VDS CoBeNe Doctoral Program

The VDS CoBeNe combines the strength of four main research areas: Psychological Science, Behavioral & Cognitive Biology, Neuroscience, and the Cognitive Humanities. Psychological Science focuses on all aspects of human experience and behavior, from both biological and social science perspectives. Behavioral & Cognitive Biology features an evolutionary approach with the focus on whole organisms. Neuroscience additionally includes mechanistic studies of behavior, brain circuitry, cells and molecules. Cognitive Humanities uses models and methods of the cognitive sciences to better understand human culture and its history. These four research areas are reflected in the four fields of the VDS CoBeNe’s educational program. Importantly, specific research questions can be approached by members of any field. This opportunity to bridge a vast array of related research areas, ranging from cell biology to art history, is an eminently distinguished feature of VDS CoBeNe. At the same time, VDS CoBeNe encourages students to focus on a particular field and gain in-depth training in that research area.

Due to its interdisciplinary and interfaculty character, VDS CoBeNe does not constitute a specific, single field of doctoral research (Dissertationsgebiet) with its own, or with a unified, curriculum. Rather, each of its four programs adheres to its own curriculum or curricula, and outlines its discipline- and program-specific criteria for dissertations and graduation. Hence, PhD candidates can choose from existing curricula and associated research fields at the University of Vienna (e.g., humanities: art history, cognitive science, linguistics, musicology, philosophy, psychology; social sciences: psychology; natural & technological sciences: computer sciences, psychology; life sciences: biology, molecular biology), according to their interests and/or affiliation with a faculty/research institution. 

The VDS CoBeNe PhD program is designed to fit those curricula and is flexible enough to allow further adjustments and alignments with regards to the curricula and dissertation criteria and requirements. PhD candidates will always receive their grade and title of the field of doctoral research they choose (e.g., PhD in Humanities, PhD in Social Sciences, PhD in Life Sciences), but at the same time will always have the opportunity to take courses in related fields and curricula. 

The VDS CoBeNe PhD program consists of two parts and is designed to reconcile two contrasting aims: i) to reflect the range of its fields (from molecular/neuronal to behavioral/cognitive systems and psychological science in its entirety), and ii) to allow in-depth training in the specific research field chosen by the PhD candidates.