The BBS Program common curriculum includes courses that are essential for trainees to gain a full appreciation of a wide range of behavioral research approaches and obtain a sound biomedical grounding.

In addition, trainees engage in supervised research with a program preceptor and complete other elective courses and program activities tailored to their particular needs.

The BBS Program draws on the curriculum of the Biomedical, Psychology, and Health Services and Outcome Research PhD Programs, but its Common Core includes specific coursework, research training, and career development activities.

BBS Common Core

  • Biomedical Curriculum
  • Psychology Curriculum
  • Health Services and Outcomes Research Curriculum


Behavioral Neuroscience Methods

The goal of the Behavioral Neuroscience Methods course is to provide trainees with the range of approaches and methods and strategies used to study behavior and its neural determinants, including that involving human or animal subjects as well as population-based analyses. This is an advanced course that relies on lectures by faculty to frame research topics combined with student presentations of key historical and current publications. This course is directed by a BBS preceptor and includes a number of other BBS preceptors as lecturers.


Each of the PhD Programs associated with the BBS Program require coursework in Biostatistics, which provides skills in applying statistical theory and principles to research in medicine, biology, public health, and related fields. BBS trainees pursue initial coursework through their PhD Program but have advanced coursework in all three Programs available to them. 


It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ability to analyze and interpret large datasets is an essential skill for those carrying out complex behavioral research, which has led to the inclusion of Bioinformatics in the BBS Program. This provides foundational methodological tools for analyzing molecular and population genetics. In addition, the clinical informatics component provides tools for understanding factors that influence disease, its prognosis, and responsiveness to treatment.


While a normal didactic component of the Public Health PhD Program, Epidemiology is considered essential for all BBS trainees since it provides a means for them to better understand public health relevance of behavioral research. It provides the basis to study the distribution and determinants of disease and injury in human populations, including assessment of risk and causative factors. Given the varied research interests of trainees in Biomedical, Psychology, and Public Health Programs, three choices of epidemiology are offered: comprehensive public health, pharmacoepidemiology related to health outcomes, and epidemiology of neuropsychiatric illness.

Scientific Writing

All BBS trainees take the scientific writing course, led by a BBS preceptor, as a requirement for their PhD Programs. This course, taught the summer between the first and second year focuses on manuscript and proposal writing.

The BBS Training Program is supported by a National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) sponsored predoctoral training grant (T32 GM132494).

Research Forrest