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Biopsychology Degree

Biopsychology is a specialized field of study within the larger domain of psychology. This particular branch of psychology is concerned with the numerous variables, which affect the health of humans and animals. These variables include emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns; biopsychology is rooted in the belief that it is more than the biological makeup of an individual that determines their health. Rather, their biological makeup is significantly affected and altered by sustained emotional tendencies, and behavior and thought patterns. This method of analysis is also referred to as the biopsychology perspective.

  1. What Is Biopsychology
  2. Biopsychological Approach
  3. Biopsychology Careers
  4. Biopsychology Salary
  5. Biopsychology Major

What Is Biopsychology

Biopsychology is a particular branch of psychology which focuses on the brain and its effects on emotions, thoughts, and behaviors of humans and animals. This branch analyzes how the brain and neurotransmitters influence our behaviors, thoughts and feelings.
This field is also often referred to as behavioral neuroscience and psychobiology and it is a combination of basic psychology and neuroscience.

Biopsychological Approach

The biopsychological approach, or model, hypothesize that the interaction of biological, psychological, and social aspects of developmental psychology, all play a role in human disease, illness and health. This essentially entails that it is not biology alone that is responsible for health. This can be contrasted with the biomedical model of medicine that suggests that every disease or illness can be explained in terms of an underlying deviation from normal biological function.
To illustrate, let us examine a hypothetical example:
Lucy has been suffering from a case of panic disorder for many years. The biopsychological approach to determining how she came to suffer from this disorder will require an analysis of not only her biological make up, but any psychological and social aspects of her life which may have resulted in this particular disorder. It may have been triggered by childhood trauma, a particularly painful experience, etc. A biopsychological approach to Lucy’s predicament necessarily involves a more holistic analysis of the circumstances surrounding the development of her panic disorder.

Biopsychology Careers

With a degree in biopsychology, candidates have a number of different career options that they may consider to pursue.
Holders of a bachelor's degree in biopsychology are commonly employed in entry-level positions such as research assistants and laboratory technicians. They may also pursue positions in social work, or pharmaceutical manufacturing. For those who continue on to a master's degree program, there may be a larger number of employment opportunities available. These include jobs as clinical psychologists or consultants. With a doctorate degree, graduates are qualified to become professors and researchers in psychology, business, health, neuroscience and animal behavior.
Psychologists in private practice often set their own hours, and many work part-time as independent consultants. Those employed in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities may also have evening or weekend shifts. Most psychologists in clinics, government, industry, or schools work full-time schedules during regular business hours.
For those individuals who want to work directly with people in clinical settings, they must obtain licensure or certification by meeting standards set by the state in which they intend to practice. Typically, candidates are required to hold a doctorate degree and have completed a supervised internship.

Biopsychology Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for psychologists was $69,280 in May 2012. The top 10 percent earned more than $110,880.
In addition, the median annual wages for different psychologists in May 2012 were:

  • $83,580 for industrial-organizational psychologists
  • $67,650 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists
  • $90,020 for psychologists, all other

Prospective salaries are influenced by a number of factors. These include an individual’s qualifications and their previous work experience. Salary grades are also heavily influenced by location as well as government spending on that particular industry.

Biopsychology Major

For those individuals interested in pursuing a career in biopsychology, the first step involves earning a bachelor's degree in biology or psychology with a concentration in biopsychology or cognition, or neuroscience. Tufts University and UCSB both offer an undergraduate program with a double major in biopsychology and biology or psychology. A bachelor's degree program teaches students how the brain works, how it affects behaviors and the ties between biology and the physiological and psychological systems. Mandatory courses focus on biology and psychology, and include subjects like genetics, anatomy, psychological statistics, physiological psychology, and cognition and personality theories. One of the best books for the undergraduate students in this field is entitled ‘Biopsychology’ by John Pinel.


Graduate degree programs in biopsychology give students a more thorough understanding of the complex elements of biopsychology. In addition, graduate programs may also be taken in developmental psychobiology, or social neuroscience - two interdisciplinary fields that encompass biopsychology. The program explores the ties between behavior and biology by identifying how the brain reacts while suffering from substance abuse or memory disorders.
Master’s programs also require students to conduct research, usually with a faculty member, and you'll be required to complete a master's thesis as the culminating effort of your degree. This training can lead to a career in clinical or counseling psychology.


A doctorate in biopsychology is required if you intend to conduct independent research at pharmaceutical, university or government facilities, teach at a college or university or begin a private practice in counseling psychology.
Typical coursework entails topics such as assessing personality, the relevance of personality, neuroanatomical functions, hormones and behavior, neuropsychology and how gender affects the brain and behaviors. Doctoral programs also require candidates to conduct research and complete an independently-researched dissertation that addresses an issue in biopsychology.

Biopsychology is a complex and interdisciplinary field of study. Its concern is with how complex processes such as our emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns have the ability to adversely affect our biological functions, health and wellbeing. Studying biopsychology has the potential to enable you to understand the root causes of illnesses and diseases in humans and animals with the ultimate aim of furthering research that could result in better diagnosing procedures.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Biopsychology Degree?

