Academic Program

Cognitive Science Major Requirements


Prospective majors must complete and obtain 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 and 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. Ungraded courses cannot be applied to the major's 30 hour requirement.
  • 30 credit hours of Cognitive Science-approved courses, including:
    • Either Math 1310 (Calculus I) or Math 1220 (Applied Calculus ll) or APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I) or equivalent approved course. Please note that Math 1210 will not fulfill the COGS requirement. 
    • 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*, Computer Science*, and Linguistics* in which 3000-level 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.
    • CR/NC (Pass/Fail) Courses will not be counted towards the 30 major credit hours.


COGS 3960: Cognitive Science Research may be taken any semester for independent research. Although particpation in research is encouraged, research course credit does not count toward fulfilling the requirement of 30 credit hours for the major. For research opportunities in related fields, please look at the Research Experience page.

Transfer Credit

Transfer or advanced placement credit from another institution may be used to satisfy only the Math requirement. However, this will not count towards the 30 credit hours required for completion of the major.

Study Abroad Credit

If you plan on studying abroad, you may count 2 courses toward the 30 credit hours for the major. The courses will be counted as elective credits, and must be approved by the Program Director. Please send the syllabi for the courses to for approval.

Declaring A Major In Cognitive Science

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

  • If you plan on concentrating in Computer Science, or double majoring in either Psychology or Computer Science, you need to complete additional paperwork before declaring (see Major Declaration Worksheets and Forms) .

  • On the Cognitve Science "Major Declaration Worksheet" (Major Declaration Worksheets and Forms), list the courses you have taken and those you intend to take from the Approved Courses page to meet the major requirements. Complete the worksheet (including the concentration area) to include a projected minimum of thirty credits of approved Cognitive Science courses and print your completed form.

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

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

  • Make an appointment with the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator (Debra McLafferty) at Take all of the above materials to your declaration meeting to Debra's office in 140A Gilmer.

Please note: Students are expected to declare a major by the last day of exams of their fourth semesters. If your grades have not yet been posted, you can complete the paperwork and the coordinator will submit it to the College when your grades have been posted.

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. Students wishing to do an empirical study with humans, requiring data collection and analysis, need to take PSYC 2005, or provide some other proof that they can analyze their data. 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.


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at