Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook1University of Nevada, RenoDepartment of PsychologyCognitive and Brain SciencesHandbookV 5.0August 2020
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook2Table of ContentsIntroduction to the University and Department . 3Introduction to Program . .4Mission Statement . .4Admission Requirements .5General University Requirements . . 6General Program Requirements . .7Masters Thesis 8Doctoral Dissertation .12Timeline for Completion .14Evaluation of Progress 15Conflict Resolution and Academic Discipline . .15
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook3UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENOThe university is located in Reno-Sparks, a community of approximately 250,000, on the eastern edge of the Sierras.The city offers a mild climate, spectacular outdoor environments, and wide range of outdoor activities that includecycling, hiking, fishing and camping. Each year the cities of Reno and Sparks host a number of large events thatattract visitors from across the county. These include ArtTown, the Nugget Rib Cookoff, the Reno Rodeo, Hot AugustNights, the Reno Hot Air Balloon Races, the Reno National Championship Air Races, and Street Vibrations. Reno isthe host city for a minor league baseball team, the Reno Aces, as well as a D-League NBA team, the Reno Bullhorns.The town is within an hour s drive of Lake Tahoe and several renown ski resorts, while the Bay Area and SanFrancisco are approximately 3.5-hours away by car. The University of Nevada, Reno is a fully accredited, doctoraldegree granting institution, serving approximately 22,000 students in nearly 70 graduate and over 140undergraduate degree programs.DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGYThe Department of Psychology is made up of three doctoral degree programs: the Cognitive and Brain SciencesProgram, an APA accredited Clinical Program, and an ABA accredited Behavior Analysis Programs. Currently, thereare 28 faculty members in the Department, and approximately 800 undergraduate majors and 120 graduatestudents.MISSION STATEMENTCognitive and Brain Sciences are a basic component of any academic program in psychology. The Cognitive and BrainSciences program is committed to quality training of students at the graduate and undergraduate levels and theproduction of high quality research. It is our goal to offer foundational courses and training in the broad field ofCognitive and Brain Sciences along with specialized training in focus areas represented by our faculty research. Westrive to train our students to become researchers and/or teachers applying the most effective and cutting edgetechniques and technologies for the analysis and measurement of human behavior and neural activity with the goalof furthering our theoretical understanding of the neural basis of the human mind. Our faculty members maintainactive research laboratories that provide fertile environments for graduate and undergraduate students toparticipate and learn about the research process. It is our purpose to provide masters and doctoral graduatestudents with extensive background in several basic areas of research, to train them so that they can plan andexecute original research in the field and expose them, 'in depth' to a concentrated area of research. These actionsare intended to prepare our graduates to be viable candidates for academic and non-academic positions.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook4COGNITIVE AND BRAIN SCIENCES PROGRAMThe Graduate Program in Cognitive and Brain Sciences offers programs of study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D.degrees. Students are given a strong foundation in current theory and methods and have the opportunity tospecialize within a number of substantive research areas that include brain organization in developmentaldisabilities, comparative and developmental vision, cognitive neuroscience, memory, perception, vestibular controland movement, human factors in aviation, attention, face recognition, consciousness and neuropsychology.The Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program has collaborative links with several other departments on campus,including Biology, Medicine, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering. Many of the program faculty membersalso maintain close working links with colleagues and research labs at other universities. Each faculty member is alsoa part of the Program in Neuroscience, which provides additional connections between Psychology graduate facultyand those in other departments. Neuroscience degrees are awarded through both the Departments of Psychologyand Biology.Students entering the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program begin their research training in the lab of a primaryfaculty advisor who is expected to supervise the student’s research throughout their time in the program. Inaddition to research, students complete a series of foundation courses, usually in the first two years in statistics,perception, cognition, memory, comparative psychology, and physiological psychology. These courses prepare thestudents for the comprehensive exam at the end of their second year. In subsequent years, a wide variety ofseminars and independent study options are available for pursuing students areas of interest.