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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas



StudentsWho is the Program For?


The BBS Dean’s Scholars Program is designed for gifted and highly motivated students who want to pursue a doctoral-level degree (PhD, MD or JD).  Doctoral graduate programs are highly competitive, so the Dean’s Scholars Program was created to help you become the best applicant possible.


Through this program, students:

“The Scholars Program is a wonderful opportunity for students to get to know faculty in the school as well as have a variety of experiences which will help prepare them for post-baccalaureate work.” 

- Dr. Bert Moore, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences


  • Learn about the career possibilities with doctoral-level degrees
  • Find the specific doctoral programs that best match their ambitions and the requirements for admission
  • Learn about the research and fieldwork required to be a top applicant
  • Talk with working professionals about what they do, how they like it, and how to build a career like theirs
  • Talk with BBS faculty about their scholarly passions and how to get involved with their research
  • Become a part of a community of aspiring scholars who want to make a difference
  • Receive a Dean’s Scholars Program Award when you graduate



The program’s broader mission is to pique student interest in scholarly research and to help them to complete an honors thesis.   If you have questions program, please contact the Associate Dean’s Office at 972-883-2360.


What Does the Program Entail?


The Dean’s Scholars Program includes a two-semester pair of seminar courses (PSY/NSC/CLDP/SPAU/CGS) and meets for 75 minutes every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The fall semester (2 credits) is devoted to examining career options and meeting community professionals, while the spring semester (1 credit) introduces students to BBS researchers and facilities.  The courses partially satisfy the major advanced guided elective requirement for BBS majors.


Who is Eligible for the Dean’s Scholars Program?


Students can start the program once they have declared a major in at least one BBS bachelors program and have completed at least one full-time semester of in-residence study (not counting credits from AP, IB, CLEP or dual-credit).  The program is not appropriate for students with less than 31 hours to complete prior to graduation because they usually are not able to complete program requirements.  First-year freshmen start the program their second semester (typically spring) while all other students (including transfer students) can start either fall or spring, but fall is recommended.

StudentAdmission is competitive and by application.  Students’ prior high school and college grades and class rank will be considered, along with SAT and/or ACT test scores (when available).  Students must also submit a personal essay and two letters of recommendations.  Students wishing to apply for the Dean's Scholars Program should complete the application form (currently being updated) and return it to:


BBS Dean’s Scholars Program, GR 4.528

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
The University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell Rd, GR41
Richardson, TX 75080


Questions about the admissions process should be directed to


How Do You Graduate as a BBS Dean’s Scholar?


To earn the distinction of being a BBS Dean’s Scholar, students much achieve the following before they graduate:


  • Admission to the Dean’s Scholars Program
  • Earn grades of B or better in both the fall and spring Dean’s Scholars Seminar
  • A cumulative UT Dallas GPA of at least 3.4 earned on at least 30 hours of grade-bearing courses by the time of graduation
  • Successfully complete the equivalent of two three-hour Directed Research or Honor Research semesters, working individually with BBS-affiliated professors
  • Completion of two school service projects


How and When Do You Apply?


Application packets are available by contacting the office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in BBS (GR 4.528) either by email ( or phone (972-883-2360).

Applications are due no later than four weeks prior to the start of the semester, although qualified students are admitted on a first-come, first-admit basis, and space is limited to 25 students.  Students who have been admitted to the University Collegium V Honor Program will automatically qualify for the BBS Dean’s Scholars Program provided they submit an application form and space is available.

Successful applicants typically ranked highly in their high school class, have a GPA of at least 3.5 in their most recent college or high school work, and score well on admissions tests (e.g., SAT > 1200 V+Q SAT; ACT > 28). However, applicants are not required to take the SAT or ACT and all applications will be considered.


Who Needs a Doctoral Degree?


You may not know whether or not you should strive to earn a doctoral-level degree, especially if you are just starting the university. Here are some things to consider.  If you are thinking about a career as a physician, dentist, university professor, advanced researcher, licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, I/O psychologist, school psychologist, educational psychologist, or audiologist, then you will most likely need to earn a doctoral-level graduate degree.  If, on the other hand, your career aspirations are to become a counselor, social worker, speech therapist, school teacher, human resource specialist, marketing researcher, or business manager, then you probably will not need to earn a doctoral degree.

Many students do not realize that to be admitted to most doctoral graduate programs they need to do more than just earn good course grades and score well on graduate-school admissions tests. All health professions-related doctoral programs require that applicants have meaningful fieldwork experience in healthcare settings.  Psychology doctoral programs similarly expect applicants to have significant fieldwork experience working in mental health contexts.  All doctoral programs require 2-3 letters of recommendation, preferable from doctoral-level professionals who know your abilities well because they have worked closely and individually with you for some time.  In addition, PhD programs expect applicants to have meaningful research experience working with professors and to have completed an honor thesis.

One of the main goals of the Dean’s Scholars Program is to help students to learn early on about all the things required for doctoral study.  As you can tell, there are a number of important tasks outside of class that you need to accomplish to be a successful applicant, and you simply cannot wait until your senior year to start.  Joining the Dean’s Scholars Program will help you “get all your ducks in a row” and make you a more competitive applicant for doctoral education.


Should I Join the Dean’s Scholars Program if I am Not Sure I Will Pursue a Doctoral Degree?


There is no simple answer, but here are some things to think about.  The program places considerable emphasis on students becoming exposed to the research enterprise, especially research in psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, language acquisition, speech pathology, and audiology.  Not only will you learn about research-related careers, but you will also meet and have extended conversations with the many research professors in BBS.  The purpose of these conversations is for you to learn more about the world of research and to expose you to the opportunities BBS offers for students to join faculty in their lab groups.  If, however, your career plans do not include doctoral-level graduate study, then the Dean’s Scholars Program may not be a good fit for you.  If you are primarily interested in becoming a professional practitioner, then you might consider the Careers in Psychology course or the Careers in Health Professions course.

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