Combining coursework in biology, neurobiology and psychology, our interdisciplinary Biopsychology AOC is designed for students who are interested in studying whole organisms and learning how behavior, physiology, sensory systems, learning, cognition and communication develop and interact in humans and other animals.
Students who are interested in studying whole organisms often want to learn about many aspects of those organisms including behavior, physiology, sensory systems, learning, cognition, neuroscience, communication, etc. Because these areas of focus occur in both biology and psychology and animal model systems are used by both biologists and psychologists in research, students pursuing this interdisciplinary AOC integrate work across these disciplines. Common paths for students who graduate in this area include animal training, veterinary school, graduate school in biology or psychology, zoo or aquarium technicians or managers, animal lab technicians, and medical school.
Typically, a student concentrating in Biopsychology emphasizes biology or psychology but takes a significant number of courses in the second discipline. Core courses include General Biology, Introductory Psychology, Animal Behavior, Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, and Biological Psychology after which students can select among advanced classes in Animal Learning, Comparative Cognition, Sensation and Perception, Neurobiology, Neuroanatomy, Coral Reef Ecology, and more.
All students should also take a lab or methods course that provides them with the skills to work with their thesis sponsor; most students take labs in both disciplines. Labs offered in biology include Animal Behavior, Neurobiology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Neuroanatomy; labs offered in psychology include Comparative Cognition, Introduction to Comparative Cognition, and Animal Behavior Processes. Most students also participate in internships. Other courses reflect a student’s specific interests and are determined in consultation with the Biopsychology faculty
Due to the strength of New College’s programs in the marine sciences and animal psychology, our Biopsychology AOC is a particularly good fit for students who are interested in veterinary medicine or graduate school in either biology or psychology. It is also popular with students interested in becoming zoo or aquarium technicians or managers, animal lab technicians, and for students who plan to attend medical school.
The strength of New Colleges’ faculty in psychology, biology and neurobiology, our waterfront location on the Gulf of Mexico, and our close proximity to several leading conservation and research institutions combine to create an ideal learning environment for students interested in Biopsychology.
Faculty within the program are all experts in their fields, whose research has been featured in a wide variety of academic journals and publications, like Science, as well as in such popular media as the New York Times and CNN. As importantly, they are all expert teachers and mentors who are there to help you with questions about graduate school preparation, internship and research opportunities, and recommendations for careers that would be a good fit for your interests and skills. And because they get to know you as a person, not just as a student in class, they can write the type of detailed letters of recommendation that graduate schools and employers seek.
Our faculty also regularly engage students as assistants in their research, both locally and internationally, giving you the opportunity to help collect data, analyze findings, and even earn co-authorships in academic articles. One of our faculty is among the world’s leading experts on dolphin cognition, while another is equally recognized for his research on hearing and behavior in manatees, dolphins, loggerhead turtles and humpback whales. Still others are experts in the fields of neurobiology, coral reef ecology, oceanography, and the behaviors and interactions of both terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.
Students in our Biopsychology program also benefit from New College’s close proximity and professional partnerships with leading conservation and research organizations like Mote Marine Laboratory, the Roskamp Institute and the Lemur Conservation Foundation. Mote is one of the nation’s leading oceanographic research facilities, while the Roskamp Institute is quickly gaining recognition as a leader in understanding the causes and finding cures for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s Disease. The Lemur Conservation Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of lemurs, the endangered primates indigenous to the island of Madagascar.
In addition to these local resources, Biopsychology students have recently participated in internships and field research with the following regional, national and international organizations: Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC),Vanderbilt Neuroscience Lab, Chimp Haven, Dolphin Research Center, Dolphins Plus, Navy Marine Mammal Program, University of Miami Hearing Lab, University of Miami Touch Lab, and the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Typically, a student concentrating in Biopsychology at New College emphasizes biology or psychology but takes a significant number of courses in the second discipline.
Core courses include General Biology, Introductory Psychology, Animal Behavior, Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, and Biological Psychology after which students can select among advanced classes in Animal Learning, Comparative Cognition, Sensation and Perception, Neurobiology, Neuroanatomy, Coral Reef Ecology, and more.
All students should also take a lab or methods course that provides them with the skills to work with their thesis sponsor. Most students take labs in both disciplines. Labs offered in biology include Animal Behavior, Neurobiology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Neuroanatomy. Labs offered in psychology include Comparative Cognition, Introduction to Comparative Cognition, and Animal Behavior Processes. Besides the above listed courses and labs, many students in Biopsychology, particularly at the advanced level, take additional courses that reflect their specific interests and goals. Such courses are determined in consultation with the students faculty advisor and with Biopsychology faculty.
Most students also participate in internships.
New College offers an extensive number of courses in Biology, Neurobiology and Psychology, many of which are appropriate for students studying Biopsychology. Rather than list those courses here, we encourage you to visit the curriculum pages for each of these disciplines using the links below:
You can also view a complete list of course offerings by semester by clicking here.
