Ph.D. Cognition and Neural Systems

MR Image of Human Brain

Cognition and Neural Systems


The Cognition and Neural Systems Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona offers extensive opportunities for those interested in pursuing the study of cognitive, computational, evolutionary and neurophysiological principles underlying human and animal behavior (e.g., perception, emotion, learning and memory, language, movement and spatial orientation).

The curriculum includes collaboration with faculty members on cutting-edge scientific research and participation in seminars and lecture courses that provide a thorough background in current and classic research and theory.

This program reflects the steadily increasing overlap in research interests of cognitive and neural scientists.  Faculty expertise and research interests span levels of analysis ranging from molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience to the highest cognitive processes in humans. State-of-the-art equipment and facilities are available for both human and animal experimentation and computational modeling.


An interactive, multidisciplinary approach is encouraged, including behavioral analysis, mathematical and computer modeling, neurophysiological, neurochemical, and neuroimaging techniques.  Areas of specialization include the study of information encoding and retrieval at the level of neuronal populations, visual cognition, learning, memory, decision making, language, language development, alterations in cognitive functions and their neural substrates that occur in early development, aging, brain damage, and psychopathology, and the application of evolutionary theory to the universal structure of the mind and behavioral differences among individuals.


To train students to conduct research in these and other areas of cognitive, computational and systems neuroscience, to master modern methods in the field, and to think critically about fundamental issues relating mind and brain. Students are strongly encouraged to get experience working in more than one laboratory.

Colloquia and Seminars

The University of Arizona attracts numerous speakers and visiting scholars each year. The Psychology Colloquium Series features approximately 10 or more leading researchers from a broad range of disciplines within psychology. A Cognitive Science Brown Bag Series meets weekly. In the Fall the Master Seminar frequently is given by the same guest speakers as the Cognitive Science Brown Bag. Seminars and colloquia offered by other programs; such as Linguistics, Philosophy, and Neuroscience also attract notable speakers.