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The Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University

Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour

Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour is the scientific study of brain and behaviour. It covers topics from perception (how we see objects, process speed, hear music); to cognition (how we think); to emotion and social behaviour (how we feel, how we interact with others); to psychopathology (how and why behaviours sometimes go wrong); to development and evolution (how organisms develop in various domains, the role of genetics in development, the role of environment), how the brain develops and how experience influences its development.

Areas of Research

  • Systems & Behavioural Neuroscience
  • Music Cognition
  • Cognition & Perception
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Evolution & Social Behaviour

Applying to the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB) Program

All Social Sciences students start in the Level 1 program. You will apply for the PNB program at the end of your first year. For students interested in pursuing PNB Honours B.A., SBI4U and MHF4U or MCV4U are strongly recommended.

  • PNB Honours B.A.
    Enrolment in all PNB Honours academic plans is limited and possession of the published minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Selection is based on academic achievement but requires, as a minimum, completion of any Level 1 program with a Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C ), a grade of at least 7.0 (B-) in PSYCH 1XX3 (completion of PSYCH 1X03 or 1F03 recommended in Level 1); credit in one of BIOLOGY 1A03, 1M03, 1P03, or Grade 12 Bio U; and credit in MATH 1A03, 1LS3 or MATH 1M03.

PNB Website

Other PNB Programs

  • PNB Honours B.A. (with specializations in Mental Health and Music Cognition)
    Satisfaction of admission requirements for the PNB Honours B.A. program.  In addition, the Music Cognition Specialization requires 3 units from MUSIC 1A03 or 1AA3, and requires Advanced Rudiments (or Grade 2 Rudiments) from the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) (with a grade of at least 80% within the last two years), or MUSIC 1C03 (with a grade of at least 75%) or a grade of at least 65% on a qualifying music theory exam administered by McMaster’s School of the Arts (SOTA).

  • Combined Honours B.A.  in PNB  &  Another Subject
    Satisfaction of admission requirements for the PNB Honours B.A. program and in the other Honours B.A. subject.

  • Minor in Psychology
    A minor in Psychology requires 24 units which must include Psych 1X03 or 1F03, and 6 units of Level 3 Psychology courses.

  • For more information about the Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour program, check out the undergraduate calendar and visit the Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour website

PNB Website

Compare Psychology Programs

The study of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour can be completed at McMaster University through either the Faculty of Social Sciences or the Faculty of Science. The programs offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences (B.A. programs) are for students more interested in fields that focus on the psychological aspects of human behaviour.

The programs offered by the Faculty of Science (B.Sc.) are for students more interested in the natural sciences and in studying the link between the brain and behaviour.

An Honours B.A. in Social Psychology is for students more interested in individual traits and attitudes and social life. Students pursuing any one of these Honours B.A. or 3-year B.A. degrees may combine their studies with an Affiliated Certificate in Business Studies, Leadership and Management for the Not-for-Profit Sector, or Applied Behaviour Analysis (with an autism focus).

Compare the different degrees offered by the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (PNB) and the Social Psychology program.

Compare Psychology B.A. Programs

Build Your Skills

Program Highlights

  • The Introductory Psychology courses use a blended learning environment combining online learning technology with traditional face-to-face instruction.
  • McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM) features the Live Interactive Virtual Environment (LIVE) Auditory Laboratory – a unique research-based performance theatre and testing centre to be housed in the Psychology Building.
  • The Mental Health Specialization was developed to meet the changing academic and career demands in the field of psychology, and to prepare our undergraduates for graduate and professional training in the area of mental health. Students in this program have one-on-one mentorship opportunities with an applied placement in Year 3, and a thesis in Year 4. Students graduate with a scientific background, extensive experience, and a full understanding of the evolution of mental health.
  • PNB students have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning and can gain individual research experience while earning course credits with: Independent Lab courses (available in Levels 2, 3, 4), Field Placement Practicum course (Level 3) and Thesis course (Level 4).


Graduates leave the program with strong writing, analytical, people and research skills. Other skills you will acquire during your time at McMaster include:

  • Analysis and interpretation of information and the ability to critically evaluate it
  • Written and spoken communication skills shown through written work, presentations and informed debate
  • IT skills demonstrated by the presentation of projects and thesis work and through training in research methods and analysis
  • Teamwork through project work carried out in groups
  • Problem solving skills developed by regular analysis of case studies and developing strategies to deal with key issues that arise
  • Decision making skills evident through evaluation of course, research and dissertation topic choices

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Law
  • Speech
  • Hearing pathology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Forensics
  • Business
  • Teaching
  • Environmental and biomedical research

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