Skip to main content

The Human Neuroscience Graduate Concentration


The Human Neuroscience Graduate Concentration (HNGC) provides integrative training in human neuroscience research approaches across the graduate programs of the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Our primary goal is to train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists who use human neuroscience methods to study topics spanning psychology and neuroscience.

The graduate certificate augments existing program structures in the department. Prospective graduate students apply for admission to the HNGC after being admitted to one of the existing core PhD programs: Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, Quantitative or Social. Students in the HNGC complete an amended PhD curriculum that provides additional training in neuroscience and human neuroscience methods while reducing or reshaping program-specific courses. Their degree is awarded by the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and must satisfy the student’s primary program requirements, amended as detailed below. In addition, all students in the HNGC complete the core courses outlined below and are expected to attend HNGC-related events such as talks or workshops.

Application and Eligibility


Graduate applicants are admitted to an existing UNC Psychology and Neuroscience graduate program by applying to that program in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience through the UNC Graduate School. After being admitted to a UNC Psychology and Neuroscience program, incoming graduate students may apply to the HNGC. The application is primarily intended to formalize: 1) the planned completion dates for formal HNGC coursework, 2) the intention of the graduate student to complete HNGC requirements, 3) the support of the primary mentor and program, and 4) the support of HNG faculty.

Graduate students in any Psychology and Neuroscience program are eligible to complete the HNGC. Importantly, however, the student must be affiliated with a neuroscience-related lab and plan to conduct human neuroscience research as part of their doctoral training. Typically, students who complete the HNGC will work primarily in the lab of a Psychology and Neuroscience HNG faculty member. HNGC students complete the required coursework of their home program and also complete additional HNGC required courses within their first 2 years of PhD training. HNGC electives must be completed within 3 years. In all cases, students should determine their curriculum in consultation with their faculty advisor and as approved by the Program Director of their PhD program and the HNGC faculty.

HNGC Curriculum

Required courses

In addition to courses required of all Psychology and Neuroscience PhD students (PSYC 830 & 831) and any program-specific required courses, HNGC students are required to complete 3 courses in their first 2 years of study:

  1. PSYC 795: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3 credits)
  2. PSYC 420: Functional Neuroanatomy (3 credits) 
  3. One of the following advanced Quantitative Psychology courses (others may be approved on request): 
    1. PSYC 833: Intra-individual Analysis (3 credits)
    2. PSYC 834: Machine Learning (3 credits)
    3. PSYC 840: Computational Statistics (3 credits)
    4. PSYC 845: Longitudinal Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
    5. PSYC 846: Multilevel modeling (3 credits)

Elective courses

HNGC students are also required to complete 9 elective credit hours (typically 3 courses) in the first 3 years of study. These may be chosen from the following list:

  • PSYC 708 The Frontal Lobes (Boettiger)
  • PSYC 738: Neurons to neighborhoods (Sheridan)
  • PSYC 739 Cognitive Neuroscience (Cohen, Giovanello, Hopfinger) [This is one course number but faculty members each teach different versions so this course could be taken more than once.]
  • PSYC 768 Developmental Social Neuroscience (Telzer)
  • PSYC 819: Foundations of Clinical Neuroscience (Hallquist)
  • PSYC 868: Social Psychobiology (Muscatell)
  • PSYC 870: Emotion (Lindquist)
  • PSYC 876 Social Affective Neuroscience (Lindquist)