Psychological and Neurological Sciences

UCLA neuroscientist Nanthai Suthana models virtual reality glasses used in her research.

How we think, learn and love are all areas of interest to psychological and neurological scientists. If you like the idea of studying the way the human mind and brain work, this field may be where you belong.

Academic Majors and Minors

Here are some of the majors and minors available in this field of study:

Most Popular Majors

  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychobiology
  • Psychology


Intriguing Minors

  • Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience

in the nation for clinical psychology

U.S. News & World Report (2020)

Best Global Universities for neuroscience and behavior

U.S. News & World Report (2022)

in the world for psychology

Academic Ranking of World Universities (2023)

Noteworthy Faculty

Here are just a few of the many professors in this field of study who’ve had a remarkable impact in their area of expertise.

A headshot of Professor Alan Castel

Alan Castel

Professor of Psychology

Castel studies learning, memory and aging and lectures around the world to people of all ages. His new book, Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging, highlights the way memory, aging and wisdom interact throughout one’s life.

A headshot of Professor Adriana Galván

Adriana Galván

Professor of Psychology

An expert in adolescent brain development, Galván’s research has informed public policy in the domains of teenage driving, teenage sleep and juvenile justice. She received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2019.

A headshot of Professor Alicia Izquierdo

Alicia Izquierdo

Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience

With her focus on behavioral neuroscience and learning and behavior, Izquierdo explores the environmental factors that contribute to reward-related decisions. She’s active in national and international organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Notable Alumni

Bruins have achieved great heights in all walks of life — health, sports, entertainment, public service, science and technology, and arts and letters. Here are some alumni in this field of study who have had a noticeable impact on the world.

A headshot of UCLA alum Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik

Neuroscience ’00, Ph.D. ’07

Neuroscientist and actress who played a neuroscientist on The Big Bang Theory

A headshot of UCLA alum Ramani Durvasula

Ramani Durvasula

M.A. ’93, Ph.D. ’97

Licensed clinical psychologist, author and media expert on relationships, sexuality, health and wellness

A headshot of UCLA alum Arthur Janov

Arthur Janov

Political Science ’49, M.S.W. ’51

Psychologist, psychotherapist, writer and creator of primal therapy

Growth Careers in the Field

Here are a few examples of areas where this exciting field of study is growing and developing.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

With increasing emphasis on employing psychological principles to solve problems in the workplace, increase productivity and improve the quality of life, this field is expected to grow 13% by 2028.

Marriage and Family Therapists

Due to the increasing use of integrated care, which is the treatment of multiple problems at one time by a group of specialists that often includes marriage and family therapists, this field is projected to grow 22% by 2031.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors

This field is expected to grow 22% by 2031 due to an increase in the number of people seeking addiction and mental health counseling.

Related Careers

Below, find examples of additional careers related to this field of study:


  • Behavioral Therapist
  • Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists
  • Director of Volunteer Services
  • Health Educator
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Scientist
  • Opinion Survey Researcher
  • Personnel Administrator
  • Psychiatric Assistant
  • Recreation Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Technical Communicator
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor


I chose to study neuroscience as a transfer student because it seemed like a dynamic and challenging forefront in science … I dream of becoming an M.D. Ph.D. and later a neurosurgeon. I’m not entirely sure which medical subspecialty suits me best so I always keep an open mind (no pun intended).

Blaine Eldred, neuroscience major

See What This Field is Like at UCLA

Professor Dan Geschwind smiles along with students in his lab.

Students in the Geschwind Lab are happy to work alongside Dr. Dan Geschwind. The professor of neurology, psychiatry and human genetics is one of the world’s leading experts on autism.

Former neuroscience grad student Don Vaughn smiles outside a neuroscience research center.

While a grad student at UCLA, neuroscientist Don Vaughn, a part-time drummer and DJ, researched how sensory substitution can help rewire the brains of those with neural problems.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Silvers pauses her computer research to smile for a photo.

Jennifer Silvers, an assistant professor of psychology, received the 2019 Biennial Early Career Research Contributions Award. She studies emotional and social changes in childhood and adolescence.

A woman uses Somatomap's 2D manikin to indicate body areas that are regions of concern.

UCLA researchers and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Oklahoma worked together to create Somatomap, an app designed to assess the accuracy of body image perception.

Professor Alan Castel flips through his most recent book.

Professor of Psychology Alan Castel is an expert in memory, attention, cognition and cognitive aging. In his research, he’s studied how people remember, why they forget and how this changes across the lifespan.

Institutes and Research

UCLA offers many resources for deepening your knowledge in your chosen field, including hundreds of research centers, institutes and labs that encourage collaboration across disciplines. Here are a few of the many options in this area:

Brain Research Institute, UCLA

BRI is a catalyst for education, outreach and research collaborations among current and future scientists, engineers and clinicians who seek to understand the healthy and diseased brain.

UCLA Health

Located right on campus, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is ranked the No. 6 hospital in the nation. Students are involved at the hospital as volunteers and researchers, and the medical school faculty teaches courses in the undergraduate neuroscience program.

Fernald Child Study Center

This group is committed to investigating childhood behavior disorders, with studies that focus on social behavior, family factors, learning and achievement, and intervention strategies.

UCLA Psychology Clinic

The UCLA Psychology Clinic serves as a training and research center for psychotherapy and diagnostics. Clinic therapists treat clients with approaches validated by recent research and matched to the individual needs of the clients.

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