The Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program is designed to train students to become effective scholars and instructors and to prepare them for professional positions in academic and research settings. During the first two years students complete a series of foundation courses in statistics, perception, cognition, comparative psychology, neuroimaging techniques, and physiological psychology. These courses prepare the students for the comprehensive exam at the end of their second year. In subsequent years a wide variety of seminars and independent study options are available for pursuing students´ areas of interest, and Ph.D. candidates take a Ph.D. comprehensive exam within their primary areas of specialization. The M.A. is usually expected to be completed by the 3rd year, while most students are expected to complete the Ph.D. degree in 5 years.
All graduate students in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program receive hands-on training in state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience approaches including psychophysics, eye-tracking, electroencephalography, magnetic resonance imaging, transcranial direct current stimulation, functional near-infrared spectroscopy, and patient-based reseach.
The Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program employs a mentor model approach to research training - upon admission to the graduate program, students enter into the laboratory of their primary faculty advisor. From the beginning, students work closely with their advisor on well-defined research projects, with the goal of developing a programmatic line of research, ultimately leading to a dissertation, and laying the foundation upon which a career in research can be built. As the student progresses through the program, they are encouraged to establish collaborative ties with other program faculty. Funding is available in the form of research assistanships to support graduate research.
Students within the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program are elligible for funded teaching assistantships, allowing them to serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses taught by CBS faculty. Teaching assistants work closely with the faculty instructor to develop the teaching skills necessary to deliver high-quality undergraduate education. Upon receipt of the M.A. degree, students are elligible to be the instructor of record, teaching their own undergraduate courses. CBS faculty assist in developing these classes, will sit-in on lectures, and provide constructive feedback, further developing the student's teaching skills.
The Cognitive and Brain Sciences program strives to provide our students a rich intellectual and social community in which to thrive. Incoming classes of approximately five students join a supportive student-driven community that organizes the Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Graduate Students for the Advancement of Neuroscience clubs, the Cognitive and Brain Sciences talk series, and participates in the Sierra chapter of the Society for Neurosciences renowned Brain Awareness Week Reno area outreach program.