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Behavioural Neuroscience (PhD) (Collaborative)

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Ottawa-Carleton Joint Program

The specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience is offered jointly as a collaborative program by the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa and the Institute of Neuroscience (Departments of Psychology and Biology) at Carleton University.

Behavioural Neuroscience is the study of the relation between behaviour and the nervous system. This specialty cuts across many disciplines and incorporates such areas as anatomy, neurobiology, pharmacology, physiology, psychiatry and psychology. While individual researchers usually specialize in a particular area, behavioural neuroscientists must also be able to appreciate significant research in the other relevant fields and therefore require an understanding of the basics of other relevant disciplines.

Training in behavioural neuroscience extends beyond the boundaries of traditional departments. In order to augment the scope of training provided, faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry (Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR), Royal Ottawa Hospital), working in the area of neuroscience, participate in teaching, research training and student supervision. Furthermore, members from various other departments at the University of Ottawa (e.g. Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Department of Biology) may also participate in teaching and research supervision.

Participating Units

The primary participating units are:

  • The Institute of Neuroscience (Departments of Psychology and Biology) at Carleton University;
  • The School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa.
Search all research fields for members of the teaching staff

The professors included in the list below are members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. This means that they are authorized to supervise or co-supervise theses. A complete list of the faculty and staff members associated with the program can be found at

BENNETT, Steffany, Associate Professor
Neuroregeneration; degeneration; apoptosis; stem cells; Gap junctions; Alzheimer's; transgenic mouse models; Regeneration neurale; lipidomique

BIELAJEW, Catherine, Full Professor
Neurobiology of motivation; animal models of depression; gender differences; neuropsychological consequences of breast cancer treatment

CAMPBELL, Kenneth, Full Professor
Human neurophysiological measures of information processing; cognitive activity during loss of consciousness; sleep

CHARTIER, Sylvain, Assistant Professor
Artificial neural networks; cognition and perception; nonlinear time series analysis

DAVIDSON, Patrick, Assistant Professor
Cognitive neuroscience of human memory, executive functions, and emotion; normal aging and age-related disorders (such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases)

DE KONINCK, Joseph-Marie, Emeritus Professor
Sleep and dreams: the study of the psychophysiology of sleep; of biological rythms and of the role of dreams in psychological adaptation; sleep problems

MERALI, Zulfiquar, Cross-appointment
Regulation of ingestive behavior; interactions between stress and the immune system

MESSIER, Claude, Full Professor
Physiology and neuropsychology of memory; interaction between glucose metabolism and memory processes in animals and humans; functional changes produced by memory processing: immunocytochemical detection

PLAMONDON, Hélène, Associate Professor
Characterization of the role of certain peptides and neuroprotective agents involved in cellular and functional (behavioral) recovery following a stroke, elucidation of such mechanisms, using animal models of cerebral ischemia

SMITH, Andra, Assistant Professor
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI); neuroscience; cognition; depression; drugs; mental health

TALER, Vanessa, Associate Professor
Cognition and aging; mild cognitive impairment; dementia, language processing

TREMBLAY, Francois, Cross-appointment
Tactile perception and Manual dexterity; Sensorimotor Aging; Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Admission to the collaborative program in behavioural neuroscience is governed by the general regulations of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute and by the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS).

Candidates must indicate in their admission form that they wish to be accepted in the collaborative program.

All applicants must be able to understand speak and write either English or French proficiently . Applicants whose first language is neither English nor French must provide proof of proficiency in one or the other. The list of acceptable tests is indicated in the “Admission” section of the general regulations of the FGPS.

In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, assignments, examinations, research papers and theses can be produced in either English or French.

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Be admitted in one of the programs participating in the collaborative program of the Institute.
  • Provide at least one letter of recommendation from a professor who is willing and available to act as thesis supervisor.
  • Be sponsored into the collaborative program by a faculty member, normally the thesis supervisor, who must be appointed, cross-appointed or stand as an adjunct at one or more of the participating units. Prior admission to the Ph.D. program of a participating academic unit.

NOTE: The choice of supervisor will determine the primary campus location of the student. It will also determine which university awards the degree.

The student is responsible for fulfilling both the participating unit requirements for the primary program and the requirements for the collaborative program.

The requirements specific to the collaborative program are as follows:

  • 12 credits of graduate courses must be in neuroscience and must include PSY6201 and PSY6202 (or equivalents).
  • Students who completed PSY 6201 at the master's level must complete six additional credits in neuroscience for the PhD.

  • Presentation and defence of a research thesis on a topic in behavioural neuroscience based on original research carried out under the supervision of a faculty member participating in the behavioural neuroscience collaborative program.


As per FGPS regulations, all students must complete a minimum of six sessions of full-time registration at the beginning of the program. All requests for non-consecutive full-time study sessions will need to be approved by the FGPS. The program is intended for full-time students.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 credits), the thesis proposal, or the comprehensive exam or whose research progress is deemed unsatisfactory are required to withdraw.

Outre les cours indiqués ci-dessous, un certain nombre d'autres cours dans le domaine des sciences neurologiques sont offerts par les unités scolaires participantes sur des sujets telles la neuroscience sensorielle, la psychopharmacologie, la neuroscience cognitive, la médecine du comportement et la scintigraphie du cerveau. Il est également possible de suivre des cours pertinents à la neuroscience offerts par la Faculté de médecine de l'Université d'Ottawa.

Les cours offerts peuvent varier d'une année à l'autre. Une liste à jour peut être obtenue auprès des coordonnateurs de la spécialisation. Les cours marqués CU sont offerts à Carleton University et ceux marqués UO le sont à l'Université d'Ottawa. Les cours équivalents sont indiqués entre crochets.

In addition to the courses listed below, a variety of neuroscience related courses are available through the participating academic units on topics including: sensory neuroscience, psychopharmacology, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural medicine and brain imaging. Students may also take relevant courses offered by the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Ottawa. Course offerings vary slightly from year to year; a complete listing can be obtained from the specialization coordinators.

Carleton University course codes are marked (CU) and University of Ottawa courses (UO). Course equivalencies are indicated in square brackets.

Comprehensive neuroscience course from the membrane and the cellular levels through the behavioural aspects of invertebrates and vertebrates. Lectures and tutorials on aspects of neuroscience such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, behavioural neuroscience and neuropharmacology.

Advanced seminar course integrating behavioural analyses with aspects of neural circuits mediating and regulating these behaviours. Prerequisite: Adequacy in background knowledge as assessed by one of the coordinators prior to commencement of course.

Cours de synthèse portant sur l'ensemble de la neuroscience, du niveau membranaire au niveau cellulaire incluant l'étude du comportement des invertébrés et des vertébrés. Cours magistraux et travaux dirigés sur divers aspects de la neuroscience et la neuropharmacologie du comportement.


1. Completion of a research project using new research techniques, under the supervision of participating faculty member(s). [PSYC6204, BIOL6204 (CU)]
Academic Unit Coordinates
School of Psychology
Faculty of Social Sciences
136 Jean-Jacques-Lussier Street
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Tel: 613-562-5799
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