Neuroscience is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in both behavioral and natural sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience at St. Edward’s allows you to  study the multidisciplinary nature of behavioral neuroscience, master a set of laboratory skills and methodology, and study the intricacies of behavior. 

The Behavioral Neuroscience degree is a good fit for students who are interested in professional or research careers in medicine, pharmaceuticals, animal science, neurology, and neuroscience. Many pre-health students find this major a good fit because the degree requirements align with graduate school requirements. This also is helpful for students interested in pursuing other types of advanced degrees. 

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements: The BS in Behavioral Neuroscience requires 63 hours of major-specific courses, which include a combination of psychology and natural sciences coursework. 

Electives: Students complete 9 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. These courses do not have to relate to the major.

General Education Requirements: The degree requires 48 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View and download the full degree plan for the Behavioral Neuroscience major (PDF).

A few examples of courses students in this major take:          

  • Biopsychology – Delves into the function and anatomy of the nervous system and the role it plays in directing thought and behavior.
  • Behavioral Neuroscience – Students will examine how the central nervous system mediates perceptions, emotions, memories, and other behaviors.
  • Learning and Cognition - Students study processes that span from invertebrates to humans, drugs to disease, and theories to clinical treatment. The course examines learning principles, memory processes, and cognitive skills. 

Faculty and Student Support Services

Dr. Boyette-Davis' research interests focus on the mechanisms and consequences of both pain and addiction. In her teaching and research efforts, Dr. Davis seeks to develop an environment that is both challenging and encouraging. 

– Jessica Boyette-Davis, Program Director and Assistant Professor for Behavioral Neuroscience

Dr. Goldey enjoys working with students as they learn processes fundamental to psychological research: developing questions, reading relevant literature, collecting and analyzing data, and sharing findings with others. Dr. Goldey's research interests include hormones and behavior, evolution, human sexuality, gender, pair bonding/romantic relationships, and stress. 

– Katherine Goldey, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience

Faculty Research Areas

The faculty are trained in a variety of behavioral specialties in human and non-human animals, cellular and systems neuroscience, and clinical research.

Psychology Faculty

Jessica Boyette-Davis - Pain systems, addiction
Mike Disch - Sensation and perception, vision, decision making
Katy Goldey - Stress and hormones, motivation and emotion, sexual selection
Delia Paskos - Cognitive neuroscience, event related potentials, ADHD

Biology Faculty

Fidelma O’Leary - Molecular neuroscience, learning and memory, disease models

Student Support Services

Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:

  • Academic counseling and advising
  • Supplemental instruction and tutoring
  • Career preparation and advising 
  • Writing Center consultation
  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Student disability support

Learn more about these services.

Outside the Classroom

Students majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience can explore career paths and practical application of their studies through internships and interactions with the greater Austin community.

Research and Field Experience

The Research and Field Experience course requires students to work 120 hours in the field doing either research or an internship in a related setting. Some internships are clinical, such as a mental health and addiction facility. Some are in the biomedical fields, such as hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and other similar settings. 

Scholars Programs

We have several students engaged in the McNair Scholars program, the National Science Foundation (NSF) summer research programs, and related summer research projects, as well as ongoing research during the academic year.

Conferences and Presentations

Students present their research at conferences regionally, such as the Texas Academy of Sciences and Southwestern Psychological Association. They also have the opportunity to present at conferences nationally and internationally, such as the Society for Neuroscience and the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.


Our students have recently interned with:

  • Anxiety Treatment Center of Austin
  • Austin State Hospital
  • Central Texas Occupational Rehabilitation Center
  • Central Texas Veterans' Administration
  • MD Anderson Cancer Research Center
  • Sleep Disorders Center of Central Austin
  • Southwestern University Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
  • Texas Department of Health

Alumni Outcomes

Our graduates have entered the field in a wide range of professional roles. 

Meggan Archey '16 combined dedication to academic excellence and career preparation helped her secure a
place in the highly competitive Molecular, Cellular, & Integrative Neurosciences Graduate Program at
Colorado State University. While at St. Edward’s she learned about the principles of neuroscience
through her coursework, but also pursued professional-level research that she completed under the
guidance of faculty members. Meggan is now on her way to earning a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

In addition to engaging in collaborative research efforts with Southwestern University, Nikky Kunkel '17 completed
research with various faculty members in both the Department of Psychology and Behavioral
Neuroscience and the Department of Biology. Those experiences, combined with her dedication to her
studies in the classroom, ensured that she would be successful when applying to some of the top
graduate programs in the field of neuroscience. And successful she has been! Nikky is now working on
her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin.

Katelynn Tate '17 is in medical school at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine after excelling in her
coursework and working under the guidance of dedicated faculty and staff at St. Edward’s. Katelynn was
able to use her time here to maximize her readiness for this amazing next step in her academic career.

Our graduates are working in:

  • Government research labs
  • Private research facilities
  • Pharmacological research and development
  • Careers in clinical science
  • Allied health fields

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience often pursue professional and graduate studies. This degree equips students with an array of laboratory skills, experimental design and data analysis skills, and a broad base in STEM and behavioral sciences. 

Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.