Many schools in the US, such as Augsburg University and Oakland University are offering Biopsychology degrees. Students can enroll in a 4-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biopsychology. Although a Masters degree in Biopsychology is rare, but students have the option of enrolling in a 2-year Master of Arts (M.A) in Psychology. After completing the degree, graduates can kick-start their careers as Behavioral Specialists or Researchers.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Biopsychology Degree?

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biopsychology are required to complete around 10 major courses of 3 semester hour credits. However, the number of courses taught may vary between institutions. Program participants are required to study modules like Systems Neurobiology, Experimental Psychology, Advanced Psychopathology, Brain and Behavior and General Genetics. After completing the coursework, students gain an understanding of how physiology influences behavior.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Biopsychology Degree?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median pay of Psychologists was $79,010 in May 2018. 181,700 professionals were employed in this field in 2018. Also, it is forecasted that the overall employment of Psychologists will grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are some of the biopsychology topics?

A:Biopsychology covers topics such as behavioral, systems and computational neuroscience, memory, cognition and other similar complex phenomenon. Neural systems are analyzed from the combined point of view of physiological processes, behavioral performance and the computational outlay of the nervous system. Biopsychology is a combination of psychology with biology and tries to explain biological concepts in a psychological framework.

Q:What is the biopsychology perspective of psychology?

A:Biopsychology is a branch of psychology that tries to determine how the brain and neurotransmitters affect behaviors, thoughts and feelings in human beings. This perspective of psychology is basically a combination of psychology with neuroscience. Biopsychologists often look at biological processes' interaction with emotions, cognitions and other mental abilities. This field is also linked to areas such as comparative psychology and evolutionary psychology.

Q:What are the options in biopsychology graduate programs?

A:If you wish to pursue higher studies and go for a biopsychology graduate program, you will have two options: a master's and a PhD. The learning in your masters program will revolve around topics such as behavioral neuroscience, sensory processes, motivation and emotion, stress reactions, biological rhythms, hormones and behavior and psycho-pharmacology. For the PhD program, these subjects will be further built upon dealing with more detailed and advance intricacies along with a research intensive thesis.

Q:What are the basics of biopsychology?

A:Biopsychology is the study of how emotions, behaviors and thoughts are influenced by the brain, neurotransmitters and the nervous system in humans and animals. It is also known as biological psychology, behavioral neural science, psychobiology or physiological psychology. Basic functions of biopsychology revolve around inquiring various levels of nerves, brain circuitry, neurotransmitters and other biological processes.

Q:What is the history of biopsychology?

A:Biopsychology is a scientific discipline that emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Theories and research of various people such as Rene Descartes, William James, Claude Bernard, Charles Bell and William Harvey contributed to the eventual formation of this field. Early definitions of this term were provided by various writers including Knight Dunlap, who in his book 'An Outline of Psychology (1914)' coined the term psychobiology.

Q:What is the biopsychological model of studies?

A:The biopsychological model of studies revolves around topics such as learning and memory, developments, drugs, sleep, sex, senses, mental disorders and emotions. The courses you will be taught will expose you to subject areas like psychology, biology, chemistry and mathematics. And your studies might be divided into a threefold model: Pre-Major, Preparation for the Major and Upper-Division Major.

Q:What do you mean by biopsychological perspective?

A:This means looking at the biological perspective by taking into account psychological topics to analyze basis for human and animal behavior. It is one of the major perspectives of psychology and involves the study of immune systems, genetics and the nervous system. This perspective of psychology has grown tremendously over the years due to advancement in technology used to study the brain and the nervous system.

Q:What is biopsychology definition?

A:Biopsychology is the branch of neuroscience that deals with how the nervous system and the brain control behavior. It aims to improve our understanding of the nervous system and their relationship to behavior. Research under the subject area of biopsychology is being applied to a variety of health problems including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism, drug and injury related behavior and cognitive disorders.

Q:What are the careers in biopsychology?

A:A career in biopsychology might provide you with the opportunity to carry out research projects, teach and counsel patients. There are various career paths you can go for with a degree in biopsychology. You could become a neuropsychologist, researcher, professor or clinician. Academics are one of the most common career paths for biopsychology majors, teaching courses to college or university students.

Q:How do you define biopsychology?

A:Biopsychology, also known as physiological psychology or behavioral neuroscience, is the analysis of behavior in humans and animals. It is basically the study of the relationship between psychological processes and the underlying physiological occurrences that cause these. The subject areas studied as part of this field include emotion, learning, cognition, memory and mental disorders. Physical factors directly connected to the nervous system are also considered, including heredity, hormones, drug ingestion, metabolism and diet.

Q:What is Grey's biopsychological theory?

A:Jeffery Alan Grey hypothesized two systems of controlling behavioral activity. The behavioral inhibition system predicts the behavior of an individual to anxiety related issues. It is activated in times of negative events, punishments or boredom. The Behavioral Activation System, on the other hand, is based on an individual's disposition to achieve goals and pursue targets.

Q:Describe biopsychology and its theoretical framework?

A:Biopsychology is a branch of psychology that revolves around explaining human behavior from a chemical and biological standpoint. It is a hybrid field of study bringing together the fields of psychology and neuroscience. It deals with the various chemical changes in the brain that have a direct effect on the change in behavior.

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