Life Sciences (CNEP)

Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology (CNEP)


The Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology Track in Psychology is one of the options available in the Life Sciences Cluster of concentrations, which were formed to encourage interdisciplinary research and study in cutting-edge life science areas. In psychology, this can take many forms, including studying the effects of stress hormones on health and behavior, examining the parts of the brain that may be linked to our understanding of others or of moral judgments, or examining a rat model of an autism-spectrum disorder to better understand what may be going on in children with this disorder.

This track allows students to combine coursework in psychology with a substantial number of courses and/or research experiences in other areas of biology (usually Human Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience [formerly Neurobiology], Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; see list of approved related Life Science courses). This track differs from MBB in that its interdisciplinary focus is on the other life science areas, but as a result, it counts more science courses toward concentration credits than MBB, which combines psychology with some basic neuroscience and other interdisciplinary interests such as linguistics, philosophy, computer science, or history of science. In addition, MBB is a thesis-only track, whereas the CNEP Track offers both regular and honors (thesis and non-thesis) options.

Course Sequence Recommendations For Students Considering the CNEP Track

Complete requirements can be found in the requirements chart. Below is a chart of recommended courses for the first two years. Students should consult with our Pre-Concentration Advising or a Concentration Advisor for more guidance detailed advising beyond the second year.

Students who are strongly considering this track should plan on enrolling in the following during their first two years...

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

Psychology 1

PSY 975 (Fall or Spring)

Life Sciences 1A or LPS A*

Life Sciences 1B

Basic Methods (Fall or Spring)
(Generally PSY 1900)

At least one of the following Foundational Courses during first two years: 
PSY 14, PSY 15, PSY 16, PSY 18, or NEURO 80 (formerly MCB 80)**

     *LPS A will not count if taken AFTER LS 1A.
** MCB 81 is no longer offered as of the 2018-19 academic year, but if you have taken it previously, it may still count as a Foundational Course.


Freshmen should enroll in one of: Life Sciences 1A or Life and Physical Sciences A (fall, depending on placement), or Life Sciences 1B in spring. Students in the CNEP track are required to take one of these courses, but may count more than one toward concentration requirements. Ideally, freshmen will also take the Introductory Course by the end of their freshman year. 

Students in this track must take two Foundational Courses. One course must be either PSY 14 or NEURO 80 (MCB 81, if taken before Fall 2018, can count in lieu of NEURO 80). The other course can be any from the following list...

  • PSY 14, Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 15, Social Psychology
  • PSY 16, Developmental Psychology (or SLS 15 if taken previously)
  • PST 18, Abnormal Psychology

Students should try to take at least one of the two required Foundational Courses no later than the end of the sophomore year.

In the third or fourth semester, students ordinarily enroll in PSY 975, Contemporary Issues in Psychology (Sophomore Tutorial) and the required Basic Methods course, PSY 1900, Intro to Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences.

Students can fulfill the Research Methods requirement by taking PSY 1901, Methods of Behavioral Research, OR a lab course. Students can learn more about how to get involved in research on the Life Sciences website. Students who are planning on writing a thesis will need to take PSY 1901 AND a lab course.