Behavioral genetics is an area of specialization devoted to the study of genetic and environmental influences on behavior. In behavioral genetics, principles and techniques from biochemical genetics, developmental genetics, evolutionary genetics, molecular genetics, pharmacogenetics, and quantitative genetics are applied to the analysis of behavior. Students in the graduate training program are expected to achieve competence in genetics relevant to their special research interests. Departmental faculty is currently applying the concepts and tools of behavioral genetics to such diverse areas as aging, alcohol abuse and addiction, cognitive development, drug abuse and addiction, learning disabilities, neurological diseases, nicotine tolerance and withdrawal, personality/temperament, and psychopathology. Within the Behavioral Genetics (BG) graduate training program, students can arrange a course of studies that incorporates elements of the other training programs in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and other academic units within the university (e.g., the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology or the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology).
A graduate Interdisciplinary Certificate in Behavioral Genetics is available in the CU Boulder Graduate School and is administered through the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Ph.D. students in the behavioral genetics area are required to enroll in the following courses. As many courses are not taught every year, it is the student’s responsibility to take relevant courses when offered. Course substitutions may be requested by submitting a petition for approval by the BG training committee.
1. Physiological Genetics
PSYC 5200, IPHY 5200, 3 credits; Stitzel
This requirement may be waived for students who have had an equivalent course in molecular genetics or substituted by another graduate molecular genetics course.
Examples of other graduate molecular genetics courses are:
MCDB 5220, Molecular Genetics, 3 credits
MCDB 5230, Gene Expression, 3 credits
MCDB 5471, Mechanisms of Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes, 3 credits
MCDB 5520, Bioinformatics and Genomics, 3 credits
2. Behavioral Genetics
PSYC 5102, 3 credits; Rhee, Carey
PSYC 5741 (Graduate Statistics), 4 credits
PSYC 5741, 4 credits (Quantitative Methods in Neuroscience)
PSYC 5751, 4 credits; IPHY 5800, 5 credits;
PSYC 5541, 4 credits; or other approved course).
This must be a graduate-level course in statistics (of at least one semester), approved by the student's advisory committee.
4. Scientific ethics
PSYC 5112, 3 credits; Smolen
1. Quantitative Genetics (PSYC 5122, 3 credits; professor TBA).
2. Molecular Genetics and Behavior/ Human Genomics (IPHY 5232; PSYC 5232, MCDB 5232, 3 credits; Johnson).
3. Biometrical Methods in Behavioral Genetics (PSYC 5242, 3 credits; Stallings).
4. Bioinformatics and Genomics (IPHY 6010, PSYC 6010, 3 credits; Ehringer).
5. Advanced Statistical Genetics (IPHY 5300, PSYC 5300, 3 credits; McQueen).
6. Up to two courses in Behavioral Neuroscience
Examples of Behavioral Neurosciences courses are:
NRSC 5100, Introduction to Neuroscience I, 2-5 credits
NRSC 5110, Introduction to Neuroscience II, 3 credits
NRSC 5032, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 3 credits
NRSC 5052, Behavioral Neuroscience, 3 credits
NRSC 5072, Clinical Neuroscience, 3 credits
NRSC 5132, Neuropharmacology, 3 credits
NRSC 5092, Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, 3 credits
In addition to this sequence of core courses within the BG training program, the following requirements also must be met prior to admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree unless a specific exception has been obtained in writing from both the Director of the BG program and the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
|Competency in General Genetics||Grade above C in Physiological Genetics (PSYC 5200, IPHY 5200) and Behavioral Genetics (PSYC 5102)|
|Yearly Review||Near the end of the each year of graduate study, the progress of each BG student is reviewed by an advisory committee. This review and evaluation may include an examination, which samples course and research work.|
|Elective Requirements||In addition to the required BG courses, students must take three additional courses. These can be any graduate level course, and can be within or outside of the BG program. The specific courses are determined through consultation between the student and the student’s advisory committee|
|First-Year Project||At the beginning of the fall semester, students starting their second year will present their first-year project at the IBG orientation poster session.|
|Second-Year Project||At the beginning of the fall semester, students starting their third year will present their second-year project at the IBG orientation poster session.|
|Master of Arts Degree or Equivalent||Receipt of M.A. degree based on research relevant to behavioral genetics or equivalent (see IV below). The two papers must be submitted to the masters committee by the end of the second year (i.e., August following the second year). The masters papers should be defended at the same time as the comprehensive examination defense during the fall semester of the third year. Students must petition the faculty for permission to complete the masters after the second year.|
The student is required to obtain at least one semester of teaching experience. This requirement usually can be met by successful performance as a teaching assistant. Students will be required to engage in research under the supervision of a faculty member of their choosing each semester of their graduate career. It is expected that the first year of this research will be in the form of a research apprenticeship. Behavioral Genetics Training Program Revised 5/2014 A file of each student's achievements will be kept in the BG Area Office in the Department of Psychology (and at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics). It is the student's responsibility to keep this file up to date by submitting every spring a brief description of the research and teaching experience gained during the previous year. This file also should include copies of all papers, published and unpublished, for which the student desires credit during evaluation procedures.
On being admitted, the student will be assigned a BG Area major advisor to supervise the training program leading to advanced degrees. If a change of interests or circumstances necessitates a change of advisor, students should obtain written consent from the faculty member with whom they wish to work and the approval of the Director of the Behavioral Genetics training program. During the first semester of residence, the student and advisor will select a three-person committee to advise and guide the student. This committee will usually be the same as that which administers the examination designated below and will constitute the thesis committee for the student's Master's degree.
Find more information at Requirements for Behavioral Genetics Graduate Program