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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

COGNITION AND NEUROSCIENCE PhD

 

imageThe PhD program in cognition and neuroscience offers a distinctive blend of research initiatives and doctoral study in the neural processes underlying sensation, perception, memory, learning, language and executive function throughout the lifespan.

 

The faculty is dedicated to guiding students in the development of research skills, and students will actively participate in research throughout their time in the program. A low student/faculty ratio facilitates this emphasis.

 

Major research areas and core strengths within the program include:

 

 

Degree Program Financial Aid
About Our School Program Contacts
Research Areas Program Resources
Admissions  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Degree Program

 

imageStudents average five years for completion of the program, although it is possible to meet all the requirements in four years. Most students focus their studies on neuroscience or cognitive science, which includes both behavioral cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience work. The University requires a minimum of 90 hours of coursework.


 

The specific program requirements include: six credit hours of a doctoral proseminar that will acquaint students with the breadth of faculty research programs, six hours of core research methods courses, six hours of core courses in cognition and neuroscience, and nine hours in the student’s major area of study (neuroscience or cognitive science). The remaining graduate courses are advanced electives tailored to meet each student’s needs and interests. View the complete degree plan.

 

The graduate catalog provides an overview of course descriptions. 

 

Each student works closely with the faculty in completing an empirical research project and an integrated literature review (or grant proposal) during the first two years of the program. In the third year, students advance to PhD candidacy by preparing a dissertation research proposal. The dissertation consists of an independent and original research project conducted under faculty supervision. Successful public defense of the completed dissertation is the final step in attaining the PhD.

 

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About Our School

 

“One of the domains of greatest advancement in the last 10 years in the field of human behavior is our understanding of how the brain remembers, and how those memories are retrieved.” 

Dr. Bert Moore, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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The cognition and neuroscience program is a part of the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, which offers exceptional research facilities, including modern laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art computers and equipment for experiments with both human and animal subjects, and UNIX workstations for modeling and advanced mathematical analysis of complex data sets.


Our behavioral and perceptual facilities support videography and audiography, as well as neuropsychological and advanced cognitive testing. Neuroimaging, neuroanatomical and neurochemical facilities are available and widely used. Neurophysiological methods ranging from acute and chronic in vivo techniques to advanced in vivo slice recording techniques are used extensively.


Many of the cognition and neuroscience faculty work collaboratively across our doctoral programs in psychological sciences, communication sciences and disorders, and audiology. The doctoral programs are complemented by four research centers: the Center for BrainHealth, the Callier Center, the Center for Children and Families, the Center for Systems Neuroscience and the Center for Vital Longevity.


Additional resources are available through cooperative programs with various departments at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

 

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Research Areas

 

imageThe core faculty in the Cognition and Neuroscience PhD program specializes in cognitive-neuroscience, cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

 

Human Perception and Memory

 

Encompasses all aspects of the cognitive processes by which we form mental representations of the world. Our program is particularly strong in the area of perception and memory for complex patterns of information in the environment, including faces, speech and language, music and text. In our program, there is an emphasis on studying these domains via computational modeling.

 

Faculty Specializing in Human Perception and Memory

Hervé Abdi, James Bartlett, Chandramallika Basak, John Hart, Kristen Kennedy, Daniel Krawczyk, Mandy Maguire, Alice O’Toole, Denise Park, Michael Rugg, Bart Rypma, Noah Sasson, Sven Vanneste, Gagan Wig

 

Aging and Cognition

 

The effect of aging on information processing has profound personal and societal consequences. Diverse effects of aging, ranging from isolated memory loss for specific items to global dementia, are studied using both psychological and neurobehavioral approaches. The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences has unique clinical resources in the Center for BrainHealth, the Callier Center, the Center for Vital Longevity, and close collaborative associations with the Advanced Imaging Research Center and other facilities at UT Southwestern Medical Center. This aids innovative approaches to the study of information processing and memory in late adulthood.

