Graduate Certificate Program in Mind, Brain, and Culture

Synopsis and Goals

The certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture provides an opportunity for students to engage in a cross-disciplinary training experience to broaden their knowledge of and experience with concepts, theories, and methods pertaining to the study of mind, brain, and culture from fields outside their own. Students from any doctoral program interested in issues associated with mind, brain, culture or their intersections are eligible to pursue this certificate. 

The goals of this certificate program are to (1) facilitate doctoral students’ appreciation of multi-disciplinary approaches to research in their areas of interest, (2) provide a formal means for pursuing the cross-disciplinary training experiences that many students are otherwise compelled to seek and attain in an ad hoc fashion and (3) provide a formal credential in multi-disciplinary study that will increase student marketability in an environment that increasingly values interdisciplinarity. 

Please see our brochure and FAQ for more information.

Certificate Requirements

Students enrolled in the certificate program must, in consultation with the Certificate Program Director, complete an initial training plan outlining their goals and identifying potential courses in which they would like to enroll to accomplish those goals. All certificate program participants must complete a core course offered uniquely for certificate program participants, plus three approved elective courses and two semesters’ enrollment in a one-credit research group seminar for certificate program participants. Students must also present their research to the research group seminar during their final semester at Emory as a capstone experience. Each of these requirements is described in greater detail below.

Training Plan. The training plan should be developed in consultation with the student's primary advisor and with Dr. Dietrich Stout, Certificate Program Director. The training plan must be signed by the advisor, home program Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and Certificate Program Director. If the student has not yet identified a primary research advisor, this should be indicated on the training plan in which case only the signatures of the DGS and Certificate Program Director are required.

Students must pass each class, earning a grade of B- or higher in each to earn the certificate. Because instructors in some departments encourage doctoral students to enroll in classes pass/fail, students may enroll in a maximum of one elective course toward their certificate program on a Pass/Fail (i.e., S/U) basis provided that the course instructors approve this status. The research group seminar will be taken on a Pass/Fail basis (S/U) only.

MBC501, Core Course in Multidisciplinary Approaches to Mind, Brain, and Culture. This course, offered every other fall, is designed to (1) introduce students to the history and philosophy of science as it applies to the social, psychological, and brain sciences, (2) provide an overview of different types of disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of mind, brain, and culture, and (3) highlight how exemplary research using approaches from different levels of analysis converge to provide synthesis and insights not readily gleaned from examining a single disciplinary perspective. Students are encouraged to enroll in this course prior to completion of electives when feasible. 

MBC600, Research Group Seminar. After completing MBC501, the Core Course requirement, students must enroll in two semesters of MBC600, a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics, readings, and/or guest speakers. This course is offered every semester, and meets once a month for three hours. Students may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation.

Elective Requirements. Students enrolled in the certificate program will be required to complete three additional electives. Students will work with their primary advisors and with the Certificate Program Director to identify appropriate electives to meet their goals and interests. The Certificate Program Director will work with students to identify elective courses from outside the home discipline that are relevant and appropriate for students' training goals. 

The elective courses must meet the following constraints: 

1. A minimum of two of the elective courses must be from outside the student’s home program. 

2. Within the student’s home program, a maximum of one course may count toward the elective requirements. This course may not be one in which the student is required to enroll to complete his/her disciplinary Ph.D. requirements. 

3. Students who wish to gain hands-on experience via a practicum --working on a small-scale research project in a discipline other than their own-- may, with the approval of a) the Certificate Program Director, b) their advisor and c) a faculty member in the target discipline who has agreed to supervise the research, enroll in directed study in a department other than the home department to fulfill a maximum of one of their electives. Students may not use directed study within their home program to fulfill the elective requirement. 

4. Students must notify the Certificate Program Director, once enrolled in a class, that they wish the course to count as an elective towards the certificate program. If the course is one that was not in the student’s initial training plan, the student must submit a paragraph of explanation about how the elective fits in to the training plan. This deviation from the original training plan must be approved by the Certificate Program Director before the course will fulfill the Certificate Program elective requirements. 

5. Prior to enrolling in elective courses outside their home department, students must consult with the instructors to ensure that the courses are appropriate for the students’ level of background and expertise. 

Capstone Presentation. To conclude the Certificate Program, all recipients must give a formal presentation in the Research Group Seminar during their final semester at Emory, describing their dissertation research and how their thinking and scholarship was influenced by their completion of the certificate program experience.

Certificate Administration

The Certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture is organized by the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture. The certificate program director is Dr. Dietrich Stout ( Please contact Dr. Stout with questions or to enroll in the certificate program. Students are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Stout before completing their training plans. Student progress will be followed via our tracking form to ensure that all program requirements are met.