Detailed Description of the Ph.D. Subprogram in Cognition, Brain and Behavior

This page outlines the formal requirements of the CUNY Graduate Center and of the subprogram in Cognition, Brain, and Behavior that must be met in order to receive the Ph.D. These requirements must be met within eight years of matriculation (or seven years for students who matriculate with 30 credits) unless an extension of the time limit is granted.


Students are required to participate in supervised research each semester.


Full-time doctoral students are required to attend departmental colloquia regularly.

Course Work

Students must complete 60 graduate credits that fulfill the distribution requirements described below with an overall average of B or better.

  • a) Each must be completed with a grade of B or better, with the exception of 771:
    703.03 Research Practicum
    705 Statistics I
    706 Statistics II
    771 Ethical and Legal Issues [Graded Pass/Fail]
  • b) At least seven courses from the following groups are required:
    • Group A (three courses required)
      710 Physiological 716 Comparative 730 Learning 735 Perception or 736 Sensation 738 Cognition
    • Group B (two courses required)
      720 Developmental
      740 Personality
      746 Social
      755 Psychopathology
    • Group C (two courses required)
      700 History
      703.01 Research Design
      704 Instrumentation
      707 Multivariate Statistics
    • 763 Psychophysics
  • c) 799 Seminar and Practicum on the Teaching of Psychology. Required of all students who receive support through teaching assistantships or fellowships.

First Doctoral Examination

The First Doctoral Examination consists of a written report and an oral presentation. The written report is based on a student's Research Practicum course, U703.03. The student submits the report to a committee of three doctoral faculty members and orally presents the report before the committee. This exam should be taken:

  • a) no later than the semester following the completion of the Research Practicum course;
  • b) before 45 credits have been completed.

Second Doctoral Exam

The Second Doctoral Examination is ordinarily taken when a student has completed between 45 and 60 credits. It consists of written and oral parts that test a student's knowledge of his or her specialty area. The written part consists of a paper that critically reviews and evaluates a topic within the student's research area, read by a committee of doctoral faculty, who then conduct an oral examination based on the paper.

Doctoral Dissertation

The steps to completion of the dissertation are, in order:

  • Dissertation Topic Proposal and establishment of a Dissertation Committee.
  • Dissertation Proposal approved by the Dissertation Committee.
  • Provisional approval of the dissertation draft by the Dissertation Committee.
  • Provisional approval of the dissertation by "outside readers."
  • Final oral examination and approval of dissertation by the Examination Committee.
  • Acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School dissertation librarian.