Cognitive Science Program
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Cognitive Science Major Requirements


Before declaring, prospective majors must have completed and obtained a grade of C+ or better in two Cognitive Science-approved courses. These two courses must be from two different core areas: Cognitive Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, or Philosophy. See lists of Currently Approved aand Previously Approved Courses for Cognitive Science.


  • An overall grade point average of 2.0 or better for all Cognitive Science courses completed at the University.
  • A minimum grade of "C" is required for all courses to be applied to the major. (This requirement is effective for students who declared after November 2010.)
  • 30 credit hours of Cognitive Science-approved courses, including:
    • Either Math 1310 (Calculus I) or Math 1220 (Applied Calculus ll) or equivalent approved course
    • A Cognitive Science course in each of the following five core areas:
      • Cognitive Psychology
      • Computer Science
      • Linguistics
      • Neuroscience
      • Philosophy*
    • A concentration of two courses at the 4000-or-above level in one of the five core areas (with the exception of Philosophy*, in which 3000-level Philosophy courses are equivalent to the 4000 level in the other core areas), excluding directed readings, research, or internship courses. Please note: Both 4000-or-above level courses must be taken from the same core area. Majors may unofficially choose to complete more than one concentration.

  • (COGS 3960: Cognitive Science Research may be taken any semester for independent research. This research course credit does not count toward fulfilling the requirement of thirty credit hours for the major.)

CR/NC (Pass/Fail) Courses will not be counted towards the 30 major credit hours.

Declaring A Major In Cognitive Science

Students who are interested in majoring in Cognitive Science should follow the procedures below:

  • Pick up a "Declaration of Major" form in the lobby of Monroe Hall.
    Please do NOT fill out the form.

  • On the Cognitve Science "Major Declaration Worksheet" (Major Declaration Worksheets and Forms), list the courses you have taken and those you intend to take to meet the major requirements. Complete the printed worksheet to include a projected minimum of thirty credits of approved Cognitive Science courses.

  • Print a copy of your current unofficial transcript from SIS.

  • Make an appointment with the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator in 140A Gilmer Hall. Take all of the above materials to your appointment.

Please note: Students are expected to declare a major by the last day of exams of their fourth semesters.

| Major Requirements | Declaring the Major |
| Approved Courses | Distinguished Majors Program |
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Approved Courses

| Cognitive Psychology | Computer Science | Linguistics | Neuroscience | Philosophy |

The following are some of the courses that have been approved for Cognitive Science majors. This should not be thought of as an exhaustive list. These courses may or may not be offered each semester. Please check the Current Approved Courses page to see which courses are approved for the current or upcoming semester. These approved courses change each semester and are posted as soon as CogSci is notified by each area department.

Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 2100 Introduction to Learning and Behavior
PSYC 2150 Introduction to Cognition
PSYC 2300 Introduction to Perception
PSYC 2301 Introduction to Perception Lab
PSYC 3005 Research Methods and Data Analysis I
PSYC 3006 Research Methods and Data Analysis II
PSYC 3430 Psychology of Aging
PSYC 4110 Psycholinguistics
PSYC 4120 Psychology of Reading
PSYC 4125 Psychology of Language Comprehension
PSYC 4290 Memory Distortions
PSYC 4499 Psychology and Law: Cognitive and Social Issues
PSYC 4500-6 Acquisition of Syntax in Language Development
PSYC 5160 Emotion and Cognition
PSYC 5310 Developmental Psycholinguistics

Computer Science

All CS courses EXCEPT CS 1010 and CS 1020.
EC 2066 counts for credit but does not fill CS area requirement.

Courses typically taken include:

CS 1110: Introduction to Programming
CS 1120: Introduction to Computing: Explorations in Language, Logic, and Machines
CS 2102: Discrete Mathematics


ANTH 2400 Language and Culture
ANTH 3450 Native American Languages
ANTH 3480 Language and Prehistory
ANTH 3490 Language & Thought
ANTH 5040 Linguistics Field Methods
ANTH 5410 Phonology
ANTH 5420 Theories of Language
ANTH 5440 Morphology
ANTH 5549 Mind in Language
LNGS 3250 Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Analysis
PSYC 4500-6 Acquisition of Syntax in Language Development
PSYC 5310 Developmental Psycholinguistics


PSYC 2200 A Survey of the Neural Basis of Behavior
PSYC 4200 Neural Mechanisms of Behavior*
PSYC 4250 Brain Systems Involved in Memory
PSYC 4500-2 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
PSYC 5200 Seminar in Psychobiology
PSYC 5220 Critical Period Plasticity
PSYC 5500-4 Neuroplasticity and
BIOL 3050 (previously 3170) Introduction to Neurobiology*
BIOL 4080 Neuronal Organization of Behavior
BIOL 4270 Animal Behavior Laboratory
BIOL 4330 Wiring the Brain
BME 3636 Neural Network Models of Cognition and Brain Computation

* Students may count PSYC 4200 OR BIOL 3050 (previously 3170) towards the major, but NOT both.


