PhD and MA Programs in Behavioral Neuroscience at University of Missouri-St. Louis

September 23, 2021

PhD and MA Programs in Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA

  • 40 hours per week, day-time class offerings
  • 2 years tuition remission for PhD students and annual stipend for Teaching Assistantships; 1 year tuition remission for MA students, with the possibility of 1.5-2 years, and annual stipend for Teaching Assistantships.
  • Program Duration: 2 years (MA with thesis; MA non-thesis track); 4-6 years (PhD)
  • Application Deadline: January 15 for Fall Admission

About Us

The Behavioral Neuroscience Program offers intense training in four critical areas of skill development that are required to successfully fulfill an academic, research, or industry career. The universal training goals of the Behavioral Neuroscience program are the following: Critical thinking, application of research methods and analyses, scientific writing, and teaching. Our research specialties include Social, Cognitive, Affective, Developmental, and Clinical Neuroscience on topics such as neurophysiological correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder, self-reflection and default mode network in psychiatric disorders, the neurocognition of emotion and romantic love, infant cognitive and social development, prejudice and discrimination, and health disparities. Please note we no longer offer training in animal models. Our Department of Psychological Sciences currently trains more than 50 PhD candidates, offering a stimulating and multidisciplinary research environment. The Department is equipped with several EEG systems, physiological research suites including eye-tracking, cardiovascular measures, and electrodermal activity. Many faculty have connections to facilities with MRI equipment. We also have an active chapter of Graduate Women in Science.

Faculty currently accepting PhD and MA thesis students for Fall include:

Dr. Bettina J. Casad (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience), Social Neuroscience and Intergroup Relations Lab

Dr. Michael G. Griffin (Social, Cognitive, Affective, and Clinical Neuroscience), Center for Trauma Recovery

Dr. Sandra J. E. Langeslag (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience), Neurocognition of Emotion and Motivation Lab

Dr. Carissa Philippi (Social, Cognitive, Affective, and Clinical Neuroscience), Laboratory of Cognitive and Affective Neurobiology of Self

Dr. Hannah White (Social and Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience)

Lifespan Development Lab

Preferred Applicant Qualifications

We seek highly talented and motivated PhD and MA students. You will be given the opportunity to regularly present your work at local, national, and international conferences and meetings. In order to develop your own research agenda, we will encourage and support you in applying for competitive research grants and career development fellowships.

Applicant Requirements

  • A BA or BS degree in a field related to neuroscience, psychology or biomedical sciences;
  • Experience with research (not necessarily neuroscience research)
  • An interest in using EEG/ERPs, fMRI, and/or psychophysiology for human research;
  • An interest in using computational programs such as SPSS, R, MATLAB, E-Prime, or Unix
  • The ambition to become a top scientist seeking a research career in academia or industry.
  • A good command of written and spoken English.
  • Excellent social and collaborative skills.

You should be able to work in an interdisciplinary environment, sharing knowledge and ideas, and contribute to a diverse and inclusive Department and University.

MA Non-Thesis Track Option

Masters non-thesis track students take classes with Masters thesis-track and Doctoral level students. The non-thesis option is provided for students who are still deciding their areas of interest in behavioral neuroscience or students who already have an established career. The non-thesis track provides students with the same educational content as thesis-track students, but non-thesis students are not assigned a research mentor and do not conduct research in a laboratory. The non-thesis track is ideal for students who want a career that requires content knowledge in behavioral neuroscience, but who do not want to conduct research or pursue an academic or research career. Career tracks for non-thesis students include science teaching at the K-12 level (with additional training to earn teaching certification), teaching psychology at a community college or 4-year baccalaureate granting university, science writer or journalist, health care (e.g., working with patients with traumatic brain injuries or neurological disorders), pharmaceutical companies, cognitive assessment in treatment clinics, biomedical and biotechnology industries, government and non-government agencies, advisor on science policy for public and government institutions, and many other positions (see O*Net).

University of Missouri-St. Louis

As the metropolitan, land-grant, research institution serving the most diverse and economically important region in Missouri, the University of Missouri–St. Louis delivers exceptional educational, research and engagement experiences that inform, prepare, challenge and inspire. The University of Missouri-St. Louis ranks 9th nationally, and 1st in the Midwest, among all universities with 15 or fewer doctoral programs in the Academic Analytics Faculty Productivity Index. The University of Missouri–St. Louis is situated on 350 rolling acres in north St. Louis County, and is connected to both the Metro (the region’s public transportation system) and St. Louis bikeway trails. The city of St. Louis is enriched by cultural offerings of the metropolitan area, along with a low cost of living. The Department of Psychological Sciences educates diverse, talented, traditional and nontraditional students who will supply knowledge, skills, and intellectual leadership in both the private and public sectors. Active engagement in research and scholarship enable the psychology faculty to advance knowledge and to impart research methods and results directly in their classroom teaching. The psychology faculty is committed to generating knowledge through research that can be applied to problems at the regional, state, national, and international level. In addition to laboratory research, many psychology faculty members are engaged in field research that has practical implications in the areas of mental health, medicine, and business. The University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from individuals underrepresented in higher education and science fields.

Would you like more information?

For more information about our program, please contact:
Dr. Bettina Casad, Program Director or +1 314-516-4504

Apply directly

Please submit your application online to no later than January 15.

In addition to your online application to the Graduate School, please email the following attachments to Dr. Bettina Casad

  • Full Statement of Purpose (1-3 pages) and CV

BN program brochure:

GWIS chapter brochure:


Related Articles