Psychology Concentration

Introduction | A.B. vs. Sc.B. Degree | Honors | Directed Research | Laboratory Courses | Electives

Concentration Advisors:
Sc.B Concentration: Prof. Dima Amso 
A.B Concentration: Prof. Elena Festa & Prof. Leslie Welch
Pre-Clinical Advisor: Prof. Brian Hayden


Psychology encompasses a range of phenomena and levels of analysis in pursuit of three goals: to deepen our understanding of cognitive and neural mechanisms of sensation, perception, learning and emotion; to probe the biological and evolutionary foundations of animal behavior; and to clarify the social perception and assessment of individuals and groups. In contrast to the other concentrations in this department, the Psychology concentration places the greatest emphasis on understanding human and animal behavior at different levels of analysis – biological, neural, evolutionary, cognitive, developmental, and social.  Students choosing this concentration are often interested in clinical and mental health issues, and will be well prepared for careers in medicine, law, education, business administration, as well as both clinical and experimental psychology.

AP and Transfer Credits: Please refer to our departmental policy on applying AP and transfer credits. Non-concentrators who wish to receive transfer credit should submit their transfer forms to Prof. Amso.

A.B. vs. Sc.B. Degree

The A.B. and Sc.B. Concentrations in Psychology have several features in common. Both require Introductory Psychology (or AP equivalent), a Quantitative Methods course, six core courses from three broad areas (Perception & Cognition, Comparative/Physiological, and Social/Personality/ Developmental), a laboratory course, and an advanced seminar.

The requirements specific to the A.B. Concentration include two elective courses that complement the student's main area of interest in Psychology. In all, the A.B. Concentration requires 12 courses. At least 6 of these courses must be taken at Brown; these courses must include at least 3 in the core distribution, a seminar, and a lab.

The requirements specific to the Sc.B. Concentration include six supporting science courses and a Directed Research course that involves one semester of independent research under the supervision of a faculty advisor in Psychology. The Sc.B. requires a total of 17 courses. At least 8 of these courses must be taken at Brown; these courses must include at least 3 in the core distribution, a seminar, a lab, and directed research.


Please refer to the CLPS Honors Program page for detailed information about the Psychology Honors program. Application forms and any questions about the program should be directed to Prof. Festa.

Directed Research (Independent Study)

Directed Research course is encouraged for the A.B. degree and required for the Sc.B. degree. Students should sign up for CLPS1970 or CLPS1980 with a faculty advisor who is a member of the CLPS Department. Students who wish to do an independent study with a non-CLPS faculty member need to obtain approval from their concentration advisor. Arrangements should be made with the faculty advisor during/prior to Semester 6 for students expecting to do independent study during Semesters 7 and/or 8. CLPS1970 or CLPS1980 can count as electives for the concentration requirements.

Laboratory Courses

Please note that there are enrollment limits in lab courses and that the offerings vary from year to year. Students should therefore be prepared to choose from the other laboratory options.

CLPS 1180A, Canine Behavior
CLPS 1190, Techniques in Physiological Psychology
CLPS 1191, Animal Behavior Laboratory
CLPS 1192, Animal Learning and Behavior Laboratory
CLPS 1193, Laboratory in Genes and Behavior
CLPS 1290, Laboratory in Cognitive Processes
CLPS 1490, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Practice
CLPS 1491, Neural Modeling Laboratory
CLPS 1492, Laboratory in Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
CLPS 1510, Psychology of Hearing
CLPS 1590, Visualizing Vision
CLPS 1690, Laboratory in Cognitive Development
CLPS 1790, Personality & Clinical Assessment
CLPS 1791, Laboratory in Social Cognition
CLPS 1890, Research in Psycholinguistics
CLPS 1891, Research Methods in Physiologic and Acoustic Phonetics 


Because of the changing availability and the nature of the curriculum of the CLPS department and the University, the sample of courses listed below is not an exhaustive list and varies from year to year. Other courses (including the lab courses listed above) may be substituted with permission of the concentration advisor. Note that most of the courses for electives must be at the 1000-level. Exceptions can be made through discussion with the concentration advisor.

CLPS 1150, Memory & the Brain
CLPS 1160, Evolution and Development of the Brain
CLPS 1200, Thinking
CLPS 1211, Human and Machine Learning
CLPS 1241, Causal Reasoning
CLPS 1250, Human Factors
CLPS 1400, The Neural Bases of Cognition
CLPS 1420, Cognitive Neuropsychology
CLPS 1478, Translational Models of Neuro
CLPS 1480A, Cognitive Neuroscience of Emotion
CLPS 1480B, Cognitive Aging and Dementia
CLPS 1480C, Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
CLPS 1480D, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
CLPS 1480F, Cognitive neuroscience of memory
CLPS 1490, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory & Practice
CLPS 1500, Ecological Approach to Perception and Action
CLPS 1520, Computational Vision
CLPS 1530, 3D Shape Perception
CLPS 1570, Perceptual Learning
CLPS 1571, Visual Consciousness
CLPS 1580B, Visual Attention
CLPS 1580C, Visualizing Information
CLPS 1580D, Seminar on Spatial Cognition
CLPS 1610, Cognitive Development
CLPS 1611, Cognitive Development in Infancy
CLPS 1620, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
CLPS 1621, The Developing Brain
CLPS 1650, Child Language Acquisition
CLPS 1680A, Topics in Development: Social Learning
CLPS 1680B, Topics in Development: Developmental Disorders
CLPS 1700, Abnormal Psychology
CLPS 1720, Human Resilience
CLPS 1730, Psychology in Business & Economics
CLPS 1785, Evolutionary Psychology
CLPS 1800, Language Processing
CLPS 1820, Language and the Brain