Behavioral Neuroscience MA Program (MABN)


 We will be considering applications for Fall 2020 admission on a rolling basis until July 15!

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 curriculum provides a rigorous overview of neuroscience, including four foundational courses: Molecular Neuroscience (PSYCH 709.1), Systems Neuroscience (PSYCH 709.2), Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYCH 709.3), and Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYCH 709.4). A two-semester quantitative methods sequence provides strong training in quantitative and pragmatic aspects of research (PSYCH 704.1 & 704.2). Students learn about neuroscience as a profession in both coursework and research activities: Ethics in Psychology (PSYCH 771.1), Scientific Talks/Colloquium (PSYCH 772.2), Thesis Seminar (scientific writing and communication, PSYCH 772.3). Flexible electives (9 credits) allow students to pursue non-traditional careers in neuroscience, for example, combining neuroscience and law, neuroscience and education, etc.

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.

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 March 1.

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

Things you need to know when starting in this program

Requirements For MABN

  • 32 credits distributed among courses as shown below
  • Completion of a research thesis (including oral presentation)
  • 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

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.

Funding Opportunities for MA Students

There are at least two funding options available to Master’s students:

  1. Queens College Foundation Master’s Scholarships
  2. Adjunct Teaching

Queens College Foundation Master’s Scholarships

Available to: Full- and part-time matriculated students demonstrating exceptional scholastic ability who begin their Master’s program in the Fall 2020 semester. Full-time students awarded the scholarship must take a minimum of 9 credits per fall and spring semester of their first year. Part-time students must take a minimum of 6 credits per fall and spring semester to be considered eligible. International students must take a minimum of 9 credits per fall and spring semester for eligibility.

Award Amount: Full-time scholarships are $9,000; part-time scholarships are $6,000.

Deadline to apply: March 15, 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by the Dean of Graduate Studies by May 1.

Application Process: Please fill in the application information below and submit.

NOTE: You must also have submitted a complete application for admission to the Queens College Graduate Admissions Office by March 15 in order to be considered for these scholarships.

Adjunct Teaching

MA students in the GMA, MABN, and ABA are eligible to receive an adjunct teaching appointment in psychology after successful competition of our Teaching Apprentice Program (TAP). Students starting their TAP training in the fall of their first year have the potential for teaching undergraduate courses as early as the spring of their first year.  The purpose of the TAP is to prepare interested graduate students to teach undergraduate courses in psychology by providing them with supervised training, hands-on classroom experience and performance feedback and evaluation. The training includes course preparation, content/subject matter coverage, classroom management, and familiarization with administrative procedures, rules and policies. In the TAP course, students meet once a week for 2 hours, over the course of 8 weeks, during the fall semester.  During this time, students will also observe two (or more) lectures given by their assigned teaching mentor during the first half of the workshops.  Then, during the second half the student gives a guest lecture in the class they have been assigned for mentoring.  Both the instructional and faculty mentors must observe this lecture and provide an evaluation. There are assignments during the workshop series that must be completed. Students are also required to prepare and present mini lectures on assigned topics at the end of the semester, within the workshop, and are critiqued by the other students.   Successful completion of the course, plus successfully teaching a lecture in an ongoing class, is required for students to be considered for the adjunct pool. The MA director coordinates assignments between students, faculty and instructors.

Additional Links

How to Apply for Graduation

CUNY E-permit information

2014-2015 Graduate Bulletin