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Biopsychology Admissions

Overview of the program: The Ph.D. Program in Biopsychology is strongly research-oriented. Graduate students typically enter our program to work with a specific mentor or mentors, and then engage in a course of study focused on either behavioral neuroscience, or the evolution of behavior. In the first year, students take foundational classes (see Biopsychology Curriculum) and initiate a research project in collaboration with their faculty mentors. During the second year, they continue their research and present the results of their preliminary project to the area. To progress to candidacy, students complete a preliminary examination, typically at the end of their second year. Graduate students in our program are further supported by their mentoring network, including an initial advisory committee at the start of graduate school, and later the dissertation committee after progressing to candidacy. Students are encouraged to engage in relevant training experiences outside their home lab and/or cross-cutting both behavioral neuroscience and evolutionary approaches. This includes collaborative work with secondary mentors in Psychology, or across other units and departments associated with our area.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI):
The Department of Psychology is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the area level, the departmental level, and the university level.

Psychology DEI


The application process:
 All applications to the Biopsychology graduate program go through the Rackham Graduate School Online Application for the Department of Psychology at University of Michigan. To apply to our area, you should be sure to list Biopsychology as the subplan in the Psychology Application. Please note that GRE scores are NOT required for the Biopsychology program application, and find information about how to apply for an application fee waiver hereFinally, you can also find more detailed information about specific steps in the application process for the Department of Psychology as a whole here.

Finding a mentor:
 Graduate students in our program typically apply to work with a specific mentor or mentors. Your interests may overlap with multiple faculty members in the Biopsychology area, and you are encouraged to list multiple potential mentors in your application. Note that all applications are reviewed holistically by the applications committee. Prospective students are encouraged to directly reach out to relevant faculty members to assess research interests, relevant prior experiences, and fit when applying. Individual faculty often have laboratory websites that can be an excellent source of information about their current research focus. Funding packages for admitted PhD students are for the individual student (e.g., not tied to a specific mentor or laboratory) and therefore allows for flexibility as admitted students explore different research interests in our area. Please see below for more details about the Biopsychology funding package.

Biopsychology Research Labs

Tips for your application:

  • Academic Statement of Purpose: We encourage you to use the Statement of Purpose to tell us about your previous educational and research experiences, how these experiences shaped your interests and path to graduate school, and finally what ‘big picture’ questions are you interested in addressing during your PhD and how you might do so. Remember that this is just a proposal: you are not committed to following the exact research plan you describe. Rather, use this to explain your interests and describe a potential starting point for your graduate studies and intellectual interests. This will include indicating how your interests may tie into work ongoing across various labs in the Biopsychology Area.
  • Eligibility and Funding: Domestic, international, and undocumented students are all eligible for any degree program at the University of Michigan. Domestic, international, and undocumented students with DACA status admitted to the program receive full financial support from the department’s funding package, consisting of 5 years of funding comprising semesters supported by a mixture of both fellowship and graduate student instruction (GSI) positions. Undocumented students without DACA status are eligible for some portions of this package; please refer to the Rackham Graduate School for more detailed information concerning the application process and funding for undocumented students.
  • Rackham Merit Fellowships: Prospective graduate students to our program can also indicate on their application if they are eligible for a Rackham Merit Fellowship, a program administered by the graduate school to support academic excellence and inclusiveness. (Please note that these fellowships are tailored to specific departments; selected students will be notified of the Psychology-specific plans and benefits).