This program offers exceptional flexibility to customize your graduate training and research. The program provides exceptional access to state-of-the art techniques and technologies combined with a variety of animal and human behavior models to study brain-behavior relationships, broadly defined. Problems studied by the neuroscience and behavior area include but are not limited to: molecular and genetic determinants of behavior, physiological bases of motivated behaviors, neural and hormonal bases of learning and memory, physiological and genetic bases of psychiatric disorders, and the underlying neural mechanisms of cognitive processing and social interaction. Cognitive processes currently under investigation include associative learning, reward processing, decision-making, selective attention, and problem solving. Clinical phenomena currently under investigation include alcohol use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism spectrum and attention deficit disorders.

A number of interdisciplinary centers exist that provide valuable training for neuroscience graduate students at Purdue. All centers offers a variety of highly interdisciplinary student-focused training events and research travel funding.

The Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience (PIIN) brings together investigators from many disciplines who share a common interest in the properties of the brain. PIIN organizes regular special lectures and colloquium series that bring distinguished neuroscientists to Purdue.

The Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) is an interdisciplinary center that offers a variety of training options, such as special lecture series and opportunities to participate in collaborative research, on bases of ingestive behavior, eating disorders and obesity.

The Center for Research on Brain, Behavior and NeuroRehabilitation (CEREBBRAL) is an area of research excellence within the College of Health and Human Sciences, addressing questions about how to improve quality of life — not just extend it — and how to predict disease- and aging-related declines in highly variable populations.

The Purdue Autism Research Center (PARC) supports individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities by advancing scientific discovery through interdisciplinary research that bridges cell cultures to community cultures; mentoring the next generation of thought leaders, including scientists and practitioners; and partnering with self-advocates, families and communities to translate scientific discovery for lasting societal impact.

Other relevant campus research facilities and resources:

Program Highlights

  • Students are directly admitted into their research mentor’s laboratory. Students will establish an advisory committee at the end of their first year in the program.
  • Students are supported through teaching assistantships which provide them with undergraduate teaching experience.
  • Students are required to participate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Seminar Series in which they present their research progress once each year.

Potential Careers

  • University faculty member
  • Researcher
  • Consultant

Plan of Study

Each graduate student admitted to a degree program must file an individualized plan of study to guide their academic progress. The plan of study is an academic contract between the student, advisory committee members and the Graduate School. Students filing their plan of study should complete their plan electronically via the Plan of Study Generator on MyPurdue. More information about creating a plan of study can be found in the Department of Psychological Sciences’ graduate handbook.

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Each student is expected to actively participate in research. New students typically begin research projects under the close supervision of their faculty mentor and become more independent as their graduate careers progress. Additionally, the neuroscience and behavior program offers a number of interdisciplinary centers that provide valuable training for neuroscience and behavior graduate students at Purdue.

Bridge Topics

Within the neuroscience and behavior program, faculty also have research interests in several bridge topics, including individual differences, learning and memory, ingestive behavior and maladaptive behavior. Individual differences research in the program is centered around factors that influence the development of major mental diseases. Neuroscience and behavior faculty studying learning and memory investigate reward, fear and safety-cue learning to better understand comorbid disorders, or two or more disorders occuring at the same time. Faculty in the program studying ingestive behavior focus on brain-gut interactions that regulate food intake and body weight. Further, neuroscience and behavior faculty who study maladaptive behavior focus on eating disorders and overeating behaviors.

student in lab with brain model


Students with research experience and a strong background in science are preferred. However, lack of these qualifications should not hinder otherwise strong candidates from applying.

The statement of interest is particularly important to demonstrate alignment of research interests between you and faculty members. Interested students are also encouraged to investigate the faculty’s research interests and to designate the specific faculty member or members with whom you wish to be affiliated.

Faculty recruiting new students for Fall 2025 admission will be posted here in October 2024.

The Department of Psychological Sciences allocates available support preferentially to graduate students in the program who are in good standing, and every effort is made to provide support to the maximum degree possible. However, after four years, continuing students have a lower priority for support than other students.

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Connect with Us!

If you have questions or to learn more about this program, please contact the Department of Psychological Sciences Graduate Program Coordinator, Nancy O’Brien at

Contact Us

Nancy O’Brien
Purdue University
701 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907

(765) 494-6067