Connected Science Community Human Behavior and Sustainability Sciences PhD Program

A new kind of PhD training

Conduct groundbreaking human behavior and sustainability sciences research and develop skills that open a vast set of future careers with the support of a cross-College PhD Community!

The Connected Science Community Human Behavior and Sustainability Sciences PhD Program combines training in cognitive, behavioral, and social sciences with training in environmental, ecological, and sustainability sciences to produce boundary-breaking scholars who can accelerate sustainability solutions that are robustly informed by trans-disciplinary science through a research-intensive curriculum and environment within a supportive community of faculty and students.

Students design individualized programs of study by apprenticing in a laboratory in environmental / sustainability sciences and one in human cognition and behavior, working closely with their faculty mentors throughout their time in the program. Research areas include cultural and experiential differences in ecological thinking, social and environmental policy and decision-making, influence of urban and wild green spaces on cognitive and brain health, fisheries and restoration sciences, evolutionary genomics, and marine biodiversity and conservation.

You will be joining a graduate program that is committed to cultivating a culture of respect and collaboration where the contribution of each person is valued.

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Participate in groundbreaking human behavior and sustainability sciences research

Lotterhos Lab
The Lotterhos Lab at Northeastern Marine Science Center seeks to understand how climate has shaped marine biodiversity and how a now rapidly changing climate will affect biodiversity in the future.
Conceptual Organization, Reasoning, and Education Laboratory (CORE Lab)
The CORE lab seeks to answer questions about basic cognitive processes like conceptual organization, reasoning, and conceptual development.
Social Emotions Lab
Dr. DeSteno’s research focuses on the role of emotion in social cognition and behavior.
Bowen Lab
Much of the research in the Bowen Lab is focused on how salt marsh microbial communities, and in particular those microbes that are important in the nitrogen cycle, respond to global change drivers.
Grabowski Lab
The Grabowski lab focuses on marine ecology, fisheries, conservation biology, social-ecological coupling, environmental policy, and ecological economics.
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Helmuth Lab
The Helmuth lab uses mathematical and physical models to incorporate the many factors of our changing climate to predict patterns of body temperature in key intertidal organisms around the world.
Hughes Lab
The lab is interested in the interactions among the numbers and identity of species, the genetic individuals that make up those species, and the ecosystem services that they provide.  They use a combination of lab and field experiments, molecular techniques, and data synthesis to understand the co..
Marine and Environmental Sciences
Kimbro Lab
The Kimbro lab studies why coastal habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs thrive in certain areas, but not in others.
Stubbins Lab
Aron Stubbin's research fouses on environmental chemistry, geochemistry, the carbon cycle, freshwater, coastal and ocean biogeochemistry, feedbacks between natural biogeochemical cycles and climate change, permafrost, black carbon, and aquatic microplastics
Center for Cognitive and Brain Health
The Center investigates the effects of lifestyle choices and health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, diet) and their physiological sequelae (e.g., fitness, adiposity) on brain and cognition. From a neuroimaging perspective, the researchers’ interests lie in understanding how health influences ..
Learning and Brain Development Lab
How do we use information we have learned? Does the way people learn and apply knowledge change across development? In the Learning and Brain Development lab, we investigate the development of brain systems for different ways of learning during adolescence, and the impact of learning on memory, dec..
Brain Game Center for Mental Fitness and Well-being
Led by Dr. Aaron Seitz, our lab strive to improve your brain’s fitness. We research, test, and disseminate evidence-based, scientifically optimized brain fitness games that assist you in real life with memory, vision, hearing, learning, and more. We have a track record of making our tested proced..
Sustainability and Social Change Lab
The Sustainability and Social Change Lab focuses on interdisciplinary research topics including social and environmental policy and decision-making, understanding the interplay between individual, institutional and ecological factors on perceptions, policy preferences and resilience to extreme even..
Reid Lab
Led by Dr. Brie Reid, PhD, we study how climate stress, environmental stressors, water insecurity, metal exposures, climate-change induced food insecurity can impact human development through prenatal/postnatal stress physiology and nutrient mechanisms.
Psychology of Misinformation Lab
Led by Briony Swire-Thompson, the Psychology of Misinformation Lab studies why people believe in misinformation, why people share misinformation online, and how corrections can be designed to foster belief change.
Socio-ecological Dynamics, Plant Ecology, and the Science-policy Lab
We examine socio-ecological plant systems that preserve biodiversity and foster resilience to a changing climate, including how plant population and community dynamics impact human well-being and management decision-making, and how those decisions feed back to influence ecosystem dynamics.
Ocean Literacy
Led by Assistant Professor Alison Glassie research areas include environmental humanities, qualitative and narrative approaches, oral history.
Sustainability ​Science Lab
Research includes representation and communication of social–ecological models, cultural models in environmental decision making, stakeholder engagement in environmental policy, and environmental communication.

How the Connected Science Community Human Behavior and Sustainability Sciences PhD program works

Upon joining the program, you will also join a Connected Science Community of PhD students across the College of Science. During the summer before your first year, you will participate in workshops to develop key skills, explore and utilize university resources, and learn about potential post-PhD careers.

During Fall semester of your first year, you will begin coursework and continue research in your department. Throughout your first year and beyond, you will continue your research while sustaining your Connected Science Community through seminars, workshops, and social activities.

In this unique PhD training program, you’ll:

– join a Community of PhD students across all College of Science departments, who learn from each other, collaborate, and draw on one other’s experience;

– develop Career and Core Skills and inside knowledge of the outstanding career opportunities open to our PhD graduates;

– explore Cross-Disciplinary Research to help you solve pressing research challenges; and

– gain external Work Experience – an integral part of your professional training, with many opportunities.

A Culture of Respect

In the Northeastern University College of Science, we embrace a culture of respect and inclusion, where each person is valued and empowered with equitable opportunities and access to resources. We commit to implementing initiatives that dismantle systemic oppression and build a diverse community.

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Additional information

Is the program funded?

For the duration of their program, students receive full tuition scholarship, a graduate assistant position with stipend, and health insurance.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply is December 1.

What are the program requirements?

Bachelor’s Degree Entrance
Complete all courses and requirements listed here unless otherwise indicated.


  • Annual review
  • Dissertation committee
  • Qualifying paper and presentation
  • Dissertation proposal and presentation
  • Candidacy
  • Dissertation/dissertation defense
  • Teaching experience

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

  • 31 total semester hours required
  • Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Want to learn more about the Connected Science Community Human Behavior and Sustainability Sciences PhD program? Fill out the form below and a team member will be in touch.

Your career starts here. Apply today.