The primary aim of the Behavioural Neuroscience graduate program is to ensure a high degree of research competence in an area of specialization, while at the same time ensuring a broad academic background that will enable students to relate their research interests to behavioural neuroscience in particular and to psychology in general. To this end, each Behavioural Neuroscience graduate student engages in research from the beginning of the program, first by working under the close supervision of an advisor and then by assuming a more independent approach as specific research interests are formulated. Students are required to study a wide range of topics that focus on both the behavioural and neurobiological facets of the discipline.


Currently most students in Behavioural Neuroscience take four courses (12 credits) in their first year of graduate studies: two advanced 3-credit statistics courses and 6 credits of course work selected in consultation with their Advisory Committee. In their second year, students typically take one or two courses per term and complete an acceptable thesis to meet the M.A. requirements. Students present their thesis research at a departmental conference (Psychfest) held each May.

Students completing the Master's program must apply for acceptance into the Ph.D. program; acceptance depends upon the quality of the masters-level work. As part of the Ph.D. requirements, each Behavioural Neuroscience student must successfully complete two survey ("breadth") courses offered by other areas of the Psychology Department and write a Comprehensive Exam.

All students are expected to attend the informal weekly Behavioural Neuroscience Seminar, and give one talk per year, for as long as they are in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Behavioural Neuroscience graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers at national and international scientific meetings of such academic societies as the Animal Behaviour Society; the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science; the Society for Neuroscience; and the Psychonomic Society.

M.A. Program (at least 30 credits)

- 6 credits of statistics
- 9 credits for the M.A. thesis
- 12 credits of Behavioural Neuroscience courses recommended
- 3 credits of psychology outside Behavioural Neuroscience

Ph.D. Program (at least 12 credits)

- 6 credits of breadth courses in other areas of Psychology (may not include courses taken during M.A. program)
- 6 credits of Behavioural Neuroscience courses required
- comprehensive exam and dissertation

Behavioural Neuroscience students must take at least one 3-credit course from each of the following lists. Not all courses are offered each year, and other life sciences graduate courses, such as Neuroscience 500 or 501, may be substituted with approval.

A. Behavioural Emphasis
Animal Behaviour
Animal Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Strategies and Techniques of Studying Behaviour

B. Neuroscience Emphasis
Drugs and Behaviour
Neural Models of Learning and Memory
Neurophysiology and Cortical Plasticity

C. Combined Approaches
Biopsychology of Motivation
Developmental Biopsychology
Experimental Neuropsychology and Animal Models
Perceptual Processes

Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The Behavioural Neuroscience comprehensive requirement consists of a 10-page CIHR-style grant proposal. This document normally serves as the Ph.D. dissertation proposal and accordingly is defended before the Ph.D. dissertation committee.



All of the modern and well equipped research facilities of the Behavioural Neuroscience area are housed in the fourth floor of the D.T. Kenny Building with facilities for housing small animals. These common facilities do much to facilitate co-operative research ventures by individual professors and students in the various areas of animal behavioural neuroscience as well as stimulating a healthy exchange of views. The human memory, psychophysiological, and visual laboratories are located in the third floor of the Kenny Building. Members of the Behavioural Neuroscience area are also participants (with Philosophy, Computer Science, Anthropology and a number of other departments) in a new interdisciplinary Cognitive Systems undergraduate program.

A number of the faculty members in the Behavioural Neuroscience program have connections with the Brain Research Centre. The Centre employs a strongly multidisciplinary approach, combined with a scientific philosophy of cooperation and collaboration among the researchers, physicians, and technicians who are exploring common origins and overlapping features of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The general exchange of ideas in the neurosciences is facilitated by the presence on campus of a B.C. Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, the meetings of which are attended by neuroscientists from throughout this region of B.C. Several members of the Behavioural Neuroscience area are participants in the Faculty of Graduate Studies' Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

Faculty research programs are well funded by major national granting agencies. Nearly all are funded by NSERC and CIHR. During the current fiscal year Behavioural Neuroscience Area faculty members will receive over $2 million in grants.


Stanley Floresco (Associate Professor), Ph.D. UBC, 2000

Liisa Galea (Professor), Ph.D. Western Ontario, 1994

Boris Gorzalka (Professor), Ph.D. California-Irvine, 1978

Catharine Rankin (Professor), Ph.D. City University of New York, 1984

Jason S. Snyder (Assistant Professor), Ph.D. University of Toronto, 2005

Kiran Soma (Associate Professor), Ph.D. Washington, 2000

Catharine Winstanley (Associate Professor), Ph.D. Cambridge, UK, 2004


These faculty members may serve as research supervisors of students enrolled in the Behavioural Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Stanley Coren (Professor Emeritus), FRSC, Ph.D. Stanford, 1968

Max Cynader (Director of the Brain Research Centre & Professor), FRSC, Ph.D. MIT, 1972

Eric Eich (Distinguished University Scholar, Professor & Head), FRSC, Ph.D. Toronto, 1979

Peter Graf (Professor), Ph.D. McMaster, 1981

Alan Kingstone (Distinguished University Scholar, Professor), Ph.D. University of Manchester, 1990

Wolfgang Linden (Professor), Ph.D. McGill University, 1981

Anthony Phillips (Professor), Ph.D. Western Ontario, 1970

Joanne Weinberg (Professor), Ph.D. Stanford


Most of the PhD graduates supervised by faculty in the Behavioural Neuroscience area have accepted academic positions, while some have gone on to industry-related positions.

Brandi Ormerod (2003, Galea) University of Florida
Stan Floresco (2000, Phillips) University of British Columbia
Tom Kornecook (1998, Pinel) Industry
Jeremy Seamans (1998, Phillips) University of British Columbia
Stephen Wicks (1997, Rankin) Boston College
Lisa Kalynchuk (1996, Pinel) University of Saskatchewan
Neil Watson(1994, Gorzalka) Simon Fraser University
Jon Druhan (1992, Phillips) Hahnemann University
Dave Mumby(1992, Pinel) Concordia University
Rob Willson (1992, Wilkie) Grenwich University
Emma Wood (1992, Phillips) University of Edinburgh
Jim Pfaus (1990, Phillips) Concordia University
Mike Mana (1990, Pinel) W. Washington University