Program Requirements

The core requirements are:

  1. Participation in the Cognitive Science Seminar (INT 200A, 200B, and 200C) for at least three quarters. (Students are encouraged to participate in this seminar throughout their graduate careers).
  2. Completion of at least three cognitive science courses with one each in three different departments. One of the three can be from the student's home department. (Generally, these are courses with cognitive science content that are taught by participating faculty. A list of approved courses for each quarter is provided here, and a list of regularly offered approved courses is provided here.) Further courses can be proposed at any time and will be subject to approval by the Cognitive Science Steering Committee. A student may petition the committee for one course taken at another university to be counted as an elective towards the course requirements.
  3. Completion of a research project, completed before the dissertation, resulting in a written paper suitable for publication. The paper must be prepared under the supervision of a participating faculty member.
  4. Presentation of a talk on the student's dissertation topic area in the Cognitive Science Seminar (INT 200A, 200B, or 200C). This requirement can be completed anytime after the student has advanced to candidacy.
  5. A Ph.D. dissertation centrally focused on a question emerging from cognitive science with at least two committee members representing faculty participating in the Cognitive Science Interdisciplinary Emphasis.

Note that in addition to the Emphasis requirements, students must satisfy all requirements in their home departments. Work completed in satisfaction of departmental Ph.D. requirements may also be used to satisfy Emphasis requirements.

Note about changes to requirements: The requirements have been changed for the 2014-15 academic year. Students entering the program in the 2014-15 academic year or later must follow the current set of requirements. Students who entered the program prior to 2014-15 may choose which set of requirements they wish to follow. The pre-2014-15 requirements, along with the list of 2014-15 changes, are linked here. When submitting documentation for emphasis completion, the student should indicate which requirements they have opted to follow.


There are two parts to the Emphasis certification process.

    1. Filing for the emphasis with Graduate Divison

    You will need to officially add the emphasis through Graduate Division, using the Change of Degree Status form, available on their website here.

    You will need to contact the program chair, Mary Brenner, to obtain her signature on this form.

    This petition may be completed at any time, the student does not need to have completed all of the emphasis requirements before filing. Early filing is encouraged!

    2. Submitting documentation to the Cognitive Science program

    On completion, the student should fill out the program-internal Application for Cognitive Science Graduate Emphasis form, listing all the requirements they have completed to fulfill the emphasis. Please contact the program manager Crystal Bae to get this form.

    The student will then submit his/her records of courses, seminars, and completed products to the program manager and the program chair, Mary Brenner. The chair will forward this documentation to the Cognitive Science Steering Committee.

    If all requirements have been completed, the Steering Committee will certify to the Graduate Division that the requirements for the Emphasis have been met, and send a letter to that effect to the student. The Graduate Division will verify completion of the Emphasis and convey this information to the Registrar for inclusion of the Emphasis on the final transcript. Students will graduate from their home department with an Emphasis in Cognitive Science. For example, a student in the Linguistics department who completes the requirements will receive a Ph.D. in "Linguistics, with an Emphasis in Cognitive Science".