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.S. is usually expected to be completed by the 3rd year, while most students are expected to complete the Ph.D. degree in 5 years. The Cognitive and Brain Sciences handbook explicitly lays out the requirements of the program.

View the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program handbook

Before applying

Due to the mentor model of the graduate program, we strongly encourage prospective students to carefully review each of the program faculty's profiles, becoming familiar with their research, and contacting via email those faculty with whom they wish to train. In addition, we encourage all prospective students to carefully review the Cognitive and Brain Sciences handbook that explicitly lays out the specific requirements of the program.


Admission requirements

In order to qualify for admission, a candidate must have earned a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution. Those who hold a Master's Degree in Psychology may apply up to 24 credits towards the Ph.D. degree. An undergraduate major in Psychology is not required for admission, although a minimum of 18 credits (or equivalent) of undergraduate course work in psychology is required, including a course in statistics and a laboratory course in experimental research. Course work in related disciplines may be used to satisfy these requirements or may be acceptable transfer credits from a prior Master's Degree program. In either case, exceptions require approval of the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program Faculty.

For international students, a test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 500 is required for admission to the Graduate School. Students who have achieved a TOEFL score of 600 or higher are exempt from Intensive English Language Center evaluation. A TOEFL score of 550 or higher is the minimum necessary for a student to be approved for a teaching assistantship. TOEFL scores are not required for international students who have received a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited university or college in the United States.


How to apply

Applicants should submit the following:

  • a resume or CV
  • a statement of goals and interests
  • a completed application file must contain transcripts of all course work
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • general GRE scores

Transcripts, GRE scores and Graduate School application must be submitted directly to the Graduate School. Learn more about how to apply at the Graduate School.

The letters of recommendation and Program Preference Form must be sent directly to the Psychology Department

Start your application

Contact the program director

Gideon Caplovitz

  • Department of Psychology/0296
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Reno, NV 89557
  • Phone: (775) 784-6828