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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Chair: Jay G. Hull

Professors A. S. Clark, R. H. Granger, J. V. Haxby, T. F. Heatherton, H. C. Hughes, J. G. Hull, J. S. Taube, G. L. Wolford; Associate Professors D. J. Bucci, C. P. Cramer, W. M. Kelley, P. U. Tse, P. J. Whalen; Assistant Professors B. Duchaine, J. D. Kralik, M. Meng, C. J. Norris, W. M. Shim, T. P. Wheatley; Senior Lecturer J. F. Pfister; Visiting Associate Professor J. L. Scheiner; Visiting Assistant Professors S. Robinson, Adjunct Professors M. Gerrard, R. A. Maue, M. J. Sateia; Adjunct Associate Professor M. G. Funnell; Adjunct Assistant Professor Mark J. Detzer; Research Professors R. Elliott, F. X. Gibbons, R. E. Kleck; Research Associate Professor V. A Reed; Research Assistant Professor M. I. Gobbini; Research Assistant Professor in the Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center Y. C. Wu.

All requirements or options that need approval of the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee must be filed in the Departmental office with a completed Checklist. Appropriate Checklists may be downloaded from the Departmental web site described below.


Prerequisites: Psychology 1 and Psychology 10. Students must obtain a grade no lower than C in Psychology 1. Students who fail to obtain a C or better in Psychology 1 may still complete a major in Psychology in the event that they earn C or better in their next two Psychology courses. Psychology 10 may be taken concurrently with Psychology 1. As a course prerequisite to the major, Psychology 10 should be taken at or before the time of declaring the major; otherwise it must be taken in the first offering following sign-up for the major. Though we recommend against substituting, some other statistics courses are permitted as alternatives to Psychology 10, specifically: Economics 10, Government 10, Mathematics 10 and Sociology 10.

Requirements: The major requirements are as follows: The minimum major consists of one required course (Psychology 11) and seven electives. At least two of these seven electives must be numbered in the 20s, one 50 or higher, and another 60 or higher; the 60 or higher requirement constitutes the Culminating Experience requirement in Psychological and Brain Sciences. Of the two courses in the 20s, one must come from the set 22, 23, 24, or 25 and the other must come from the set 21, 26, or 28. Neither 88 nor 89 may be used to satisfy the 60 or above requirement. With prior approval, credit for up to two electives may be transferred from another institution, but credit for courses numbered 50 and above must be obtained at Dartmouth. Transfer of credits must be approved by the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee and by the Registrar prior to taking the course(s) (see detailed requirements and deadlines on the Department webpage). On occasion, by advanced planning and approval only, one of the seven electives may be taken from other related departments. Certain graduate courses may be taken by qualified and advanced undergraduates if permission is obtained from the course instructor. Majors must be approved by the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee.

The course numbers have meaning. Courses numbered 10 and below do not carry major credit. Courses numbered in the 20s are introductions to particular sub-areas in psychology. Courses in the 40s, and 50s are more advanced than 20s level courses and generally have a narrower focus. Courses in the 60s are advanced laboratory courses. Courses in the 80s are upper level seminars.

The Department recommends that majors take more upper level (50, 60 and 80 level) courses than we require for the major.


The Psychology major cannot be modified. Students who wish to have Psychology as the secondary part of a Modified Major (e.g., Biology Modified with Psychology) may do so, if the major forms a unified and coherent whole, as approved by the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee.


The Minor will consist of 6 courses: Psychology 1 (prerequisite) plus five additional courses numbered 10 or above. Two of the five must be numbered in the 50s or above. While two of the six may be transfers, transfers cannot count toward the 50 or above requirement. Minors must be approved by the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee.


See page XXX for information regarding these interdepartmental major and minor programs.


Qualified students majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences have the opportunity to participate in an Honors Program that provides individualized advanced instruction and research experience in psychology.

Individuals may apply for honors work as early as the spring term of their junior year, but not later than the end of the second week of fall term of their senior year. Eligibility for honors is a 3.30 average in the major and a 3.0 average overall. Students interested in doing honors work should consult the Department web page or obtain an honors packet from the Administrative Assistant in 103 Moore Hall.

The Psychological and Brain Sciences Department offers two fellowships for students who are interested in becoming involved in research projects: the Benjamin G. Benner ‘69 Undergraduate Research Support Fellowship, and the Lincoln Filene Undergraduate Fellowship in Human Relations. The fellowships are usually awarded to students to support research activities during a leave term that could serve as a foundation for honors research. Most often this is the summer preceding the student’s senior year. Information about the fellowships and the application process may be obtained from the Department office or web page.

An honors student must fulfill course requirements of the major and the following additional requirements.

1. The completion of an acceptable thesis based upon at least two terms of laboratory or field research that is carried out under the auspices of Psychology 89 and is under the supervision of a department faculty member. The Honors Thesis will entail an independent and individual project. Furthermore, the thesis project must be read and approved by the Thesis Committee.

2. Honors students will present their research to departmental faculty and interested others during the latter part of the spring term of their senior year.

3. By the last class day of the fifth week of the winter term preceding the completion of the thesis, all honors students must submit a prospectus of their thesis to their advisor and the Departmental Undergraduate Committee. The prospectus shall include a brief description of the rationale for the research, methods used, analyses to be employed and implications of the expected results.


The Department offers graduate training leading to the Ph.D., and the program emphasizes acquaintance with the basic psychological processes that form the core of experimental psychology. Students are encouraged in their research to address problems of broad significance and to be knowledgeable about the theory that makes breadth coherent.

The requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Psychological and Brain Sciences are as follows:

1. A passing grade in the required statistical courses (100 and 101), the proseminar (112, 113 and 114), and in five additional graduate seminars.

2. Completion of the teaching apprenticeship program.

3. A passing grade in a specialist examination containing both written and oral parts, typically by the end of the second year.

4. Fulfillment of the two-year-residence requirement.

5. Completion of independent research and a dissertation; a defense of the dissertation; and presentation of the dissertation research in a public oral colloquium.

6. For more specific details regarding the program see the ‘Departmental Guide to Graduate Program.’


Please check the Departmental website at for further information, including updated course offerings, PBS Bulletins, Departmental Colloquia, and PDF versions of all checklists.