What is Biopsychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Biopsychologists are concerned with those biological, cognitive, and social factors that influence how humans and other animals function within their environments. Biopsychology at UCSB is a laboratory science that is grounded in experimental research methods and statistics.

At UCSB, the Biopsychology major is for students interested in an intensive study of the relationship between brain function and behavior. The major requires completion of upper-division courses in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, biochemical, endocrine, and pharmacological regulations in the central nervous system, and the behavioral and psychological data related to these topics.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Biopsychology?

Students who enter this field of profession are very people oriented, naturally inquisitive and curious about human patterns of behavior and of the way the mind works. Biopsychology gives the students answers to questions they have about themselves and others, but its appeal goes beyond this.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

Experimental Psychology

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Biopsychology majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. The Biopsychology major prepares students for careers in laboratory research or practices in health-related sciences, especially those involving central nervous system function. Biopsychology students find immediate employment as laboratory technicians and research assistants. Biopsychology students also are prepared for advanced work leading to the Ph.D. and MD degrees. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Behavioral Management
Personnel Training
Pharmaceutical Testing
Psychological Testing
Behavioral Research
Psychiatric Social Work
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn


Graduate and Professional Schools  
This site offers the ability to search for programs and for rankings.

Graduate Programs in Biopsychology
Lots of great articles and general resources for those seeking advice in Biopsychology graduate programs.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Experience Search Strategies

APA job database
Search for jobs nationally and internationally.

APS Employment Network  
The Association for Psychological Sciences job board.

Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers
The information contained on this web site is for use by psychology intern applicants, psychology interns, psychology post docs, trainers of psychologists, and psychology faculty members.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.


Professional Associations

American Psychological Association
The Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology division of the APA is devoted to studying the biology of behavior.

International Behavioral Neuroscience Society
The International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) was formed to encourage research and education in the field of behavioral neuroscience

Society for Neuroscience
The Society’s primary mission is to advance the understanding of the brain and the nervous system.

UCSB Resources