Contact Us
Internal Documents


Behavior Genetics Track for Neuroscience Ph.D.

<go to Center for Neuroscience>

Graduate students who are part of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics graduate training program can receive a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. The requirements are described below.

1. Curriculum: The behavior genetics track incorporates the requirements of the Behavior Genetics Certification program that was previously approved by the University of Colorado Boulder graduate program and those of the new Neuroscience Ph. D. Students will be admitted through the Psychology program and work under the mentorship of a Behavior Genetics faculty member.

A sample curriculum is outlined in Table 1. The ideal timing of the Behavior Genetics courses is given in Table 1. However, as some courses are not taught every year, it is the responsibility of the student to take the relevant courses when offered. The timing of the Neuroscience courses will be the same as required by the Neuroscience program. All students will have at least one member of the Neuroscience faculty on their advisory committees.


Table 1: Sample Curriculum for the Behavior Genetics track in the Neuroscience PhD Program

Course Department and Number

Course Title


Year 1 Semester 1

ARSC 5100

Survey of Neuroscience


ARSC 6100

Adv. Neuroscience Research Seminar


PSYCH 5102

Introduction to Behavioral Genetics


EPO 320X

Introductory Genetics (if not taken as undergraduate) or Genetics exam


Year 1 Semester 2

ARSC 5110

Survey of Neuroscience


ARSC 6100

Adv. Neuroscience Research Seminar


PYSCH 5232 or PSYCH 5122

Molecular Genetics and Behavior or Quantitative Genetics


PSYCH 5112

Scientific Integrity and the Responsible

Conduct of Research


Year 1 total

18-21 graduate credits

Year 2 Semester 1

ARSC 6100

Adv. Neuroscience Research Seminar


Various courses fulfill requirement



PSYCH 5262

Mammalian Neuroanatomy


Year 2 Semester 2


Elective Neuroscience course (ex: Behavioral Neuropharmacology, Hormones and Behavior, Cognition or Learning courses etc.)


PSYCH 5122, PSYCH 5242, or PSYCH 5112

Quantitative Genetics, Biometrical Methods in Behavioral Genetics, or Concepts in Behavior Genetics (topic course with varying topics including: Drug Abuse, Psychopathology, Aging, QTL analyses etc)


Year 2 total

14-15 graduate credits

Year 3 Semester 1


Elective Neuroscience course (ex: Behavioral Neuropharmacology, Hormones and Behavior, Cognition or Learning courses etc.)


PSYCH 7012

Research in Behavior Genetics


Year 3 semester 2

PSYCH 8990

Doctoral Dissertation


Year 3 total

16 graduate credits

Year 4 Semester 1 and 2

DEPT 8990

Doctoral Dissertation


Year 4 total


Year 5

DEPT 8990

Doctoral Dissertation (if not completed)


Year 5 total


Total hours

(Credits include 30 dissertation)

68 - 70 graduate credits

Note: As required by the Graduate College, each student needs to take a minimum of 30 hours of graduate level course credit, and 30 hours of doctoral thesis/dissertation hours. Students are required to take at least 5 hours of course or thesis/dissertation units each semester.

Table 2: Summary of Credit Hour Requirements for Neuroscience Ph.D.


Credit Hours

Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I


Survey and Integration of Neuroscience II


Advances in Neuroscience Research Seminar


Neuroscience Depth Courses (Neuroanatomy plus 2 courses of student’s choice)


Additional Neuroscience-related discipline course for Interdisciplinary Certification in Behavior Genetics requires 5 courses plus Research in Behavior Genetics:

Introduction to Behavior Genetics (3 credits)

Statistics (3-4 credits)

Molecular Genetics and Behavior (3 credits)

Concepts in Behavior Genetic (3 credits)

Quantitative Genetics or Biometrical Genetics

(3 credits)

Research in Behavior Genetics (3 credits)



2. Requirements for the Behavior Genetics Certification: In addition to the courses listed in Table 1, other requirements of the Behavior Genetics certification will be retained.

a. General Requirements:

Students must perform their thesis work under the direction of a Neuroscience faculty member. Students are required to conduct their Neuroscience research on topics of direct relevance to animal or human behavior genetics. The student is required to meet all requirements of the Graduate School in addition to any listed here in consultation with his/her advisory committee. Students admitted through the Behavior Genetics section of the Psychology department are required to obtain the Master’s degree prior to admission to Ph.D. candidacy. All students must have a 3-person advisory committee until a Master’s degree is obtained and then a 5-person committee to advise during completion of the Ph.D. work. At least one member of these committees will be a member of the Neuroscience faculty.

b. Examinations: Each student must meet with the advisory committee at least once per year. A training file on each student is maintained to track progress toward completing the program and these yearly meetings along with outcomes must be recorded in the student’s file.

c. Teaching requirements: Consistent with the current Behavior Genetics certification requirements, students must TA for one semester in a course judged relevant to their career goals by their advisory committee.

d. Scientific Ethics Training: All graduate students are required to complete the course in scientific ethics offered at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.

e. Petitions: Consistent with the Behavior Genetics certification program, students may petition for substitutions for the Behavior Genetics portion of the requirements. This petition must be in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The petition must be approved by both the advisory committee and the Behavior Genetics training committee. Disapproval of a petition may be changed by a majority vote of the faculty.

The Behavior Genetic faculty, however, will not make rulings on any requirements specified by the Neuroscience program. Students must address any concerns over requirements directly with the directors of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program

CU Home IBG IBG Home