 

Faculty Specializing in Aging and Cognition

James Bartlett, Chandramallika Basak, Sandra Chapman, Kristen Kennedy, Denise Park, Karen Rodrigue, Michael Rugg, Bart Rypma, Tres Thompson, Gagan Wig

 

Artificial Neural Networks


Abstract mathematical models of brain structures and functions, referred to as "connectionist systems," "neurocomputers," or "parallel distributed processing models" are used to simulate computational processes in the brain, and the solutions can be compared with empirical data.


imageFaculty Specializing in Artificial Neural Networks

Hervé Abdi, Richard Golden, Alice O’Toole

 

Cellular and Molecular Plasticity

The ability of individual neurons to respond to changes in their synaptic inputs over time scales ranging from nanoseconds to the entire lifespan is a key and fundamental area of study in the basic neurosciences. Combining expertise in computational, neurophysiological, cell biological and molecular biological fields, our multidisciplinary scientists conduct research elucidating basic mechanisms of brain plasticity.

 

Faculty Specializing in Cellular and Molecular Plasticity

Sven Kroener, Christa McIntyre, Jonathan Ploski, Theodore Price, Tres Thompson

 

Neuroplasticity in Learning and Memory


Neurons self organize and reorganize their connected networks, constantly making new associations between stimuli to adapt to the circumstances of life. The relationship between this underlying plasticity and behavioral change is an critically active area of research in the neurosciences. Strengths in our program include the study of cortical and subcortical plasticity using state-of-the-art in vivo and in vitro recordings and a wide range of protein and gene expression assays.


Issues related to aging, addiction , recovery of function, stress and fear, arousal, attention and cortical sensory processing are all active areas of investigation in model systems.


Faculty Specializing in Neuroplasticity in Learning and Memory

Chandramallika Basak, Francesca Filbey, Kristen Kennedy, Michael Kilgard, Sven Kroener, Christa McIntyre, Jonathan Ploski, Theodore Price, Robert Rennaker, Tres Thompson, Sven Vanneste, Gagan Wig

 

Neuroengineering

 

Design and implementation of new and better interfaces for both detecting ongoing neuronal activity and influencing that activity in biologically salient ways requires expertise in both the underlying neurobiology and skills in engineering (biophysics, material sciences, electrical engineering, computer sciences, etc.). Researchers at UT Dallas straddle both fields of expertise in their basic and applied studies.

 

Faculty Specializing in Neuroengineering

Michael Kilgard, Aage MøllerRobert Rennaker, Tres Thompson, Sven Vanneste

 

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Admissions

 

imageThe admissions committee evaluates applications on several dimensions, including prior GPA, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, prior research and professional experiences, commitment to scholarship, and fit between the research interests of the applicant and faculty.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Requirements for PhD Program Application

 

  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Completion of undergraduate degree in related major is advisable. Completion of a masters degree is not required.
  • Three letters of reference
  • A statement of purpose

 

To submit an application:

 

 

The UT Dallas graduate admissions page will help guide you through the process. You can check your status using the University’s Orion program. If you’ve been accepted into the program, please read the University’s steps after admission page.

 

Cognition and Neuroscience Doctoral Program

School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd, GR41
Richardson, TX 75080

 

email cogneurophd@utdallas.edu

 

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Financial Aid

 

Financial support of doctoral students is awarded through teaching or research assistantship stipends and tuition scholarships. For more information about graduate financial support opportunities, visit our financial aid and support page for PhD students.

 

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Program Contacts

 
Program Head

James Bartlett, PhD

email jbartlet@utdallas.edu

 

Associate Program Head

Christa McIntyre, PhD

email christa.mcintyre@utdallas.edu

 

For Additional Program Information
Cognition and Neuroscience Doctoral Program

School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd, GR41
Richardson, TX 75080

 

email cogneurophd@utdallas.edu

 

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Program Resources

 

Documents

BBS Graduate Student Guide

Cognition and Neuroscience PhD Degree Plan

Dissertation Committee Membership

Dissertation Proposal Approval

Dissertation Proposal Public Presentation

In Absentia Registration

Milestones Agreement Form

PhD Research Small Grants Program

Public Presentation of Research Project

Request Final Oral Exam

Request for Extension

Request for Travel Funds

UTD Graduate Studies Office Student Progress Report

 

Websites

18 Characteristics of BBS Doctoral Programs

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