

Students interested in graduate work in neuroscience have two options at Penn State

Inter-Departmental Graduate Program (IDGP) in Neuroscience

The Inter-Departmental Graduate Program (IDGP) in Neuroscience is ideal for students wishing to receive a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, with a strong focus on neurobiology.

Dual title in Social and Behavioral Neuroscience (SBN)

Dual-title options at Penn State provide opportunities for graduate students to demonstrate expertise in a specific application of their degree, by enabling students to earn a doctoral degree title in both their home program and the area of specialization.

The Social and Behavioral Neuroscience dual title program is available to students who are admitted to a doctoral program in Communication Sciences and DisordersHuman Development and Family Studies, Psychology, Nutritional Sciences, or Biobehavioral Health.

Program Details

Eligibility icon-olus-circle

In order to be eligible, students must

  • be currently enrolled in an affiliated graduate program,
  • have completed a minimum of one semester in their home graduate program, and
  • have completed no more than four semesters of their doctoral program.
Affiliated Programs icon-olus-circle

Currently affiliated graduate programs include Communication Sciences and DisordersHuman Development and Family Studies, Psychology, Nutritional Sciences, and Biobehavioral Health.  Due to the graduate school degree requirements, only students currently enrolled in an affiliated graduate program are eligible for the dual title degree.  Additional graduate programs may apply to affiliate with the Social and Behavioral Science dual title.  Students interested in the dual title from a program not currently affiliated should consult with their program's graduate professor-in-charge to discuss options, such as completing a graduate minor.

Requirements icon-olus-circle

Students must complete all requirements related to their home department.  Each affiliated department is responsible for determining whether and how the Social and Behavioral Neuroscience course requirements apply to the home degree.

  • NEURO 520: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • A course in Neuroanatomy: NEURO 511 or NEURO 512 or BIOL 478
  • SBN 590: two credits (minimum two semesters of enrollment)
  • Additional 9 credits in approved SBN electives
  • Integration of neuroscience in the Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation work
Application Process icon-olus-circle

Interested students should first discuss their interest in the dual title program with their graduate adviser to determine whether the program is a good fit for the student's goals.  Additional discussion with the director of the dual title program is also recommended.

Students wishing to apply should submit a completed application form to the dual title program director. The student's primary adviser should submit a letter stating that they are aware of and support the student's intention to complete the dual title degree, and indicate the relevant research training and opportunities that will be made available to the student.  If the student's adviser is not graduate faculty in Social and Behavioral Neuroscience, a co-chair must be appointed and a letter of support should be provided by the co-chair, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

View Frequently Asked Questions about the dual-title program in Social and Behavioral Neuroscience.