Although our Biopsychology program is relatively new, New College is proud of our many graduates in the field. Here is a look at what some of them are up to today:
Sample of Graduate Schools Attended by NCF Students in Biopsychology
Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Biopsychology:
“An Overview of the Psychology and Biology of Schizophrenia” by Rachel Mintz
“Cognition and Memory in the Goldfish (Carassius auratus): A Study Exploring the Novel Serotonin Antagonist, SB-258585” by Nick Mackin
“Optimal Metacontrast Masking of Chromatic Stimuli with and without Luminance Cues” by Beverly Fortner
“Sex and Age-based Differences in the Hunting Behaviors of Schizocosa Spiders (Araneae:Lycosidae)” by Heather Lynn Bunker
“Vocal Productions of Rhythms by the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)” by Sara E. Crowell
“Whistle Production Rates in a Group of Male Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Over Changes in Composition” by Julia H. Orth
“The Identification of Cocaine-Induced Changes in the Human Monocyte Proteome Using Isotope-Coded Affinity Tags” by John W. Phillips
“Human Reproduction” by GeorgAnna Thorpe
“Localization of Relaxin in the Reproductive System of the Male Bonnethead Shark, Sphyrna tiburo” by Cristal Ange
“Qualifying and Quantifying Reintroduction Success: A Discussion of Three Influential Interdisciplinary Criteria” by Danielle Babski
“Tool Use in River Otters (Lutra canadensis)” by Ann Elizabeth Klega
“On the Delayed Maturation of the Adolescent Brain: Cognitive Refinement and Social Development” by Mary Woods
“Studies in Ocular Dominance in Optokinetic Nystagmus” by David Beardslee Schwartz
“Spatial Behavior in the Fish Species, Haemulon plumieri: Laboratory and Field Investigations” by Christin Taylor Murphy
“Chimpanzee Laughter: Are Acoustic Variations Dertermined by Context?” by Nadia Stegeman
Students studying Biopsychology at New College enjoy a wealth of on and off-campus resources to augment their academic program. These include discipline-specific laboratories, advanced software for data analysis, internship and off-campus research opportunities designed to provide real-world, hands-on experience in the field, and study abroad.
The Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center boasts seven research labs and over 100 aquariums, anchored by a 15,000 gallon research and display tank. Each tank in the Living Ecosystem Teaching and Research Aquarium features a different captive ecosystem, several with a camera to send images to a streaming video server. Through a natural filtration system designed by students, the center draws and recycles water from Sarasota Bay. At Pritzker, students and faculty also design outreach programs to engage the local community in the world of science. Learn more.
The 34,000-square-foot Heiser Natural Sciences Complex includes teaching and research labs for chemistry, biology, bioinformatics, computational science, mathematics and physics. Special equipment includes a scanning electron and fluorescent microscopes in biology, a 24-station chemistry teaching lab with transparent fume hoods and sampling equipment for field ecology. The Heiser Natural Sciences Complex is also home to Soo Bong Chae Auditorium, a tiered lecture hall for the natural sciences named after the longtime New College mathematician.
Centrally located on our Bayfront Campus, the Developmental/Social Laboratory includes an observation/testing room with an adjacent computer coding room that are available throughout the year to students in Biopsychology. The observation room can be used for testing individuals or small groups, with or without video recording of the interactions. The adjacent computer room can be used to monitor the activities live via video links on a computer monitor and to code the recorded interactions at a later time. Other rooms in the lab are available for running computerized, survey, or observational studies. Two handheld camcorders and an IP camera are available for video recording, either in the observation room or with laptop computers for offsite recording. A large, central room in the lab is also available for group studies or as a waiting room for research participants.
The New College Comparative Cognition Laboratory (NCCCL) offers resources for students to analyze animal vocalizations and behavior. Although the focus of the lab is on dolphins, students have also studied other species (e.g., manatees, lemurs, and birds) using the lab’s specialized acoustic processing software and video analysis equipment.
In addition to the Developmental/Social Laboratory and the NCCCL, Biopsychology students also have access to a new Social Sciences Research Laboratory in our Academic Center and to a small computer laboratory in Bonseigneur House (the Psychology Building), as well as to general use computer labs on campus.
Advanced Software for Data Analysis
Familiarity with software used in advanced data analysis gives students a leg up when it comes to admission into the nation’s leading graduate programs. At New College, students in our Biopsychology AOC have access to such leading software programs as Interact, an observation software program that allows the interactions to be time stamped with any coding scheme; SuperLab for creating stimulus presentations and measuring reaction times; CLAN and LIWC for coding and analyzing transcripts of social interactions; and SPSS and SAS for statistical analyses.
Internships and Off-Campus Research
Biopsychology students at New College enjoy internship and off-campus study opportunities with some of the region’s and the nation’s top research laboratories and programs. In recent years, our students have completed internships and research at Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC), Vanderbilt Neuroscience Lab, Chimp Haven, Mote Marine Laboratory, Dolphin Research Center, Dolphins Plus, Navy Marine Mammal Program, University of Miami Hearing Lab, University of Miami Touch Lab, Lemur Conservation Foundation, Roskamp Institute, Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Some students participate in faculty programs in Panama and Honduras. Previously students traveled to Finland, Ireland and Germany through a FIPSE exchange program focused on the sciences. There is an MOU with Trier’s Umwelt Campus for exchange of students and faculty. Recently a new MOA opened with the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados for exchange of students and faculty.