Behavior + Biology

Studying the behavior of living creatures has long been a matter of observation and extrapolation. While still maintaining objectivity, the discipline of behavioral psychology lacked the same objective data as other sciences. But significant advancements in biology have given new insights to how the mind works because neuroscientists now understand more about how the brain works.

Neuroscience is the nexus of two distinct disciplines: psychology and biology. Students in the Behavioral Neuroscience program at Carlow University will combine behavioral psychology studies with a solid understanding of the biological mechanisms of the nervous system.

It Just Makes Sense

Carlow offers a unique neuroscience education, one that is hands-on and learner-centered, that embraces a high-touch approach, that employs high impact educational practices (labs, internships, and field work), and that takes advantage of Carlow’s relationships with nearby research centers.

Carlow's behavioral neuroscience major is a great way to be pre-med, pre-dental, and pre-pharmacy. 

Thinking about med school?  Becoming a dentist?  How about a career in pharmacy? A behavioral neuroscience degree is a great place to start, and our agreement with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine makes it even easier.

Carlow University offers two distinct paths in the neuroscience discipline: a neuroscience concentration and a neuropsychology concentration.


If you’re interested in psychology but have a particular fascination with the biology of the brain, the Neuroscience Concentration is right for you. Carlow is uniquely situated in the “Eds, Meds & Tech” corridor and enjoys strong connections to local hospitals and laboratories. Graduates are well-prepared for careers in medicine and research.


You want to be a counselor or behaviorist, but you would also like to learn more about the biological sciences, then the Neuropsychology Concentration might be what you need. Carlow has a psychology faculty like none other, with in-house counseling tracks and a broad focus on social justice. Neuropsychology graduates frequently find success in counseling and behavioral research settings.


Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience

Course Requirements: 59 - 61 credits
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Locations: Main Oakland Campus

Notable Courses

BIO 250: Genetics 

Investigate the maintenance, inheritance, transfer, and expression of genetic information at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels. You will also study Mendelian genetics, bacterial genetics, the structure and function of chromosomes and genes, recombination and mutation, the control of gene expression, and population genetics. This course also provides a brief introduction to genetic engineering and biotechnology. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week.

PY 280: Cognitive Psychology

Explore the basic concepts and contemporary topics in cognitive psychology. You will cover perception, attention, pattern recognition, consciousness, memory, the representation of knowledge, language, cognitive development, thinking, artificial intelligence, and more. Traditionally, cognitive psychologists have studied these topics without full consideration of the biological mechanisms underlying each of these areas. In this course we will also examine the current research from within the area of cognitive neuroscience for a better understanding of the role these biological mechanisms play in cognition.

note: this is just a small sample of the variety of classes you'll be taking. for more details about these classes and more, please visit the Course Catalog section of our website. 

If you'd like to learn more about our Behavioral Neuroscience programs, let us know!



Stephanie Wilsey, PhD
Program Director, Behavioral Neuroscience
Associate Professor, Psychology
Co-chair, Undergraduate Psychology Program

Stephanie Wilsey received her PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology with a Quantitative Research minor at the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches in all three psychology programs (undergraduate psychology, masters in professional counseling, and PsyD) at Carlow in the areas of developmental psychology, statistics, research methods, and community psychology, and helped design the curriculum for the Behavioral Neuroscience major and minor. Her research focuses on emerging adults in educational settings.  Recent research topics include: specific academic and personal benefits of experiential learning, student-community collaborations via living-learning communities, and college students and work-life integration. 

Stephen Borecky, PhD
Professor, Biology
Director, Carlow/UPMC Perfusion Technology Program

Stephen Borecky teaches anatomy and physiology, organismal biology, gross anatomy, and comparative anatomy. His bachelor's degree and doctorate in biology are both from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently involved in projects designed to improve the teaching of human anatomy and physiology. He and his students in gross anatomy prepare cadaver organs for inclusion in the collection maintained at the University. He is also working on projects to develop a library of comprehensive digital anatomical images to aid students in his human anatomy class. The development of a Web-based format for the library will allow students access to anatomical information at any time or from any computer site.

Clara Cheng, PhD
Associate Professor
Co-Chair, Undergraduate Psychology

Clara Cheng received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and her master's and doctoral degrees in social psychology from The Ohio State University. Her research interests include social cognition, automaticity, nonconscious processes, and mindfulness. Dr. Cheng teaches courses in introduction to psychology, social psychology, and statistics, and she serves as the faculty advisor for the Psi Chi International Honor Society.

Monique L. (Shumaker) Hockman, PhD

Monique Hockman earned her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a trained physical/analytical chemist and teaches general physics and analytical chemistry. Her latest research project involves the development and implementation of Reusable Learning Modules (RLM) which contain reusable learning objects (RLOs) such as videos of example problems, videos of demonstrations, and narrated power points along with built in assessment for all the topics covered in General Chemistry I and II.  Students access these materials remotely or in the Carlow's STEM Digital Learning Lab. She is the recipient of Carlow's Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence.

Melanie Kautzman-East, PhD
Assistant Professor, Professional Counseling
Clinical Coordinator, Psychology

Melanie Kautzman-East received her Master of Science in Education in Community and College Counseling at Youngstown State University and her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision through the University of Akron.  She has experience working in home-based counseling, adult outpatient counseling, and in an integrated health care setting.  Her research interests include professional advocacy, counselor supervision, dispositional competence, social justice, and integrative healthcare.  

Jennifer Roth, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Co-Director, Honors Program

Jennifer Roth has studied human thinking (cognition) for nearly 20 years, beginning in a brain imaging research lab at Carnegie Mellon University after completing her undergraduate degree in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. She continued studying human working memory in her doctoral program at Johns Hopkins. In her postdoctoral work at Yale Medical School she conducted experiments on people with schizophrenia and people without any disorders. At Carlow she runs a student research lab examining the effects of lifestyle choices such as drinking, sleep, exercise, and challenging thinking tasks on a person's ability to think on a basic level. She and a student recently presented this work at an international conference in Boston.