Behavioral Neuroscience MA Program (MABN)

About MABN


One of the Psychology Department’s newest MA programs, the Behavioral Neuroscience MA program, was initiated in 2009. The mission of this program is to allow promising Masters graduate students to engage in intensive, research-based study within the quickly expanding field of Behavioral Neuroscience. The program is designed to enhance students’ chances of being admitted into highly-competitive doctoral training programs in Behavioral Neuroscience and other Neuroscience-related fields, and to increase chances of employment within the private sector as Research Assistants/Associates trained in Neuroscience and Neuroscience-related fields. Students matriculated into this program also contribute to Neuroscience-related research within the Psychology department and help facilitate interactions between the diverse Neuroscience laboratories from various Departments (e.g., Psychology, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry/Biochemistry and Anthropology) across the campus.

The core of the program is five foundational neuroscience courses: Basic Neuroscience: Neuroanatomy (Psychology 708.1), Basic Neuroscience: Neurophysiology (Psychology 708.2), Basic Neuroscience: Psychopharmacology (Psychology 708.3), Sensory and Motor Systems (Psychology 710), Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior (Psychology 711.03); 6 credits of research conducted in the laboratory of the student’s faculty mentor (Psychology 791.3, taken over 2 semesters); and three methods courses that provide strong training in quantitative and pragmatic aspects of research: Statistics (Psychology 705), Research Design (Psychology 703.1), Ethics in Psychology (Psychology 771.1). Lastly, students must complete three elective courses from the elective list below.

Capstone Experiences

Integral to this MA program is a required research thesis serving as the culmination of a minimum of one year of research conducted in the lab of a faculty mentor. The thesis is evaluated by a three-person faculty committee. Students are also required to give an oral presentation on the thesis to this faculty committee.

The Learning Goals for MABN Students
  1. Master core and quantitative courses in behavioral neuroscience at a graduate level
  2. Conduct behavioral neuroscience research at the level of independent investigator
  3. Communicate information about behavioral neuroscience at a level adequate for teaching of the discipline

The purpose of this program is to allow promising Masters graduate students to engage in intensive, research-based study within the field of Behavioral Neuroscience.

The Goals of the Program

1) To provide graduates of the program with enhanced chances of being admitted into highly-competitive Doctoral Training Programs in Behavioral Neuroscience and other Neuroscience-related fields.

2) To enhance the chances that graduates of the program will gain employment within the private sector as Research Assistants/Associates trained in the growing field of Neuroscience and Neuroscience-related fields.


Kerstin Unger, M.A. Program Director

Admission to MABN

Minimum Requirements for Applying to the MABN

1) An undergraduate overall GPA greater than 3.00.
2) At least 15 credits of Undergraduate Psychology, Neuroscience or equivalent courses.
3) Submitting scores on the General Graduate Record Examinations. Although a minimum score is not stipulated, the score will be taken into consideration relative to the other two criteria especially in terms of underrepresented groups in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Preferences in Acceptance Decisions for the MABN

1) The undergraduate coursework includes courses in Behavioral Neuroscience and related fields like Neurobiology.
2) The undergraduate coursework includes courses in Statistics, Experimental Psychology, relevant laboratory courses, or Research Design.
3) The student has undergraduate research experience in a Behavioral Neuroscience or Neuroscience-related laboratory.
4) The student has contacted a faculty laboratory head in the Psychology Department at Queens College who has agreed to supervise their thesis research. Please include this information in your application statement.

Prior to Submitting Your Application

The Masters Program in Behavioral Neuroscience requires completion of a thesis based on original research in a Queens College Psychology Department laboratory, which is supervised by the laboratory head. Please see the list of potential faculty advisors by visiting their laboratory pages (click on their names or websites). If you know which lab(s) you are interested in, please contact faculty to find out if they are accepting students into their labs and if you would be able to meet with them to talk more about potentially joining their lab. Include this information in your application. We do not require prearranged commitments from faculty research advisors at the time of your application, but we strongly encourage it. Any information you can provide about your research interests and communication with faculty contributes to admissions decisions.

Applications for the Masters Program in Behavioral Neuroscience will be reviewed in the Spring semester of a given year for acceptance in the Fall semester of the same year. Applications are available through the Graduate Admissions Office at Queens College and are also downloadable from the link below. The annual deadline for admissions is April 1.

Click here to apply online for the Behavioral Neuroscience MA degree.

Please address questions or requests for more information to the Behavioral Neuroscience Admissions Committee Chair: Dr. Jeff Beeler at

Things you need to know when starting in this program

Requirements For MABN

Starting with students admitted in Fall 2019, a new set of program requirements is effective.