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook5ADMISSIONSIn order to qualify for admission, a candidate must have earned a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from anaccredited institution along with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the doctoral degree and 2.75 for the Master’s degree.An undergraduate major in Psychology is not required for admission. The Graduate School does not have a foreignlanguage requirement for either the Masters degree or the Doctoral degree. Please seehttps://www.unr.edu/grad/admissions for more detailed instructions on completing and submitting an application.In order for an application to be considered complete, applicants should submit a (1) CV, (2) a statement of goalsand interests including a list of desired faculty advisors, (3) official transcripts of all prior course work from allinstitutions that have been attended, (4) three letters of recommendation, and (5) GRE scores from an exam takenwithin the last five years. The Psychology Subject Area of the GRE is not required. Applications are reviewed by theprogram faculty and admission requires the approval of a majority of the faculty through a formal vote.Students wishing to obtain a PhD from the Program should initially apply to the PhD program. Only those studentswishing to terminate their studies in the Program after the Masters degree should apply to the master’s program.Students admitted into the Masters program will be required to reapply to the PhD program if they later wish toobtain the PhD degree from the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program.International Student RequirementsFor International Students, a test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 500 is required foradmission to the Graduate School. Students who have achieved a TOEFL score of 600 or higher are exempt fromIntensive English Language Center evaluation. A TOEFL score of 550 or higher is the minimum necessary for astudent to be approved for a teaching assistantship. TOEFL scores are not required for international students whohave received a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited university or college in the United States.Students entering with a Master’s Degree or previous graduate course workThose who already hold a Masters Degree may apply up to 24 credits of course work towards the Ph.D. degree.Course work in related disciplines from other graduate programs may be used to satisfy these requirements or maybe acceptable transfer credits from a prior Masters Degree program. The Program Director determines whethercredits can be used to satisfy course requirements along with the approval of the Cognitive and Brain SciencesProgram Faculty.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook6GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNR GRADUATE SCHOOLMaster’s Degree RequirementsMinimum 30 credits total (18 @ 700 )1) A minimum of 24 course credits must be taken for the master’s degreeThese credits can include classes, grad research, individual reading, and comp credits*2) 6 Thesis credits (Psy 797) must also be taken* Note: These are the requirements of the UNR Graduate School. As noted below, the requirements of the CBS program differand in the case of the minimum credits required, the 24 course credits need to be satisfied by completing 15 credits of FoundationCourses and 9 Credits of Methods Courses.Ph.D. RequirementsMinimum 72 credits total (30 @ 700 )1) 24 (18 @ 700 ) course credits from your UNR master’s degree can be transferred toward your Ph.D.Students entering with a master’s degree will have to determine how many credits will be allowed to transferfrom their previous university. This is usually left to the discretion of the Program Director and the student’sprimary advisor.2) 24 additional course credits must also be taken (possibly more if you are entering with a masters from anotherinstitution, see item 1). These credits can include any class credits, grad research credits, individual readingcredits, and comp credits.3) 24 Dissertation (Psy 799) credits must also be taken.Additional Important tips from previous graduate students:1) File your ‘Program of Study’ (POS) no later than one and half semester prior to your planned graduation date.For example, the POS deadline for May 2011 graduation was November 24th 2010. All of the other necessaryforms can be completed prior to your defense. (see https://www.unr.edu/grad/student-resources/forms foradditional information)2) Follow the degree requirement above when completing your Master’s Degree POS form. Why? The Master’sDegree POS form asks you to fill in the courses you have completed. If you list all of the courses you havetaken so far, including those that you plan to apply to your Ph.D. only 24 credits will transfer. For example, ifyou listed 42 (including 6 thesis credits) credits on your Master’s POS, you will lose 12 credits that you couldhave used toward your Ph.D. requirements.3) Certain course numbers have maximum credit allotments. Once you reach the maximum for that coursenumber you will not be able to count additional credits taken under the same number toward your degree.These maximums include:Psy 761 6 creditsPsy 762 6 creditsPsy 763 9 creditsPsy 755 (Individual Reading) 9 creditsPsy 752/753 (Grad Research) 6 credits
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook7GENERAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTSOverview:The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Cognitive and Brain Sciences follow the general graduate school requirements asdetailed in the University catalog and online (https://www.unr.edu/grad). Students should obtain a program ofstudy form from the graduate school website (Program of Study DocuSign Powerform & Program of Study [PDF]) toreview the prescribed steps and times in progressing toward an advanced degree. Students entering the MastersDegree program are expected to complete the degree within 2-4 years of the date of matriculation, and no laterthan 6 years from this date. Students entering the Ph.D. program are expected to complete the Ph.D. Degree within4-6 years after matriculation (3-5 years for those students entering the program with a Masters Degree inPsychology), and no later than 8 years from this date. These deadlines are set by the Graduate School. Note, thedeadlines for maintaining satisfactory progress in the Program may be less lenient (Please see “Timeline forCompletion” below).Students who register for 9 credits or more are considered as full-time students. Students receiving funding eitherthrough Research or Teaching Assistantships are considered full-time students if they register for 6 or more credits.To remain in “good standing” all graduate students must register for at least 3 graduate-level credits during each