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Department of Psychology
Harvard University

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Requirements & Electives
Requirements ChartsRegularHonorsMBBLife Science

LIFE SCIENCES TRACK in Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology

(formerly Social and Cognitive Neuroscience)

The Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology track (formerly Social and Cognitive Neuroscience) in Psychology is one of the options available in the Life Sciences Cluster of concentrations, which were formed to encourage interdisciplinary research and study in cutting-edge life science areas. In psychology, this could take many forms, including studying the effects of stress hormones on health and behavior, examining the parts of the brain that may be linked to our understanding of others or of moral judgments, or examining a rat model of an autism-spectrum disorder to better understand what may be going on in children with this disorder.

This track allows students to combine coursework in psychology with a substantial number of courses and/or research experiences in other areas of biology (usually Human Evolutionary Biology, Neurobiology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; see list of approved related life science courses). This track differs from MBB in that its interdisciplinary focus is on the other life science areas, but as a result counts more science courses toward concentration credits than does MBB, which combines psychology with some basic neuroscience and other interdisciplinary interests such as linguistics, philosophy, computer science or history of science. In addition, MBB is a thesis-only track, whereas the Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology track offers both regular and honors (thesis and non-thesis) options.

Course Sequence Recommendations For Students
Considering the Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology Track

Complete requirements can be found in the requirements chart. Below is a chart of recommended courses for the first two years. Students should consult with our Pre-Concentration Adviser or a Concentration Adviser for more guidance beyond the second year or for more detailed advising.

Students who are strongly considering this track should plan on enrolling in the following during their first two years:

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

Science of Living Systems 20 (or PSY 1 or SCI B-62 if taken in Spring 2009 or earlier)

Psychology 975 (fall or spring)

Life Sciences 1a or LPS A *

Life Sciences 1b

Basic Methods (fall or spring)
-choose from Stat 101 or Psy 1900-

At least one of the following Foundational Courses during first two years:
Psy 13, Psy 14, Psy 15, Psy 16 (no longer offered), Psy 18, SLS 15 or MCB 80

     *If taken Fall 2008 or later. LPS A will not count if taken after LS 1A.

  • Freshmen should enroll in one of:  Life Sciences 1a or Life and Physical Sciences A (fall, depending on placement) or Life Sciences 1b in spring. Students in the Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology track are required to take one of these courses, but may count more than one toward concentration requirements.
  • Freshmen should take Science of Living Systems 20
  • Ideally, freshmen will take one Foundational Course by the end of their freshman year, and should complete at least one Foundational Course no later than the end of the sophomore year.  Students may choose from the following Foundational Courses: Psy 13, Cognition; Psy 14, Cognitive Neuroscience; Psy 15, Social Psychology; Psy 16, Developmental Psychology (no longer offered); Psy 18, Abnormal Psychology; SLS 15, Developmental Psychology: Origins of Knowledge, or MCB 80, Neurobiology of Behavior. MCB 80 OR Psy 14 and one other Foundational Course are required courses.
  • In the third or fourth semester, students ordinarily enroll in Psy 975: Contemporary Issues in Psychology (Sophomore Tutorial) and the required Basic Methods course (either Psy 1900: Intro to Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences or Stat 101: Intro to Quantitative Methods).
  • Students can fulfill the Research Methods requirement by taking Psy 1901: Methods of Behavioral Research OR a lab course. Students can find a list of lab courses that will fulfill the Research Methods requirement here. Students can learn more about how to get involved in research on the Life Sciences website. Students who are planning on writing a thesis will need to take Psy 1901: Methods of Behavioral Research AND a lab course.