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Director of Graduate Studies:

Amy Marshall

For information on
The Graduate Program
please contact Sherri Gilliland
(814) 863-1721


Graduate Office
Department of Psychology 
140E Moore Building 
The Pennsylvania State University 
University Park, PA 16802-3106

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You are here: Home / Graduate / Program Areas / Cross-Cutting Program Initiatives / Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)

Co-recipient of the inaugural American Psychological Association's Award for Innovative Practices in Graduate Education

"There is much to commend this program, we were particularly struck by the manner in which this program maintains the unity of Psychology as a discipline along a dimension that is all too often a fault line." --APA Bureau of Education Affairs


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The specialization in cognitive and affective neuroscience (SCAN) is a department-wide effort to integrate the study of brain and behavior by infusing neuroscience throughout the traditional areas of psychology. This approach recognizes the rapidly growing connections between psychology and neuroscience. Students will be admitted to one of the traditional substantive areas of the Psychology Department - clinical (child or adult), cognitive, developmental, industrial-organizational, or social psychology - and augment their work in that area with coursework and research training in molecular, cellular, or systems-level neuroscience. For more information regarding the requirements of SCAN, please contact the SCAN coordinator, Stephen Wilson at . Please note that prospective graduate students should apply to one of the areas of the department (cognitive, clinical, I/O, social, clinical). Once on campus, they can become part of the SCAN program. There is no application to SCAN before becoming an enrolled graduate student in the psychology department.

Modern approaches to brain-behavior research are interdisciplinary, and the specialization in cognitive and affective neuroscience offers training that reflects this vibrant dynamic. Students taking part in the specialization will have the opportunity to pursue cross-disciplinary work with faculty in other areas of the Psychology Department and in other departments of the University, including biology, kinesiology, biobehavioral health, and human development. In addition, students can take advantage of university-wide neuroscience activities, both here at University Park and at the College of Medicine in Hershey.

As with the other programs in the department, students will work with one or more faculty advisers to develop an individualized program of study. Faculty and students taking part in the specialization will also participate in a weekly seminar that provides opportunities to discuss ongoing research. Graduates of the program will be prepared to enter research and teaching positions in university or college settings, or to work in applied research organizations.

People of SCAN

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The SCAN faculty is composed of scientists bridging four core areas of Psychology. To learn more about each area, click on the area name. To learn more about a specific faculty member, click on his or her name.


AXONS Graduate Student Group

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AXONS is a venue for graduate students within the Department of Psychology at Penn State to meet other researchers pursuing questions on the brain and behavior. We provide an organized peer group and an informational resource to support graduate students who are interested in learning from interdisciplinary approaches in neuroscience. We organize bi-annual social networking events during which we welcome students from various research backgrounds to get to know one another. Additionally, regularly participate in educational service events to disseminate neuroscience knowledge to the community. Interested students should contact the current board leader, Sara Troutman (

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