falland spring semester until graduation. There are no minimum registration requirements during the summer.However, graduate assistants with summer assignments must register for at least one graduate-level credit duringeach regular summer session to be exempt from FICA.Students are expected to earn A’s and B’s in all graduate courses. A student whose overall graduate GPA falls below3.0 is placed on probation, and if the overall GPA remains below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters, the student isdropped from graduate standing. A student may reapply for graduate standing by achieving an overall graduate GPAof at least 3.0. In the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program, a grade of C or worse in any course is sufficient cause forreview of the student’s continuation in the programLab Participation and ResearchResearch experience is accomplished through participation in the student’s advisor’s research lab. All facultymembers have active, ongoing research programs and students are expected to participate in laboratoryexperiences in connection with these labs throughout their entire training. Regular attendance at primary (andsecondary, if applicable) lab meetings is mandatory.Students participate in an individual faculty member’s lab as their primary lab placement. Students are expected tojoin a laboratory as a first course of action once they arrive at UNR. Students who enter the program without anadvisor will be assigned one to facilitate the initiation of a research project. Participation in a lab occurs by mutualagreement between the student and faculty member. Shortly after starting in the program, students will begin their1st year research project, the progress and results of which are to be presented at the end of the 1st year as part ofthe Cognitive and Brain Sciences Spring research symposium. Presentations are in the form of the 10-15minuteconference-style research talk. In subsequent years, more senior graduate students are expected to present theprogress and results of their research at the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Winter research Colloquia.Students may also request to participate in research in other labs if they should desire.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook8MASTERS DEGREE REQUIREMENTSIn order to earn a Masters Degree through the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program, students must complete:1)2)3)4)Required courseworkThe Master’s Comprehensive ExamA research project that is written in the form of a Master’s ThesisA defense of the Master’s Thesis in a public talk and private oral exam.Upon completion of these requirements the students must submit the necessary paperwork with the UNR graduateschool.These four requirements are described in detail as follows:1) Course Requirements:Students earning a Masters Degree must complete a minimum of 30 credits of acceptable graduate course work(courses with grades of “C” or lower will not be counted) as approved by the student’s advisory-examiningcommittee and the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program Director. These 30 credits must include a set of 5Foundation courses (15 credits) in appropriate subject areas, and a set of 3 Development courses (9 credits) andMasters Thesis Research: Psy 797 (6 Credits). One of the Development courses must be Psy706: IntermediateStatistics. At least 21 of these 30 credits must be earned in on-campus courses at UNR and a minimum of 18 totalcredits of course work must be taken at the 700-level.In addition to the required 30 Credits described above, students are also required to enroll in at least 1 but not morethan 3 credits of Psy 795 to prepare for the Master’s Comprehensive Exam. In order for students to qualify for aTeaching Assistant position, they must enroll in GRAD 701S. This short course should be taken prior to performingany teaching or Teaching Assistant duties and is usually offered during the student orientation period prior to thestart of the Fall Semester. No credit is offered for the completing this short course. In addition, students receivingfunding as a Teaching Assistant may also be required to complete a 3 credit course in teaching skills offered throughthe Excellence in Teaching Program. Students can also enroll in up to 6 credits of PSY 752 (Graduate Research) andup to 9 Credits of PSY 755 (Individual Reading). These credits cannot be used toward the 30 credit requirement forthe M.A. degree.Students entering with an M.A. in another field may substitute equivalent graduate courses from another institutionto satisfy parts of this requirement. The applicability of transfer credits is determined by the program faculty andrequires approval by the program director.Examples of Foundation Courses Include:Psy 709: Comparative Sensory NeurosciencePsy 720: Sensation and PerceptionPsy 721: Advanced PsychophysiologyPsy 729: Human Memory
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook9Topical seminars are also offered through the following course numbers, which upon approval of theCognitive and Brain Sciences Director, can also be taken to satisfy the 5-course foundation requirement:Psy 761 or 762: Contemporary Issues in Psychology (maximum of 6 credits each)Psy 763: Special Topics in Cognitive and Brain Sciences (maximum of 9 credits)In addition to the two required Methods courses, students must also complete at least one further lab-orientedmethods or statistics course. Current examples of these courses include:Psy 627: Applications of Computer ProgrammingPsy 707: Intermediate Statistics II (or Math 757)Psy 710: Experimental DesignPsy 780: Advanced Human Psychophysiology LabPsy 761-763 (special topics) courses may also be used, upon approval of the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Director,to satisfy the Development course requirements if their content is appropriate. Examples of such special topicscourses include 761: fMRI Methods and Approaches, 762: Graduate Writing and 763: Professional Development.2) The Master’s Comprehensive Exam:The