Chair, Associate Professor KRIS N. KIRBY

Advisory Committee: Professors: GERRARD, H. WILLIAMS*. Associate Professors: DANYLUK***, KIRBY. Assistant Professors: CRUZ, ZAKI.

Cognitive science is concerned with how humans, non-human animals, and computers acquire, represent, manipulate, and use information. As an interdisciplinary field it combines research and theory from computer science (e.g., artificial intelligence), cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and neuroscience, and to some extent evolutionary biology, math, and anthropology. Complex issues of cognition are not easily addressed using traditional intra-disciplinary tools. Cognitive researchers in any discipline typically employ a collection of analytic and modeling tools from across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Thus, the methods and research agenda of cognitive science is broader than those of any of the fields that have traditionally contributed to cognitive science. The Cognitive Science Program is designed to provide students with the broad interdisciplinary foundation needed to approach issues of cognition.


The concentration in Cognitive Science consists of six courses, including an introductory course, four electives, and a senior research project.

Minds, Brains, and Intelligent Behavior (COGS 222) is the entry-point into the concentration, and provides an interdisciplinary perspective on issues of cognition. Ideally, it should be taken before the end of the sophomore year. Emphasizing the highly interdisciplinary nature of the field, the four electives must be distributed over at least three course prefixes. In the fall of the senior year, concentrators will conduct interdisciplinary Research in Cognitive Science (COGS 493), supervised by members of the advisory committee from at least two departments.


  1. Cognitive Science 222 Minds, Brains, and Intelligent Behavior: An Introduction to Cognitive Science
  2. Cognitive Science 493 Research in Cognitive Science


  1. Four electives are required, chosen from at least three prefixes, at most two of which can be at the 100 level.
  2. Computer Science 108 Artificial Intelligence: Image and Reality
  3. Computer Science 361 Theory of Computation
  4. Computer Science 373 Artificial Intelligence
  5. Linguistics 101 Introduction to Linguistics
  6. Mathematics 360 Mathematical Logic
  7. Neuroscience 201 Neuroscience
  8. Philosophy 202 Analytic Philosophy-Language and the Mind
  9. Philosophy 331 Epistemology
  10. Philosophy 388T Consciousness
  11. Psychology 221 Cognitive Psychology
  12. Psychology 322 Concepts: Mind, Brain, and Culture
  13. Psychology 326 Decision Making


The following courses are recommended for students seeking a richer background in cognitive science. These will not count as electives for the cognitive science concentration.

  1. Biology 204 Animal Behavior
  2. Biology 305 Evolution
  3. Mathematics 433 Mathematical Modeling and Control Theory
  4. Philosophy 209 Philosophy of Science
  5. Psychology 201 or Statistics 101, 201, 231, or 331


Formal admission to candidacy for honors will occur at the end of the fall semester of the senior year and will be based on promising performance in COGS 493. This program will consist of COGS W031-494(S), and will be supervised by members of the advisory committee from at least two departments. Presentation of a thesis, however, should not be interpreted as a guarantee of a degree with honors.