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Biological Psychology Curriculum

Biological Psychology Curriculum


The training goal of the Biological Psychology (BP) graduate concentration in psychology is to ensure that students who achieve the doctoral degree are well-prepared for careers in psychological research. To this end, our curriculum is structured to educate students in quantitative methods/designs and philosophy of science (quantitative requirement), to educate students in domains of study that are specifically related to their areas of research interest (depth requirement), to educate students in domains of study that complement their research interests, and expand students' general knowledge of the field at large (breadth requirement). Please note that courses can only be designated as "breadth" or "depth" as they relate to a given individual student's research interest (in other words, a single course can act as either for two different students). "Depth" is conceptually defined as a course that is specifically related to the student's primary area of research focus, whereas "breadth" is conceptually defined as a course that introduces the student to literatures, methodologies/analytic strategies, and/or theoretical frameworks that are substantively different from those representing their area of primary research focus.

In order to meet this training goal, each student is expected to formulate a plan of study with consultation from their faculty advisor and their advisory committee that satisfies the core (quantitative), depth, and breadth requirements. A few specific courses are required for all students, while still allowing BP students to exercise considerable freedom in composing plans of study that satisfy their intellectual and research needs. In addition to regular coursework, the BP area will meet on a regular basis for brown bags, colloquia, and journal club events throughout the Fall and Spring semesters to talk about a wide variety of research topics.

Core Requirement (quantitative research methods): See https://dev.psyc.vt.edu/graduate/#curriculum.

Depth Requirement: Two graduate-level courses within the student's research concentration (5000- level; including but not limited to the Department of Psychology). A third depth course is taken as a Special Topics course (see Notes 1 and 2 below).

Breadth Requirement: Two graduate-level courses outside of the student's research concentration (5000-level; including but not limited to the Department of Psychology). A third breadth course is taken as a Special Topics course (see Notes 1 and 2 below).

Note 1: All students must take two graduate-level advanced topic courses, one as a breadth course, and one as a depth course (either Psyc 6944 or Psyc 6954). We offer graduate seminars every semester that encourage our students to explore specialized topics in greater depth. These topics are driven primarily by student interest, and do not necessarily repeat unless student demand is high. Thus, these topics evolve as the research interests of our faculty and students evolve. Examples of topics in the past include: Frontal Lobe Development (Bell); Individual Differences (Deater-Deckard), Biopsychology of Emotion (Friedman).

Note 2: departments that offer other courses that may be included in the plan of study to prepare for a research concentration include Biology, Chemistry, Human Development (including Gerontology), Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Industrial Systems Engineering (Human Factors), Philosophy, Sociology, Statistics, Women's Studies, Computer Science, and Veterinary Medicine.


Below is a listing of current courses offered at the graduate level in the Department of Psychology:

PSYC 4014: History and Systems in Psychology

PSYC 5114: Industrial Psychology

PSYC 5124: Organizational Psychology

PSYC 5134: Advanced Psychometric Theory

PSYC 5344: Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 5404: Biological Bases of Behavior

PSYC 5314: Psyc Perspectives in Social Psychology

PSYC 5274: Personality Processes

PSYC 5284: Psychopathology

PSYC 5294: Psychophysiology

PSYC 5374: Health Psychology

PSYC 5544: Cognitive Development

PSYC 5554: Social Development

PSYC 6014: Quantitative Topics in Applied Psychology

PSYC 6254: Advanced. Topics in Clinical Psychology: Neuropsychology

PSYC 6934: Advanced Topics in Applied Psychology

PSYC 6944: Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology

PSYC 6954: Advanced Topics in Biological Psychology

PSYC 6254: Advanced Topics in Clinical Psychology

Additional Courses

Departments that offer other courses that may be included in the plan of study to prepare for a research concentration include Biology, Chemistry, Human Development (including Gerontology), Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Industrial Systems Engineering (Human Factors), Philosophy, Sociology, Statistics, Women's Studies, Computer Science, and Veterinary Medicine.