M.A. Comprehensive Examination shall be taken at the end of the Spring semester during the second year ofstudy. Students failing to complete this requirement will undergo a review by the CBS faculty and will remainineligible to teach summer classes.This examination is designed to assess the student’s foundational knowledge the Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Thetake home, open-book exam is given over the course of 1-week. The exam will include 5 topical areas administeredby the program faculty and would normally correspond to the areas represented by the 5 Foundation courses thestudent has elected to take. Each assigned question (1-3 per topical area) should be answered in 3-5 pages ofdouble-spaced text with appropriate referencing. All questions will be assigned to the student at 10AM on the startday of the exam and will be turned in by 10AM on the seventh day following. For example, for an exam that starts at10AM on a Monday, the answers will be due by 10AM the following Monday.Areas covered on the exam may include but are not limited to: Perception Memory Cognition Psychophysiology Cognition
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook Cognitive Neuroscience Neuropsychology Evolutionary Psychology10Students should consult the Director of the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program for more details concerning theexamination for any given year. Each question on the exam is scored on a 5-point scale. The student must average aminimum of 2.75 to pass and satisfy the requirement for earning a Master’s Degree. A student who does not pass onthe first try may, on approval of the program faculty, be given one opportunity to retake the entire exam on the nextoccasion it is administered. The following interpretations of the grading scale are used (although a 5-point scale isnormally used, a reader may assign a score of “0” for “no response” or a totally irrelevant answer):5 – Excellent: best or nearly best possible answer4 – Very Good: more than sufficient quality to pass3 – Acceptable: Minimum level for passing at the Ph.D. qualifying level2 – Unsatisfactory: quality of answer falls short of the minimum passing standard1 - Failure – answer below expectations for graduate studentsNote 1: Students may substitute one seminar course from outside the program as part of their 5-course foundationrequirement. The substituted course must be approved by both the student's advisor and program director. Thus if afoundation course is substituted then the outside instructor must be willing to contribute and grade one section ofthe MA comprehensive exam based on their subject area.Note 2: An individual faculty member can provide only one section of the MA comprehensive exam3) Master’s Thesis:The Master’s Thesis is overseen by an advisory-examining committee made up of at least three members of the UNRgraduate faculty. Two faculty members who represent the student’s area of specialization and one faculty memberis selected from the university “at-large.” The research underlying the Masters Thesis is to be supervised by afaculty member in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences and is to be evaluated by a second faculty reader in the CBSProgram. These two faculty members serve as the two members of the committee who represent the student’s areaof specialization. In addition the committee must include one faculty outside of the Department of Psychology torepresent the university ‘at large’. Additional members of the committee can be added. Thesis research involvinghuman subjects or animals must be approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Nevada, Reno,prior to data collection.Upon completion of the Thesis Research, the background and significance, methods and analyses, results anddiscussion of the project shall be written in the form of a Master’s Thesis. Alternatively, upon unanimous approval ofthe advisory examining committee a 1st-authored manuscript describing the Thesis Research that has beensubmitted or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal may substituted for the Thesis document andsatisfy the Thesis requirement for earning the Master’s Degree. The primary grounds for denying approval for this
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook11alternative would be instances in which the student has received substantive collaborative contributions to thewriting of the submitted/accepted manuscript.4) Master’s Thesis Defense and Examination:The Master’s defense starts with a public one-hour talk on the applicant’s research given to faculty and graduatestudents in the program and the committee. This talk should be treated as a “job talk” in which the studenthighlights the importance and significance of the work for an informed but general audience. Following thispresentation, the committee meets with the student for the oral exam during which tie the student is questionedabout the theoretical and empirical approaches and implications of their thesis research. The satisfaction of thisrequirement to earn the Master’s degree depends on the unanimous approval of the advisory-examiningcommittee.Upon completion of the above requirements, students must apply for graduation and submit the necessarydocuments to the Graduate School in order to receive the degree,.Recommended Timeline for Satisfying the Master’s Degree in 2-YearsThe table below provides an example of a typical two-year curriculum that would satisfy the requirements of theMaster’s Degree within a 2-year timeframe.