Life Sciences (CNEP)

The Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology (CNEP) Track in Psychology


The Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology Track (commonly known as the CNEP Track) in Psychology is one of the options available in the Life Sciences Cluster of concentrations, which was formed to encourage interdisciplinary research and study in cutting-edge life science areas. In psychology, this can take many forms, for example:

  • 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
  • Examining a rat model of an autism-spectrum disorder to better understand what may be going on in children with this disorder
  • ...and much more!

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, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology). You can examine the list of approved related Life Science courses here. This track differs from the MBB Track 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 thesis and non-thesis options.

Course Sequence Recommended for Students Considering the CNEP Track

Complete requirements can be found in the "Life Sciences Track" column of the Requirements Chart

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

PSY 1 (Fall or Spring)

PSY 975 (Spring; or 971 in the Fall)

Choose one of:

Fall: LS 1A, LS 50A or LPS A*

Spring: LS 1B or LS 50B

Research Methods:
PSY 1901 (Fall or Spring)

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.


First-year students should enroll in one of the following courses:  LS 1A or LPS A (offered in the Fall & depending on progress), LS 1B (offered in the spring), or LS 50 (spans two semesters). Students in the CNEP Track are required to take one of these courses, but may count more than one toward concentration requirements. Ideally, students will also take the Introductory Course by the end of their first 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)
  • PSY 18, Psychopathology

Students should try to take at least one of the two required Foundational Courses by the end of their sophomore year.

In the third or fourth semester, students should enroll in PSY 975, Contemporary Issues in Psychology (Sophomore Tutorial) and the required Research Methods course, PSY 1901, Methods of Behavioral Research. If you find yourself with space in your schedule, you can also get a head start on fulfilling the Statistics requirement by taking PSY 1900, Intro to Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences.

Students should consult with our Pre-Concentration Advising or with a Concentration Advisor for more guidance beyond the second year.

If you're interested in pursuing research during your time as a concentrator, you can read more about how to get involved on the Life Sciences website.