PHIL 2330 Computers, Minds and Brains
PHIL 2420 Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 3320 Epistemology
PHIL 3330 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 3630 Philosophy of Language
PHIL 5420 Symbolic Logic (Advanced)
PHIL 5470 Philosophy of Mathematics

The Distinguished Majors Program
in Cognitive Science

| Distinguished Majors Program Application Form |

Cognitive Science majors who have completed 18 credit hours towards their major and who have a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better may apply to the Distinguished Majors Program. Students who are accepted must complete a thesis based on two semesters of empirical or theoretical research. Upon successful completion of the program, students will likely be recommended for a baccalaureate award of Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction.

DMP Requirements

Students applying to the Distinguished Major Program must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 and have completed 18 credit hours towards their Cognitive Science major by the end of the semester in which they apply. In addition to the major requirements for Cognitive Science, students must register for two semesters of supervised research in COGS 4970 and COGS 4980: Distinguished Major Thesis. Additionally, concurrent registration in PSYC 3870: Seminar for Distinguished Majors is recommended. Based on their independent research, students must complete a thesis at least one month prior to graduation. Please note: The DMP credits do not apply towards the 30 credit hours required for the major.

When to Apply

Students must apply by the third semester prior to graduation. Spring graduates must submit their applications by March 31st of the year before graduation. Fall graduates must submit their applications by October 31st of the year prior to graduation. Distinguished Majors Program Application Form

How to Apply

1) Decide on a project.
Before applying to the DMP, students should decide what project they would like to complete in the program. They should compose a general description of the project, including what type of research they will complete (empirical or literature review) and what the final product will be (thesis or review paper). The project proposal need not be very detailed as long as the essential elements are included.

2) Enlist a faculty advisor and second reader.
Next, students must secure a faculty advisor and reader for the DMP project. These should be selected from the Cognitive Science faculty (those faculty members from the five areas of Cognitive Science who teach courses for the Cognitive Science program) or some other faculty members who are specifically suited for advising the project. The selected faculty should sign the application form after approving the project proposal. 

The advisor and reader should be in different areas of Cognitive Science.  For example, if the student's advisor is in the Neuroscience area, the reader may be in the Cognitive Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics or Philosophy area. A third reader may be brought in from the same field as the advisor if it would be beneficial to do so (e.g., for a highly specific thesis topic that would be most thoroughly understood by someone in that field).

3) Submit.
Submit the application with the project proposal to the Cognitive Science Program. Materials may be left with the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator in Gilmer 140A. 
Notification regarding acceptances will follow program review of the proposals.

DMP Procedure

Upon acceptance to the program, candidates should register for COGS 4970 for the first semester of participation. Students should then register for COGS 4980 for the second semester of participation. Additionally, concurrent registration in PSYC 3870 is recommended for each semester. Distinguished Major candidates should arrange to meet regularly with their advisors during both semesters to obtain guidance with their work and feedback on their progress. By the last day of final exams of the fall semester, students may prepare a progress report and discuss the report with their advisors. Early in the second semester, DMP candidates may be asked to share their projects with their fellow candidates and advisors in an informal setting.

The thesis must be completed and submitted with an evaluation form to the thesis advisor and reader at least thirty days prior to graduation. Following consideration of the submitted evaluations, Cognitive Science program recommendations for levels of distinction will be sent to the registrar for addition to diplomas.


Students will usually receive a recommendation for a baccalaureate award of Distinction, High Distinction or Highest Distinction upon successful completion of the Distinguished Major Program. The thesis advisor and second reader will each give an independent rating to the thesis based on the following: 3 = exceptional thesis (in the top 10% of all DMP theses); 2 = very good thesis; 1 = good/acceptable thesis; and 0 = marginal thesis.  The student's GPA will be assigned a value that will be averaged in with the two scores to arrive at the final rating. 

GPA scores are determined as follows: 3 = 3.8 and above; 2 = 3.6-3.79; and 1 = 3.4-3.59. Students who fall below a 3.4 GPA are no longer eligible to be distinguished majors.

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