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook12DOCTORAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTSIn order to earn a Ph.D. through the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program, students must complete1)2)3)4)5)6)Satisfy all the requirements of the Master’s DegreeRequired CourseworkThe Ph.D. Comprehensive ExamA research project that is written in the form of a DissertationA defense of the Dissertation Research in a public talk and private oral exam.The publication of at least one 1st authored peer-reviewed manuscriptUpon completion of these requirements the students must submit the necessary paperwork with the UNR graduateschool.1) Satisfying all the requirements of the Master’s Degree:For the Ph.D. Degree, students are required to have obtained a Masters Degree either from the University ofNevada, or upon approval of the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Director, another accredited institution. Prospectiveand current Ph.D. students should carefully review the Master’s requirements detailed above.2) Required Coursework:A minimum of 72 credits is required for the Ph.D. Degree (courses with grades of “C” or lower will not be counted).At least 48 of these credits must be in course work as approved by the student’s advisory-examining committee andthe Cognitive and Brain Sciences Program Director. Students are required to take 24 credits for dissertation research(Psy 799). A student may apply up to 24 credits with grades of B or better from post-baccalaureate graduate studiesin Psychology toward the doctoral degree. A minimum of 30 of the 48 credits of course work must be at the 700level. Since not all 600-level psychology graduate courses will be accepted for the M.A. or Ph.D. degrees, studentsneed advance approval for any 600-level courses taken in psychology, and for any graduate courses taken in relateddisciplines outside of psychology. The advance approval must come from the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Programfaculty. As noted above, students may also be required to complete a 3 credit course in teaching skills offeredthrough the Excellence in Teaching Program. These credits cannot be used toward the 72 credit requirement for thePh.D. degree in the program. However, students may register for Graduate Research (Psy 752) with a maximum of 6credits and Individual Reading (755), with a maximum of 9 credits. These credits can be used to fulfill degreerequirements.3) The Ph.D. qualifying examThere is no separate exam to qualify for candidacy to the doctoral degree. In order to satisfy this requirement,students must pass the Master’s Comprehensive Exam with a minimum average score of 3.0. Thus, for a studententering the program with a Master’s degree, passing the Master’s Comprehensive Exam with a minimum averagescore of 3.0 qualifies them for candidacy to the doctoral degree. For a student entering the program without aMaster’s degree, passing the Master’s Comprehensive Exam with a minimum average score of 3.0, both satisfies therequirement to earn the Master’s degree and qualifies them for candidacy to the doctoral degree.
Cognitive and Brain Sciences Handbook134) The DissertationDissertation Research is overseen by a advisory-examining committee made up of at least five members of the UNRgraduate faculty: the committee Chair (advisor), at least two graduate faculty members from Psychology, at leastone graduate faculty member in a field related to the student’s major area of concentration, and at least onegraduate faculty member representing the University “at large.” This committee must approve the student’sprogram of studies, accept the proposal for the dissertation, and conduct the final oral examination. Doctoraldissertations involving either human subjects or animals must be approved by the Institutional Review Board at theUniversity of Nevada, Reno prior to the collection of data of any kind. This approval is contingent upon the approvalof the student’s dissertation proposal.Dissertation proposals will be in the form of the research proposal portion of an NIH grant application (e.g. NRSA)and should include a literature review and discussion of the proposed research questions and the methods anddesign that will be used to address them. There are no page limitations to the proposal. Proposals must be defendedin a one-hour public talk and private oral examination and approved by the student’s PhD committee prior to thestart of data collection and at least one semester prior to the date of the final defense of the dissertation.The completed dissertation consists of a written document describing the background and significance, methodsand analyses, results and discussion of the dissertation project and must be formatted as required by the GraduateSchool. The dissertation can include published or submitted papers in peer-reviewed journal articles as chapters.The contents of the written dissertation must be drawn from the dissertation proposal. Satisfaction of thisrequirement requires the unanimous approval of the dissertation advisory committee, which is typically grantedfollowing the Dissertation Defense and Oral Examination.5) The Dissertation Defense and oral examinationThe dissertation defense shall be in the form of a one-hour talk that is open to the public. The student must submit adraft of the written dissertation to their advisory-committee at least two weeks prior to the defense. It is thestudent’s obligation to post a department-wide notice of the defense two weeks prior to its occurrence. After thepublic presentation, the student and the committee will convene for the oral examination, which will consist of aquestion period and evaluation. Satisfaction of this requirement requires the unanimous approval of the dissertationadvisory committee and typically requires revision to the Dissertation.Dissertation proposal meetings and defenses may not be conducted in the absence of a member of the dissertationcommittee without prior approval of the committee members.6) The publication of at least one 1st authored peer-reviewed manuscriptIn order to satisfy the requirements of the Ph.D. program, the student must have published a 1st authored peerreviewed manuscript in an area-appropriate journal during their time in the CBS program. While commonly the case,the manu
The University of Nevada, Reno is a fully accredited, doctoral degree granting institution, serving approximately 22,000 students in nearly 70 graduate and over 140 undergraduate degree programs. DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY The Department of Psychology is made up of three doctoral degree