Cognitive Science

Overview

Cognitive Science is the science of the mind. Drawing on the fields of philosophy, psychology, neurobiology, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, Cognitive Science studies the nature of consciousness, the interaction of mind and matter, and the relationship between thought and language. Cognitive Science addresses long-standing questions about the nature of thought, intelligence, perception, memory, emotion, and other aspects of our mental life by employing the methodologies of the contributing disciplines mentioned above, including philosophical reflection and argument, experimental psychology, the modeling of intelligence with machines, and the investigation of the biological basis of cognition.

Major Requirements

To major in Cognitive Science, students take total of at least 48 units. Along with seven required courses, students select at least one course each from the approved list of courses in Linguistics and Philosophy. Electives can be any course with a COGS designation, can be drawn from the approved lists of courses in Linguistics and Philosophy, or selected from the additional electives list.

COURSEWORK

Students are encouraged to take COGS 201 as early as possible, as preparation for other courses in the major and as a framework to fulfill the second-stage writing requirement.

REQUIRED COURSES

COGS 101Introduction to Cognitive Science

4 units

COGS 201Empirical Methods in Cognitive Science

4 units

PHIL 150Formal Logic

4 units

COGS 242Computational Approaches to Cognition

4 units

COGS 306/PSYC 306Cognitive Psychology

4 units

COGS 320Cognitive Neuroscience

4 units

COGS 490Senior Seminar in Cognitive Science

4 units

Linguistics

Students must select one course from the list below:

COGS 330Linguistics for Cognitive Science

4 units

LING 301Introduction to Linguistics

4 units

LING 350/PSYC 351Psycholinguistics

4 units

Philosophy

Students must select one course from the list below:

COGS 308/PHIL 343Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science

4 units

PHIL 242Minds, Agents, and Persons

4 units

PHIL 243Representation and Reality

4 units

PHIL 340Evidence, Reasoning, Science, and Truth

4 units

PHIL 342Theory of Knowledge

4 units

PHIL 344Language, Translation, and Meaning

4 units

PHIL 345Consciousness and Cognition

4 units

PHIL 311Wittgenstein

4 units

Additional Electives

Electives can be any course with a COGS designation, can be drawn from the approved lists of courses in Linguistics and Philosophy, or can be selected from the additional electives list. A maximum of 4 units can be applied to the major from COGS 390, COGS 395, and COGS 495. All students are also encouraged to take statistics and computer science coursework.

BIO 240Vertebrate Physiology

4 units

BIO 268Biostatistics

4 units

BIO 320Developmental Biology

4 units

BIO 333Neurobiology

4 units

BIO 340Sensory Biology and Neurophysiology

4 units

BIO 373Computational Biology

4 units

BIO 378Animal Behavior

4 units

COMP 113Data Science

4 units

COMP 131Fundamentals of Computer Science

4 units

COMP 146Statistics

4 units

COMP 149Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science

4 units

COMP 331Natural Language Processing

4 units

COMP 347Machine Learning

4 units

COMP 353Information Theory

4 units

CSLC 246Cognitive Science and Culture: New Encounters with Ancient Rome

4 units

ECON 305Game Theory

4 units

ECON 340Behavioral Economics

4 units

KINE 301Human Anatomy II

4 units

KINE 304Human Physiology

4 units

KINE 310/PSYC 310Motor Learning and Control

4 units

LING 355Sociolinguistics

4 units

MATH 150Statistical Data Analysis

4 units

MATH 186Network Models

4 units

MATH 330Probability

4 units

MATH 350Mathematical Logic

4 units

MATH 352/COMP 352Computability and Complexity

4 units

MATH 354Set Theory and Foundations of Mathematics

4 units

MATH 370Numerical Analysis

4 units

MATH 392Mathematical Models in Biology

4 units

PHIL 210Modern Philosophy

4 units

PHIL 222Knowledge and Power

4 units

PHIL 233Bioethics

4 units

PHIL 241Paradoxes

4 units

PHIL 251Logic, Problem Solving, and Education

4 units

PHIL 310Topics in Modern Philosophy

4 units

PHIL 341Philosophy of Space and Time

4 units

PHIL 350Metalogic

4 units

PHIL 361Philosophy and Children

4 units

PSYC 111/COGS 111The Origins of Knowledge

4 units

PSYC 201Statistics in Psychological Science

4 units

PSYC 302Perception

4 units

PSYC 322LPhysiological Psychology Laboratory

2 units

PSYC 403Psychophysiology

4 units

PSYC 444Thinking and Reasoning

4 units

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students will normally fulfill the second-stage writing requirement by passing both the Research Proposal and Scientific Research Paper assignments in COGS 201: Empirical Methods in Cognitive Science with a grade of C or better. Students who do not successfully complete both assignments with a grade of C or better will be required to submit a writing portfolio to the Department Chair no later than the midterm of the following semester. This portfolio will be prepared in consultation with the COGS 201 instructor.

Comprehensive Requirement

In the senior year the student carries out a project or writes a thesis on a topic in Cognitive Science related to their prior coursework. The project or thesis is coordinated with the work of the Cognitive Science Senior Seminar. All majors take the Senior Seminar in the fall semester of the senior year. Those students intending to do an empirical project for their senior comprehensives or who intend to go on to graduate school in cognitive science or in a related field should discuss taking a statistics course and gaining research experience prior to their senior year with their adviser.

College Honors

Honors in Cognitive Science may be awarded to graduating seniors who demonstrate excellence in their course work and distinction in their senior comprehensive project. To be eligible, students must have a 3.5 grade point average in the major and a 3.25 overall grade point average. In addition, the comprehensive project or thesis must be judged as a "pass with distinction."

Minor Requirements

A total of 24 units, including COGS 101 and five other courses any of which can come from the list of required courses, the approved lists of courses in Linguistics and Philosophy, or have a COGS designation. One of these can be a course selected from the additional electives list.

Transfer Credit Policies

The Cognitive Science Department may accept online courses for major, minor, and general elective credit. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Courses

Cognitive Science Courses

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Carmel Levitan, chair

Associate Professor 

B.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Carolyn Brighouse

Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs

Professor, Cognitive Science, Philosophy

B.A., University of Liverpool; M.A., Ph.D., University of Southern California

Justin Li

Assistant Professor, Cognitive Science, Computer Science

B.S., Northwestern University; Ph.D., University of Michigan

Michael Shelton

Associate Professor, Spanish and French Studies; Cognitive Science 

B.S., St. Cloud State University; M.A., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Aleksandra Sherman

Assistant Professor 

B.A., Rutgers University; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Andrew Shtulman

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science, Psychology

B.A., Princeton University; Ph.D., Harvard University

Saul Traiger

Professor, Cognitive Science, Philosophy

B.A., State University of New York, Binghamton; M.A., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

On Special Appointment

Dylan Sabo

Non-Tenure Track Associate Professor, Philosophy, Cognitive Science

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kevin Urstadt

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.A., Rutgers; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Riverside