Program overview

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 research.


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 assistantships to support graduate research.


Students within the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program are eligible 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.S. degree, students are eligible 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 (contact: and Graduate Students for the Advancement of Neuroscience (contact: 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.

Recent news from the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program

Several Poggendorff triangles in blue and purple on a gray background. The Poggendorff triangles are two triangles that appear to share an edge.
Psychology professor’s illusion in top ten for Best Illusion Contest

Vote for the illusion Gideon Caplovitz created with his two daughters by May 27

A representative of Siemens and the University's neuroscience imaging director confer as an fMRI is conducted.
A major milestone in neuroscience research and teaching excellence

$5.3 million, NIH COBRE ‘Phase 3’ award will further advance the mission and impact of the University’s Center for Integrative Neuroscience

brains on display
Taissa Lytchenko receives international neuroscience society award

Graduate student recognized for Cognitive Brain Sciences outreach and education for community

Seven faculty members view demonstration of a large-size "two-photon" microscope
$11 million grant advances research at the forefront of cardiovascular disease

Biggest Little Research: Significant NIH Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence support builds on molecular and cellular expertise to address the leading cause of death

President Marc Johnson and Henry Neeman at CI Day 2019
Researchers, technology providers, and leadership discuss vision for University Cyberinfrastructure

Cyberinfrastructure Day 2019 highlighted where we are and where we are going with research technology support

2 faculty member sitting at desk in office with neuroscience-related images on the computer screens
Institute for Neuroscience to help a multidisciplinary center of excellence become even stronger

James Kenyon named director of University of Nevada, Reno institute designed to complement and extend the energy, experience and potential in the neurosciences

Associate Professor Gideon Caplovitz with members of The Caplovitz Vision Lab
Decoding the mind of an octopus

University’s Gideon Caplovitz and a team of researchers set out to learn about the cognitive processes of the octopus with applications to humans and AI with award of new NSF funds

Hector Arciniega and Marian Berryhill are seated as a computer work station; Hector holds a clear 3-D representation of a human head.
Evidence shows electric stimulation improves low working memory

University of Nevada, Reno-led research shows promise for potential new application of transcranial direct-current stimulation in older adults

virtual reality lab
Exploring how to make virtual reality more accessible to women

VR sickness to be studied by University of Nevada, Reno team

2 separate, side-by-side photos of Dr. Chalifoux and Dr. Snow
Chalifoux, Snow named 2018 Regents’ Rising Researchers

Recognized for early successes and discoveries in research fields of chemistry, psychology

Jacqueline Snow and Michael Gomez
Study finds graspable objects grab attention more than images of objects do

Findings challenge notion that images are appropriate substitute for real objects

Fang Jiang studies fMRI technology images
Lightning Talks provide early-career faculty members opportunity to network, collaborate

Presentations represented a variety of disciplines, including sustainable plant production and street art in virtual reality

University of Nevada, Reno students and campus in the fall
Psychology research to help those suffering from severe motion sickness

University assistant professor Paul MacNeilage gets published in Current Biology

Integrative Neuroscience research shows person with HD EEG technology on head
University awarded $10.6 million from NIH to continue neuroscience research

Second phase of funding will expand support for junior faculty and research facilities

Collage includes artist's rendering of the Switch facility located east of Reno, known as The Citadel Campus, plus a laboratory work space and computer circuit board.
Major, new high-performance computing cluster to advance research and industry

Technology leader Switch provides critical data-ecosystem infrastructure to power Pronghorn, the University's new cluster, and the regional economy

Psychology EPSCoR Faculty Awardees
NSF awards $2.2 million to advance brain research

Neuroscience researchers have integral role in two multi-institution programs exploring fundamental questions around attention, cognition, learning

fMRI equipment
University of Nevada, Reno and Renown Health announce partnership for brain fMRI research

New functional MRI technology studies human brain function, aims to understand how the brain works


Admission deadline for fall 2022 has closed

The application deadline for Fall 2022 has passed. Questions can be directed to Dr. Gideon Caplovitz, director of CBS ( for information on the admissions cycle.

Dr. Haigh looking for grad students

Dr. Haigh is looking for 1-2 graduate students, one of whom will be responsible for leading a funded project on sensory processing in schizotypy/schizophrenia. The Sarah Haigh lab focuses on sensory processing in clinical and in neurotypical individuals using behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods. Contact to inquire.

Welcome Dr. Edward Ester!

The CBS program welcomes new faculty member Edward Ester, Ph.D.

Ester is interested in flexible and efficient behavior requiring seamless integration of sensory, mnemonic, and motor information, such as how do you know whether it's safe to change lanes while driving down the highway?

Learn more about Ester's research interests.

Your donation directly impacts our student funding and our research.

Donors like you greatly affect the success of our program by providing funding for student stipends, lab equipment, bringing guest lectures to campus, and more.

Donate to the Cognitive and Brain Sciences graduate program
Two researchers examine brain scans on a computer screen.