Marriage and Family Therapy Program
• Chair's Introduction
• Feature Story
School of Behavioral and Health Sciences
• Dean's Introduction
• Feature Story
Religion, Brain & Behavior

Patrick McNamara, PhD, one of NCU’s new full-time graduate school dissertation chairs, is an expert in emerging fields – and his passion is for helping Doctoral students with research projects

Dr. Patrick McNamara obtained his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience in 1991 from Boston University, and since then he has published hundreds of peer reviewed articles in multiple topic areas in biomedicine and neuroscience. McNamara has won multiple NIH awards and a VA Merit Review Award, and he has published as single author five books in neuropsychology and edited several other book collections. As full-time Graduate School dissertation chair since July of this year, the former Director of the Evolutionary Neurobehavior Laboratory at Boston University possesses many research areas of interest including Neuropsychology, aging, dementia, sleep and dreams, spirituality, medicine, and psychiatric disorders.

“I was drawn to NCU because I really think that we’re doing something unique – fully online education delivery is the wave of the future, and I believe that our One-to-One faculty mentored approach is crucial to successful graduate careers,” notes McNamara, “it’s as if I had planned it,” he smiles. “We’re part of a growing scene, but very few institutions have the high-quality delivery we offer, especially for beginning students. At Boston University I witnessed superior teaching through detailed feedback, and it makes people blossom. Once a student knows that their work will be recognized, they’ll spend the time and effort to do great work, and that’s captured beautifully in our education model.”

Although McNamara has a Neuropsychology background, he’s energized by the fact that at Northcentral, he has a chance to touch a wide array of fascinating projects in the fields of Education, Business and Psychology for students all over the world.

“My unique affinity is for helping students working on Doctoral projects – from the beginning, to the end where they have to defend their dissertation – I’ve been designing research projects my entire career and it’s really what I love to do.”

McNamara’s work in the areas of sleep disorders and dreams, Parkinson’s Disease, and religious experiences has attracted mainstream attention and he has gained notoriety as a subject matter specialist on “Consciousness” for the PBS Series “Closer to Truth.”

“All three of these fields are now emerging as bona fide scientific fields of interest, and are no longer considered fringe science,” relates McNamara.

The exciting thing for Northcentral University is that this also means the time is ripe for Doctoral projects in these intriguing areas that are no longer in their infancy.

“Now is the time to jump in,” implores a passionate McNamara.

And speaking of passion, McNamara believes that it’s the key for successful Doctoral projects.

“Students today are balancing so many things in their lives that you really need passion to carry it through if you personally want a PhD and to contribute to the field. People will be telling you to shelf it, so you really need unwavering passion to succeed,” he explains. “There’s going to be a million reasons not to finish your dissertation – my kid needs braces; I just lost my job; etc. – but if you expect there’s going to be challenges and crisis, you can get through it and finish if you don’t allow anyone to stop you.”

The unstoppable Patrick McNamara practices what he preaches. Northcentral’s all-star Faculty Chair is also Founding Editor of “Religion, Brain and Behavior” (Richard Sosis and Wesley Wildman, Coeditors). For more information, please visit:

The Graduate School
• Dean's Introduction
• Feature Story
Office of the Provost
Feature Story:
• Farewell to Dr. Gardner

Attack Your Day
Alumni Spotlight
School of Education
• Dean's Introduction
• Feature Story

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