Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences PhD

Major: Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 91.0 (PhD)
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 42.2799
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:
19-3031; 19-3032; 19-3039

About the Program

The Department of Psychological and Brain Science's program in Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences (ACBS) is a research-oriented, non-clinical program in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The program places emphasis on psychological questions of real-world significance, grounded in fundamental issues and rigorous methods of basic science.

Additional Information

Please visit the ACBS program website for more information on the ACBS program and the Department of Psychological and Brain Science's website for details on the PhD program requirements. 

Admission Requirements

Drexel University is seeking applicants with a strong academic record, as evidenced by their GRE scores (a quantitative plus verbal sum of 1250 or greater is desirable), strength of undergraduate institution, and GPA (3.5 or greater is preferred). In addition, applicants should have outstanding letters of recommendation (from doctoral-level academic, research-oriented psychologists, if possible), high-quality research experience, and include a statement of purpose that convinces Drexel that a potential student is an excellent match for one or more of our research groups.

Additional Information

For more details on how to apply to this program, please visit the Graduate Admissions Psychology page.

Degree Requirements

The PhD program curriculum requires students to earn a minimum of 91.0 credits. Students completing the Applied Cognitive and Brain Science program take all or most of their core courses within the first two years. The third and fourth years, following the receipt of the master’s degree, successful passing of the qualifying examinations, and advancement to doctoral candidacy, will be spent in enrichment or specialization courses negotiated with their research supervisor and in research activities.

Program Requirements

Required courses
PSY 530Neuroanatomy and Behavior3.0
GRAD T580Special Topics1.0
PSY 709Data Analysis in Psychology I3.0
PSY 710Data Analysis in Psychology II3.0
PSY 711Data Analysis in Psychology III3.0
PSY 810Behavioral Data Mining *3.0
or PSY 811 Multilevel Regression
PSY 812Cognitive Neuroscience3.0
Topics course15.0-21.0
Current Topics in Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences **
PSY electives21.0
Master's thesis ***9.0-27.0
Master's Thesis in Psychology
Dissertation credits27.0-45.0
Ph.D. Dissertation in Psychology
Total Credits91.0-133.0

Or any other statistics course approved by the program director.


This is a required course for all ACBS students every single term the class is offered, regardless of a student's year in the program. If PSY 600 is offered any given term, ACBS students are required to take it.


The actual number of credits required will vary dependent upon student's thesis and research topic.

Sample PSY electives
PSY 512Cognitive Psychology3.0
PSY 516Developmental Psychology3.0
PSY 601Introduction to Data Science for Psychology1.0
PSY 615Judgment & Decision-making3.0
PSY 616Motivation and Emotion3.0
PSY 712History and Systems3.0
PSY 809Statistical Programming and Modeling with R for Psychology3.0
PSY 814Neuroimaging & Physiology of Behavior3.0
PSY I899Independent Study in PSY3.0-12.0
PSY I999Independent Study in PSY3.0-12.0

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
GRAD T5801.0PSY 5303.0PSY 7113.0VACATION
PSY 6003.0PSY 6003.0PSY Electives6.0 
PSY 7093.0PSY 7103.0  
PSY 8123.0   
 10 9 9 0
Second Year
PSY 810 or 811*3.0PSY 8983.0PSY 6003.0VACATION
PSY Electives6.0PSY Electives6.0PSY 8986.0 
 9 9 9 0
Third Year
PSY 6003.0PSY 9986.0PSY 9989.0VACATION
PSY 9986.0PSY electives3.0  
 9 9 9 0
Fourth Year
PSY 6003.0   
PSY 9986.0   
Total Credits 91

Or any other statistics course approved by the program director.

In years four and five, students continue to register for 9.0 credits of PSY 998 (or 3.0 credits of PSY 600 and 6.0 credits of PSY 998 in terms when PSY 600 is offered) each Fall, Winter, and Spring Term until the completion of program requirements, including successful defense of the dissertation.

Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences Faculty

Evangelia Chrysikou, PhD (Temple University) Director, PhD Program in Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Associate Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, neural basis of language, memory, and executive functions, neurocognitive processes associated with problem solving and flexible thought
John Kounios, PhD (University of Michigan) Director, PhD Program in Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, especially creativity, problem solving, and cognitive enhancement.
Aaron Kucyi, PhD (York University). Assistant Professor. Brain networks, mental health, spontaneous thought, attention, experience sampling, fMRI, intracranial EEG.
Michael Lowe, PhD (Boston College). Professor. Prevention and treatment of eating disorders and obesity; effects of appetitive responsiveness and dietary restraint on eating regulation; psychobiology of obesity-proneness; empirical foundations of unconscious processes.
John Medaglia, PhD (The Pennsylvania State University). Associate Professor. Applying models and methods developed in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience and graph theory to understand and treat brain dysfunction and enhance healthy functioning
Nancy Raitano Lee, PhD (University of Denver). Associate Professor. Neuropsychological and neuroanatomic correlates of intellectual and developmental disabilities; Verbal memory and language difficulties in Down syndrome and other genetic disorders; Comorbid autism spectrum disorder symptoms in youth with genetic disorders; Neuroanatomic correlates of individual differences in typical and atypical cognition
Maria Schultheis, PhD (Drexel University). Professor. Clinical Neuropsychology and rehabilitation following neurological compromise (brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis), application of technologies in psychology. Specialization in the use of virtual reality (VR) simulation, and evaluation of the demands of driving after disability.
Patricia A. Shewokis, PhD (University of Georgia). Professor. Roles of cognition and motor function during motor skill learning; role of information feedback frequency on the memory of motor skills, noninvasive neural imaging techniques of functional near infrared spectroscopy(fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) and methodology and research design.
Alexa Tompary, PhD (University of New York). Assistant Professor. Neural bases of episodic memory and conceptual knowledge, systems memory consolidation theories, functional neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Fengqing (Zoe) Zhang, PhD (Northwestern University). Associate Professor. Neuroimaging data analysis; Data mining; Bayesian inference; High dimensional data analysis
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