Cognitive Science

Coordinator:      K. DAVID HARRISON (Linguistics)
                           Anna Everetts (Administrative Assistant)
Committee:        Alan Baker (Philosophy) 3
                           Peter Baumann (Philosophy)
                           Stella Christie (Psychology)
                           Daniel Grodner (Psychology) 3
                           Lisa Meeden (Computer Science)


3 Absent on leave, 2013–2014.


The Cognitive Science Program has been developed to guide students who are interested in the interdisciplinary study of the mind, brain, and language, with emphases on formal structure, biological information processing, and computation. The program is designed to emphasize guided breadth across various disciplines that contribute to cognitive science as well as depth within a chosen discipline.

The Academic Program

We conceive of cognitive science as a loose federation of six specific disciplines. The disciplines included are neuroscience, computer science (including computer engineering), linguistics, mathematics and statistics, philosophy, and cognitive psychology. To demonstrate breadth, students majoring or minoring in cognitive science are required to complete credits in at least three of these six disciplines.

Course Minor

Six credits are required for the minor. One of these is a required introductory course, COGS 001. The remaining 5 credits are to be distributed across three different disciplines of cognitive science. That is, 2 credits of listed courses, from 3 of the 6 disciplines, must be completed with the exception that in one—and only one—of the three disciplines, a single “focus course” may be used to meet the breadth requirement. Students who wish to use 2 credits in mathematics and statistics as one of their disciplines for a cognitive science minor must choose 2 credits from a single sub-area of mathematics and indicate its relevance to at least one of the two other disciplines chosen for the minor.
The list of courses currently approved as cognitive science courses is rather selective because it is intended to focus students on the most essential cores of cognitive science within each discipline. For disciplines where there are courses designated as focus courses, at least one focus course must be taken to include that discipline in the minor. Many more courses, taught on campus, are closely relevant to cognitive science. This list is subject to periodic re-evaluation.
In addition to fulfilling the breadth requirements, students must indicate one cognitive science field in which they have substantial depth of preparation. Such depth can be documented by completion of at least 4 courses from within a cognitive science discipline (even if some of those courses are not directly related to cognitive science). Alternative curricular and extracurricular ways of fulfilling the depth requirement may be discussed with the coordinator.

Honors Minor

To complete an honors minor in cognitive science, students must complete all requirements listed above. The honors preparation for the minor will normally be a 2-credit unit approved by the relevant department from courses listed for the minor. The minor preparation must be within a discipline that is not the student’s honors major. Students are encouraged to develop an appropriate preparation in consultation with the coordinator.

Special Major

Typically, the program for a special major in cognitive science involves fulfilling all requirements for the minor and then adding 4 or more cognitive science related courses, bringing the total number of credits up to 10–12. Note that these additional credits may include courses not listed as eligible for the minor, subject to the approval of the program coordinator. Students who special major in cognitive science are normally required to do a 1-credit senior thesis (COGS 090).

Honors Special Major

An honors special major in cognitive science is possible. Students must fulfill all requirements for the minor and take four 2-credit honors preparations. One of these preparations is a Senior Honors Thesis (COGS 180). The other three preparations must be distributed across at least two disciplines within cognitive science. The nature of these honors preparations will be determined by the standard practices of the relevant department.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise

Minors who wish to get formal research experience may choose to complete a 1-credit thesis or a 2-credit honors thesis in cognitive science during their senior year. Non-honors theses in cognitive science will normally be examined by Cognitive Science Committee members from within at least two different departments.


COGS 001. Introduction to Cognitive Science

An introduction to the science of the mind from the perspective of cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and artificial intelligence. The course introduces students to the scientific investigation of such questions as the following: What does it mean to think or to have consciousness? Can a computer have a mind? What does it mean to have a concept? What is language? What kinds of explanations are necessary to explain cognition?
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Durgin, Sikos.

COGS 090. Senior Thesis

The one-credit thesis project can be supervised by any of a number of faculty members associated with the departments in the program but should be approved in advance by the program coordinator. A thesis may be used to establish depth in an area and is normally a required component of a special major in cognitive science.
1 credit.
Each semester. Staff.

COGS 092. Independent Study

1 credit.
Each semester. Staff.

COGS 180. Senior Honors Thesis

2 credits.
Each semester. Staff.

Computer Science

CPSC 063. Artificial Intelligence (focus course)
CPSC 065. Natural Language Processing
CPSC 068. Bioinformatics
CPSC 072. Computer Vision
CPSC 081. Adaptive Robotics (focus course)
CPSC 082. Mobile Robotics


LING 020. Natural Language Processing
LING 040.Semantics (focus course)
LING 043. Morphology and the Lexicon
LING 045. Phonology (focus course)
LING 050. Syntax (focus course)
LING 105. Phonology (focus course)
LING 106. Morphology and the Lexicon
LING 108. Semantics (focus course)
LING 109. Syntax (focus course)


The sub-areas of mathematics and their eligible seminars and courses are the following:
MATH 057. Topics in Algebra
MATH 058. Number Theory
MATH 067. Introduction to Modern Algebra
MATH 077. Advanced Topics in Algebra
MATH 102. Modern Algebra II
MATH 034. Several-Variable Calculus
MATH 044. Differential Equations
MATH 053. Topics in Analysis
MATH 054. Partial Differential Equations
MATH 063. Introduction to Real Analysis
MATH 073. Advanced Topics in Analysis
MATH 101. Real Analysis II
MATH 103. Complex Analysis
Discrete Mathematics
MATH 029. Discrete Mathematics
MATH 046. Theory of Computation
MATH 059. Topics in Discrete Mathematics
MATH 069. Combinatorics
MATH 079. Advanced Topics in Discrete Mathematics
MATH 055. Topics in Geometry
MATH 075. Advanced Topics in Geometry
MATH 106. Advanced Topics in Geometry
STAT 011. Statistical Methods
STAT 031. Data Analysis and Visualization
STAT 061. Probability and Mathematical Statistics
MATH 105. Probability
STAT 111. Mathematical Statistics II
MATH 104. Topology


BIOL 022. Neurobiology (focus course)
BIOL 123. Learning and Memory
PSYC 030. Physiological Psychology
PSYC 031. Cognitive Neuroscience (focus course)
PSYC 091. Advanced Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience
PSYC 130. Physiological Psychology
PSYC 131A. Psychology and Neuroscience


PHIL 012. Logic (focus course)
PHIL 024.Theory of Knowledge
PHIL 026. Language and Meaning
PHIL 031. Advanced Logic (focus course)
PHIL 059. Humans, Animals and Robots
PHIL 086. Philosophy of Mind (focus course)
PHIL 113. Topics in Epistemology
PHIL 116. Language and Meaning
PHIL 118. Philosophy of Mind


PSYC 032. Perception (focus course)
PSYC 033. Cognitive Psychology (focus course)
PSYC 034. Psychology of Language/Psycholinguistics (focus course)
PSYC 039. Developmental Psychology
PSYC 132. Perception, Cognition, and the Embodied Mind
PSYC 134. Psycholinguistics (focus course)
* Focus courses are concerned with issues most central to cognitive science and are normally taught with this objective in mind.