Courses & Requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2022-2023 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

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.

Requirements

Major

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

Required Courses

COGS 101Introduction to Cognitive Science

4 units

PHIL 150Formal Logic

4 units

COGS 201Empirical Methods in Cognitive Science

4 units

COGS 306/PSYC 306Cognitive Psychology

4 units

COGS 320Cognitive Neuroscience

4 units

COGS 490Senior Seminar in Cognitive Science

4 units

Computation

Students must select one course from the list below:

COGS 242Computational Approaches to Cognition

4 units

COGS 243Computational Neuroscience: Minds, Math and Machines

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 308Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science

4 units

PHIL 242Minds, Agents, and Persons

4 units

PHIL 243Representation and Reality

4 units

PHIL 311Wittgenstein

4 units

PHIL 323Logic, Language, and Knowledge in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Philosophy

4 units

PHIL 342Theory of Knowledge

4 units

PHIL 344Language, Translation, and Meaning

4 units

PHIL 345Consciousness and Cognition

4 units

Additional Electives

Electives can be any course with a COGS designation, can be drawn from the approved lists of courses in Computation, 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 325/COGS 325Topics in Artificial Intelligence

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

EDUC 205/LLAS 206The Politics and Pedagogy of First and Second Language Acquisition

4 units

KINE 301Human Anatomy II

4 units

KINE 304Human Physiology

4 units

KINE 310/PSYC 310Motor Learning and Control

4 units

LING 351Phonetics

4 units

MATH 150Statistical Data Analysis

4 units

MATH 330Probability

4 units

MATH 350/PHIL 350Metalogic

4 units

MATH 354Set Theory and Foundations of Mathematics

4 units

MATH 370Numerical Analysis

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 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 444Thinking and Reasoning

4 units

WRD 275Popular Science Writing

4 units

Students may also apply PHIL 395 as an elective in Cognitive Science if they have enrolled in the "Science and Social Values" section of the course.

Honors in the Major

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

A total of 24 units. Students must take COGS 101, and 20 additional units of 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. A maximum of 4 units of research may be applied to the minor. 

Second-Stage Writing Proficiency

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.

Advising Information

Students interested in the Cognitive Science major are encouraged to take COGS 101 during the first year and COGS 201 (Empirical Methods in Cognitive Science) during sophomore year. All interested students should meet with a Cognitive Science faculty member early on to discuss opportunities for research, study abroad, and more. If you wish to be invited to our events (such as seminars, social events, and open advising sessions), please contact the department chair.

Placement Information

No placement exams are specifically required for the Cognitive Science major.

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • COGS 101 (CPMS)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 2

  • COGS 201 (CPLS)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 3

  • Computation

  • COGS 306

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

Curricular Notes

Our major is flexible and has multiple introductory courses with no prerequisites, including:

All of these courses count towards the major. 

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