Biological Psychology Degree Programs and Courses

Biological psychology focuses on how internal stimuli, such as the nervous system and the brain's physiological processes, influence human behavior. Continue reading to learn more about master's and doctoral degree programs in this field, prerequisites and career options. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You'll find that biological psychology is predominantly a graduate program, and you can earn either a master's degree or a Ph.D. in the field. The course concepts will vary based on a student's interests within biological psychology, but coursework in research methodologies is common in all programs.

Degrees Mostly available at the graduate level (master's and doctorate)
Courses Research methods, statistics, biological foundations of behavior
Licensing Requirements vary if teaching or practicing

What Courses Will I Take in a Biological Psychology Master's Degree Program?

At the master's degree level, you'll take classes in basic psychology, decision-making, substance abuse, aging and perception. You'll also complete faculty-advised lab work and thesis research. Moreover, you might also participate in a teaching assistantship in which you'll instruct a psychology course or laboratory session, or perhaps you might supervise undergraduate research.

What Courses Will I Take in a Doctoral Program?

At the doctoral level, you'll take classes in such topics as quantitative methods, neurobiology and the philosophy of science. You'll also complete clinical training and faculty-mentored research in substance abuse, motivation, pharmacology, neural plasticity and behavioral medicine. Teaching assistantships are available at this level, too. Here are some course topics that might be covered:

  • History of modern psychology
  • Cognitive/social/biological basis of behavior
  • Intermediate and advanced statistics
  • Sensory and perceptual processes
  • Epigenetics

What Prerequisites Will I Need to Meet?

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are important at both degree levels. Some programs only select a few applicants out of hundreds, so your GRE scores need to be up to par with, if not in excess of, a school's minimum entrance score. While general GRE scores are a common requirement, scores from the psychology subject test are not always required. Schools will also look at your grade point average (GPA), and sometimes a certain GPA will be required, such as a 3.5.

At the master's degree level, schools may look at your research experience and interests. A broad undergraduate background with some psychology, math and science courses might be required. A background in computers may be required as well. You may also need to provide a list of references when applying.

To be accepted into a doctoral degree program, you might need a master's degree in biological psychology along with coursework in chemistry, genetics, zoology, environmental psychology and physiology before you can apply. You may also need to provide a few letters of recommendation before you're accepted.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Biological Psychology?

Your master's degree can serve as pre-doctoral preparation. If you plan on entering the workforce upon graduation, you can find work in clinical research or teaching at the community college or high school levels. Potential employers include pharmaceutical companies, medical groups and applied research facilities. Similar careers exist at the doctoral level as well, though a doctorate will enable you to teach or conduct research at universities.

Will I Need to be Licensed Before I Can Start Working?

Some teaching positions require licensure. You will need a license to teach in a public high school, but if you plan on teaching at a college or university, you won't need a teaching license.

If you're going to be involved in patient care, then you'll definitely need a license to practice clinical psychology. The requirements you'll need to meet for licensure will vary according to the state in which you live. You might also need to earn continuing education units to renew your license periodically.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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