Biopsychology Faculty and Students Picture

The Biopsychology Area at the University of Michigan is a subdivision within the Department of Psychology that is committed to the belief that studies of behavior and biology complement each other, and that both are enhanced when they are combined in a common effort. The underlying philosophy of the Biopsychology Area is that there is a strong need for research at the interface of behavior, biology, and evolutionary theory.

In the most recent ranking of Behavioral Neuroscience graduate programs we were ranked #1 - see report on the web here.

Students typically pursue graduate studies involving the investigation of ‘Brain and Behavior Relationships’ (e.g., Physiological Psychology or Behavioral Neuroscience), or the ‘Evolution of Behavior’ (e.g., Sociobiology or Comparative Animal Behavior), although students are encouraged to sample both of these approaches during their graduate career. In practice, research activities of the staff range from field observations of animal social behavior to recording the activity of single brain cells, and the main research interests of the faculty are in one or more of the following sub-areas.

  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Sensory processes
  • Evolutionary basis and the adaptive significance of behavior
  • Motivation and emotion
  • Hormones and behavior
  • Biological rhythms
  • Learning and memory
  • Stress reactions
  • Psycho-pharmacology
  • Neural plasticity/recovery of function
  • Neuropsychology

Each graduate student has a pre-candidacy advisory committee made up of three Biopsychology faculty members to help them select courses and training appropriate to their goals. A synopsis of program requirements is given below, and more detailed information on available courses and training opportunities may be obtained by contacting the Chair of the Biopsychology Area.

The Ph.D. Program in Biopsychology is strongly research-oriented, and students are required to initiate a research project (Psychology 619) in collaboration with a faculty member early in their first year of graduate study. They are also required to write a report and to give an oral presentation based on this project by the Fall Term of their second year. Students continue research during their second year, along with course work, and take their Preliminary Examination at the end of the second year.

History of Biopsychology at Michigan (PDF)