Art+ Design

Design and Behavioral Neuroscience, BS

Apply an understanding of cognition to the design of data visualizations, interactions, devices, and experiences.

Engages students in an interdisciplinary study across the Biology, Psychology, and Art + Design departments to integrate fundamental design courses with a strong foundation in the physiological brain mechanisms that give rise to behavioral functions. The latest research in neuroscience and psychology enables designers to maximize the impact of their designs and conversely, complex neuroscientific concepts can be made intelligible to a wider public through creative visual works. Students learn about the biological bases of cognitive processes underlying behavior.

They can then apply these principles to biomimetic medical devices as well as data and network visualization.

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Co-op Opportunities

design and media sectors

Ronik Design + Development, Sametz Blackstone Associates Inc, Rue Gilt Groupe, BounceX, Ifactory Inc., JCDecaux North America, Mullen Advertising Inc, NBC Universal, Unispaceb Smartwebs, Inc., AutoDesk, Hubspot, Ogilvy, IDEO

news and publishing sectors

The Boston Globe LLC, Patriot Ledger, Harvard Business Publishing, HMH Books and Media

arts sectors

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boch Center

food and beverage sectors

America's Test Kitchen, Kind LLC, Best Bees Company, BevSpot Inc., The Boston Beer Company, Inc

fashion and travel sectors

New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc, Reebok International Ltd., Wayfair, The TJX Companies, Inc., Trip Advisor LLC

government and civic sectors

City of Boston, City of Cambridge, Boston Neighborhood Network, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, MassDOT/MBTA

health care and pharmaceutical sectors

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc., Massachusetts General Hospital, Imprivata, Inc., Vertex Pharmaceuticals

educational sector

NU Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research, edX, EF Education First, WGBH Educational Foundation

financial and business sector

Commonwealth Financial Network, Fidelity Investments, John Hancock, MFS Investment Management, State Street Corporation, Thomson Reuters, The Boston Consulting Group International Inc, Talent Acquisition Group

Career Opportunities

Design Consultant

Design Lead

Design Researcher

Design Strategist



Exhibition Designer

Experience Designer

Futurist Product Designer

Product Manager

Strategist Service Designer

User Experience Designer

User Experience Manager

UX Designer

Multidisciplinary Skills
  • collaboration
  • creative problem-solving
  • critical thinking
  • data analysis
  • design research
  • design software
  • experience mapping
  • graphic representation
  • fabrication
  • facilitation
  • human factors
  • information design
  • interviews
  • leadership
  • listening
  • observation
  • personas
  • programming
  • project management
  • problem framing
  • rapid prototyping
  • semiotics
  • sketching
  • technical skills
  • typography
  • UI/UX design
  • user stories
  • user testing
  • verbal and written communication
  • visual synthesis
  • visualization
Learning Outcomes

Behavioral Neuroscience learning outcomes

Learning outcomes related to knowledge-specific content:

  1. Explain the fundamental concepts of behavioral neuroscience.
  2. Describe the biological bases of cognitive processes underlying behavior under normal and pathological states.

Learning outcomes related to scientific inquiry:

  1. Apply the process of science by identifying testable scientific questions, formulating hypotheses, and designing basic experiments using appropriate research methods.

Analyze quantitative data using statistical analysis techniques.

Interpret experimental results from scientific literature and describe and evaluate seminal and emerging findings involving mind, brain, and behavior.

  1. Learning outcomes related to application of knowledge:

Justify ethical principles involved in conducting basic science and clinical research including the evolutionary principles that support the use of animal model systems.

  1. Explain how the study of brain and behavior contributes to the resolution of ethical and social issues.
  2. Integrate classroom knowledge in authentic practical experiences such as directed study research with faculty and co-ops in laboratories, clinical settings and industry.


Design learning outcomes

Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.

Engage human-centered design research methods and systems thinking to identify and understand values, goals, motivations of intended audiences as a mode of inquiry, question framing and guide to action.

Develop a high level of craft and technical skills in a relevant range of media and tools and effectively weigh applicability for intended audiences and outcomes.

Develop and realize intent, concept and content with awareness of context and consequence.

Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, diagram including temporal and spatial representations to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning

Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and presentation skills.

Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.