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Cognitive Science

The field of Cognitive Science uses scientific methods of experimentation, computational modeling, and brain imaging to study mental abilities such as perception, action, memory, cognition, speech, and language, as well as the development and evolution of those processes. Students must become knowledgeable in four areas of emphasis: perception, cognition, language, and cognitive neuroscience, as well as a set of methods relevant to Cognitive Science research. Students then create their own focus area of study, potentially integrating coursework from the Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences department with a diverse subset of fields including Computer Science, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Anthropology, Applied Math and Education.The A.B. program is primarily for students interested in studying human mental processes and acquiring a research orientation to the study of the mind. The Sc.B. program is designed for students who wish to develop a stronger background in Cognitive Science and requires students to engage in a specific research project in the focus area of their choosing. We recommend that prospective concentrators register for one of the gateway courses and at least one other core course in their first or second year. 

Concentration Requirements (Effective, Class of 2019)

The A.B. concentration requires 12 courses.  The Sc.B concentration additionally requires 1 laboratory course and 4 approved science courses, totaling to a total of 17 required courses. 

Common Core

The introductory course, “CLPS 0010 Mind, Brain, and Behavior,” surveys the broad territory of the scientific study of the mind, as uniquely represented by our department.  The course maps the breadth of the science of the mind, focusing on fascinating questions, garnered insights, common commitments, and successful techniques and approaches. The course could be taken by students interested in the CLPS concentrations or as an introduction at the beginning of one’s college career or as an integration after having completed a number of specialized courses in a particular concentration.

Careers in Cognitive Science and related fields requires familiarity with statistics.  Therefore, the Cognitive Science concentration requires a course in Quantitative Methods (CLPS 0900). CLPS 0900 is a prerequisite for most of the laboratory courses, so concentrators should plan to take this course by their fourth semester.  The department does not grant concentration credit of AP Statistics, regardless of score.  Students who feel that CLPS 0900 is too elementary can complete an approved alternative course (e.g., APMA 1650CLPS 2906).

Foundation

To provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge in their area of concentration and to minimize redundancy, the Cognitive Science concentration requires four foundation courses in Human Cognition, Perception, Language, and Computational Methods.  

Electives

Each concentrator will take four additional courses that allow the student to go into depth in some of the relevant topics.  These electives must include at least two courses in one of the four foundation topics (i.e., Human Cognition, Perception, Language, and Computational Methods).  The courses designed to count as electives will often have foundation courses as prerequisites and may include laboratory courses, content courses, or seminars.  

Research Methods and Capstone

Another element in the Cognitive Science concentration is a research methods course that builds on the introductory statistics course (which will be a prerequisite) but exposes students to a variety of topics in research of the mind: to empirical methods (e.g., surveys, chronometry, eye tracking, brain imaging), to common designs (e.g., factorial experimental, correlational, longitudinal), to research ethics, and to best practices of literature review.  Concentrators will additionally take either a seminar course or an independent research course to serve as their capstone experience.

Additional requirements for Sc.B.

In line with university expectations, the Sc.B. requirements include a greater number of courses and especially science courses. The definition of “science” is flexible.  A good number of these courses will be outside of CLPS, but several CLPS courses might fit into a coherent package as well.  In addition, the Sc.B. degree also requires a lab course to provide these students with in-depth exposure to research methods in a particular area of the science of the mind.  

Honors Requirement

The Research Methods course will serve as a requirement for admission to the Honors program in Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychology.  Previously, any lab course served as this requirement.  This practice not only demanded a large number of lab courses as part of the CLPS curriculum but also suffered from frequent mismatches between the type of research the student wished to pursue and the type of lab course available in the relevant semesters.  A more general research methods course is likely to prepare students better and more broadly than any single lab course can.

FOR DETAILED UPDATES, PLEASE REFER TO THE COGNITIVE, LINGUISTIC, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES (CLPS) UNDERGRADUATE PAGE.

Requirements for the A.B. degree

STANDARD PROGRAM FOR THE A.B. DEGREE 1
CLPS 0010Mind, Brain and Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Approach1
CLPS 0900Statistical Methods1
One approved course in Human Cognition, such as:1
Human Cognition
Making Decisions
One approved course in Perception:1
Perception and Mind
One approved course in Language, such as:1
Language and the Mind
CLPS 0300
Introduction to Linguistics
One approved course in Computational Methods, such as:1
CLPS 0950
Introduction to Programming
Computational Methods for Mind, Brain and Behavior
Four Approved Electives related to Cognitive Science, such as:4
Computational Probability and Statistics
Evolutionary Biology
Animal Cognition
Mechanisms of Motivated Decision Making
Perception and Action
Cognitive Development
Language Processing
Theory of Computation
Building Intelligent Robots
Emotion, Cognition, Education
Communication Systems
Philosophy of Mind
One Independent Study or Approved Seminar, such as:1
The Neural Bases of Cognition
Cognitive Aging and Dementia
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
Affective Neuroscience
Visually-Guided Action and Cognitive Processes
CLPS 1900Research Design and Methods1
Total Credits12

Requirements for the Sc.B. degree

STANDARD PROGRAM FOR THE Sc.B. DEGREE 1
CLPS 0010Mind, Brain and Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Approach1
CLPS 0900Statistical Methods1
One approved course in Human Cognition, such as:1
Human Cognition
Making Decisions
One approved course in Perception:1
Perception and Mind
One approved course in Language, such as:1
Language and the Mind
CLPS 0300
Introduction to Linguistics
One approved course in Computational Methods, such as:1
CLPS 0950
Introduction to Programming
Computational Methods for Mind, Brain and Behavior
Four Approved Electives related to Cognitive Science, such as:4
Computational Probability and Statistics
Evolutionary Biology
Animal Cognition
Mechanisms of Motivated Decision Making
Perception and Action
Cognitive Development
Language Processing
Theory of Computation
Building Intelligent Robots
Emotion, Cognition, Education
Communication Systems
Philosophy of Mind
One Independent Study or Approved Seminar, such as:1
The Neural Bases of Cognition
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
Affective Neuroscience
Visually-Guided Action and Cognitive Processes
CLPS 1990
Senior Seminar in Cognition
CLPS 1900Research Design and Methods1
One Approved Laboratory Course, such as:1
Experimental Analysis of Animal Behavior and Cognition
Laboratory in Genes and Behavior
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Auditory Perception Laboratory
Visualizing Vision
Laboratory in Social Cognition
Laboratory in Psycholinguistics
Four Approved Science Courses, such as:4
The Foundation of Living Systems
Principles of Physiology
Organic Chemistry
Computer Vision
CSCI 1950F
Introduction to Machine Learning
Neuroengineering
Introductory Calculus, Part II
Neural Systems
Introduction to Neurogenetics
Basic Physics A
Total Credits17
1

For the current list of approved course in all categories, see the CLPS Cognitive Science page.