Effective Fall 2019:
  • 32 credits distributed among courses as shown below
  • Completion of a research thesis (MA Thesis Research I and II, see below)
  • 3.0 GPA overall

PSYCH 709.1 Basic Neuroscience: Molecular Neuroscience (3)
PSYCH 709.2 Basic Neuroscience: Systems Neuroscience (3)
PSYCH 709.3 Basic Neuroscience: Cognitive Neuroscience (3)
PSYCH 709.4 Basic Neuroscience: Behavioral Neuroscience (3)
PSYCH 704.1 Neuroscience Methods I: Statistics and Research Design (3)
PSYCH 704.2 Neuroscience Methods II: Quantitative Tools in Neuroscience (3)
PSYCH 772.1 Ethics (1)
PSYCH 772.2 Colloquium (1)
PSYCH 772.2 Colloquium (1)
PSYCH 772.3 Thesis Seminar (2)
Electives – 9 credits hours

For Students Admitted Prior 2019:
  • 37 credits distributed among courses as shown below
  • Completion of a research thesis (MA Thesis Research I and II, see below)
  • 3.0 GPA overall

– Required Behavioral Neuroscience Courses (21 credits):
708.1; Basic Neuroscience: Neuroanatomy 3
708.2: Basic Neuroscience: Neurophysiology 3
708.3: Basic Neuroscience: Psychopharmacology 3
710: Sensory and Motor Systems 3
711.03: Cognitive & Affective Aspects of Behavior 3
791.3: Seminar in Selected Topics in Psychology 3
791.3: Seminar in Selected Topics in Psychology 3
– Required Other Courses (7 credits):
703.1: Design of Psychological Research 3
705: Statistical Methods in Psychology I 3
771.1: Ethics in Psychology 1
– Behavioral Neuroscience Elective Courses (9 credits):
700: History of Psychology 3
735: Psychology of Perception 3
738: Cognition 3
755: Psychopathology 3
760: Psychometric Methods 3
791: Seminar in Selected Topics in Psychology 3
PSYCH 817. Survey of Clinical Neuropsychology
(Taken as PSYCH 791 for MA students) 3
BIOL 700. Genetics 4
BIOL 710. Molecular Biology 5
BIOL 714. Cell Biology 4

MABN Research Thesis Guidelines:

In order to graduate, all MABN students are required to:

    • 1) submit a research thesis proposal
    • 2) give an oral presentation of this thesis, and
    • 3) receive a ‘satisfactory’ grade on all of the above.

It is the responsibility of the MA student to select 2 full-time faculty members at Queens College who agree to serve on the thesis committee along with the research mentor. Please send the names of your committee members to the MA Advisor for approval early in the semester in which you plan to graduate.. To insure that the proposal, thesis, and oral presentation are worthy of a satisfactory grade, students are strongly encouraged to obtain feedback not only from their research mentors, but also their readers, on earlier drafts of all works. If the student and mentor consider it useful, a thesis proposal can be submitted in advance to the student’s committee in order to obtain feedback before substantial data collection has begun.

Research thesis proposal (recommended but not required)

The research thesis proposal should provide an overview of the student’s thesis research project, and should contain a strong literature review, working hypotheses for the thesis project, experimental designs and proposed statistical analyses. The proposal can be submitted any time before the research thesis is submitted, to the student’s research mentor and thesis committee.

Research thesis

The thesis itself should thoroughly but concisely summarize the research project, and should make an effort to contribute to the area(s) of research of the mentor’s laboratory. It should include all of the sections found in a standard APA format manuscript (or acceptable format of a peer-review journal to which the work is being submitted). Although publication of the work is not required, a document of quality that is acceptable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal is strongly encouraged. If the work is published it can be submitted to fulfill the thesis requirement if it was primarily written by the student. If not, a thesis or manuscript, written by the student, is required.

Oral presentation of thesis

Additionally, the student must schedule an oral presentation of the thesis to the research mentor and the assigned readers before the end of the semester in which the student plans to graduate. The presentation should be approximately 20-30 minutes in length, and should summarize the work in the thesis using a Powerpoint presentation. If the student wishes, this can be a public presentation with other faculty, students and significant others attending.

Timeline and forms for thesis completion

After the oral presentation of the thesis and after the thesis committee is satisfied with the level of the written thesis (which may entail revisions), all members of the committee must sign the committee approval form. This form should be submitted together with a final version of the thesis to the MABN Program Head no later than one week after the last day of finals the semester in which the student plans to graduate. The MABN Program Head will save a copy of this form and then submit it to the Office of Graduate Studies. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the committee has a minimum of three weeks to review the thesis before the oral presentation of the thesis.

Although not required, students may choose to have their final thesis bound by the library. Details on how to do this can be found here.

How to Apply for Graduation

CUNY E-permit information

2014-2015 Graduate Bulletin