Penn’s certificate program in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) will enable graduate and professional students preparing for a wide range of careers to work knowledgeably with neuroscience. Rather than training future neuroscientists, the program’s aim is to supplement the education of people with expertise in other areas, enabling them to incorporate some of the concepts and methods of neuroscience into their work. The curriculum will focus on the aspects of neuroscience that have the most direct application to the understanding of human behavior, specifically cognitive and affective neuroscience.

SCAN students must begin by taking the fall semester course, Foundations of Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (PSYC 547). In certain cases, graduate courses taken prior to enrollment in the program can be retroactively counted towards the SCAN certificate requirements.


HOW TO APPLY: If you are a Penn graduate student interested in enrolling for the SCAN certificate for the upcoming year, please at your earliest convenience fill out our statement of interest form. If you are not or will not be a Penn student at the expected time of matriculation into SCAN, please see instructions on how to apply here.

WHAT: Penn’s Certificate in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) offers a rigorous foundation in the neuroscience of human behavior for professional and graduate students in non-science fields who are currently matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania.

WHY: Neuroscience plays an expanding role in the academic and professional world of the 21st Century. In courtrooms, classrooms, offices and homes around the world, neuroscience is giving us powerful new tools for achieving our goals and prompting a new understanding of ourselves as social, moral and spiritual beings. The proliferation of new fields bearing the suffix “neuro”— for example neuroeconomics, neurophilosophy, neuroeducation, neuroethics and neurolaw – attests to the growing relevance of neuroscience in diverse human endeavors.

WHO: SCAN is appropriate for professional students in law, business, education, and any other field in which human behavior is of central relevance and for graduate students in the humanities, social sciences and engineering who wish to understand the implications of neuroscience for their field of study. This program is not intended for students planning careers in neuroscience. Rather than training future neuroscientists, SCAN’s goal is to train future scholars and professionals in diverse fields to work knowledgably with neuroscience.

HOW: Students will take 4 courses over a period of 1-2 years, in parallel with study toward their graduate degree. The required courses provide a strong grasp of neuroscience for nonscientists, emphasizing those aspects of neuroscience that are most relevant to understanding human behavior. For detailed information on SCAN course requirements, please download our information packet.

To Learn More


Please visit our SCAN Frequently Asked Questions Googledoc, which will be updated with your questions as we receive them. In order to have a question answered, simply email or call 215-573-8534.



Penn Gazette – Neuroscience for Poets (or Lawyers, or Nurses…) by Trey Popp

Penn Law News – SCAN Certificate helps law students use neuroscience to understand human behavior


What SCAN Students Say

Tabea Cornel
Tabea Cornel,
PhD Candidate, History and Sociology of Science
SCAN Retreat 2015
Devin Curry
Devin Curry,
PhD Candidate, Philosophy
SCAN Retreat 2015
Darina Petrovsky
Darina Petrovsky,
PhD Candidate, Nursing
SCAN Retreat 2015
Christin Scholz
Christin Scholz,
PhD Candidate, Communications
SCAN Retreat 2015
Andreas Kuersten
Andreas Kuersten,
JD, Law
Greeting to SCAN Retreat 2015

Quotes from SCAN Students