Academic Program

Declaring Cognitive Science and Major Requirements


Prerequisites for Declaring (Courses taken in Spring 2020 that recieve a grade of "Credit" can be used for the major)

Prospective majors must complete and obtain a grade of C+ or better in two Cognitive Science-approved courses at UVA except during Spring 2020 when the College reverted grading to C/NC--You must recieve a grade of "Credit." These two courses must be from two different core areas. The five areas are Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, or Philosophy. You can see lists of Currently and Frequently Approved Courses by going to the Approved Courses  page of the website.

Declaring the Cognitive Science Major Electronically

  1. Self-Check Eligibility to Declare
    • Make sure you have completed or are currently enrolled in two pre-requisite courses. Each course must be from different areas (for example PSYC 2200/Neuroscience; CS 1110/Computer Science). Visit this page for details:
      • Cognitive Psychology
      • Neuroscience
      • Computer Science
      • Philosophy
      • Linguistics
    • Determine if you have fulfilled the COGS Math requirement. MATH REQUIREMENT: Math 1310 (Calculus I or higher) or Math 1220 (Applied Calculus ll) or APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I or higher) or equivalent director approved course. If you have transfer or test credit for any of these courses or an equivalent course approved by the director-- the course can fulfill the requirement but will not count toward your 30 program hours. If you take or plan to take an approved Math course at UVA, it will count toward your 30 program hours.
    • Decide on a concentration area- Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Philosophy, or Linguistics. . 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). NOTE: You cannot concentrate in the same COGS area as your other major. For example,  if you are majoring in Psychology--you cannot concentrate in Psychology for COGS; if you are majoring in Computer Science--you cannot concentrate in CS. 
    • You must have a C+ or above to use COGS courses as pre-requisites except during Spring 2020 when the College reverted grading to C/NC--You must recieve a grade of credit. If you are currently enrolled in the pre-requisite(s), you can go ahead and fill out the declaration forms but they will not be processed until your grade(s) is submitted.
  2. Complete the Declaration Worksheet.
    • Review your unofficial transcript from SIS to assist in completing the forms.
    • Fill in the “Prerequisite Courses” portion of the form. Copy your two prerequisite courses into the “Core Requirements” section or “Concentration” section if applicable. If you are concentrating in LINGS/PHIL/CS upper level courses are 3000+. If you are concentrating in PSYC or NEURO; upper level courses are 4000+
    • Add any additional courses to the worksheet you have completed. This can include the math requirement, electives, or COGS approved course where you received a “C.” Any grade below a “C” will not be counted for the program.
    • Fill in the other courses that you would like to take to satisfy all major requirements. The courses you list are simply your “best guesses” about the courses you will likely take; these guesses are not binding and courses can be rearranged or substituted as necessary or desired in the future.
  3. Complete the the Declaration of Major Form based upon the worksheet.
    • Declaration of Major Form

      • In the "Intended Major" line, do not forget to put your concentration as well as the major. For example, if you are concentrating in Neuroscience; you write:  Cognitive Science-Neuroscience
      • Where it says: "Complete the bottom portion of this form with a major advisor" copy the courses you used in completing the worksheet core, concentration, and elective course areas till you have a minimum of 10.  
      • DO NOT fill out the Student's Major Advisor or Approval sections
      • Be sure to sign and date the form at the bottom
  4. Email the completed worksheet and signed Declaration of Major forms to
  5. If you have questions or problems with the declaration process, contact the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator—Debra McLafferty—by email ( or phone (434-982-3019)

    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.

    Requirements for Major

    • PROGRAM GPA: An overall grade point average of 2.0 or better for all Cognitive Science courses completed at the University.
    • APPROVED COURSE GPA: 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 fulfilling requirements including:
      • MATH REQUIREMENT: Math 1310 (Calculus I or higher) or Math 1220 (Applied Calculus ll) or APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I or higher) or equivalent approved course. Please note that Math 1210 will not fulfill the COGS requirement. 
      • CORE AREA REQUIREMENT: At least one Cognitive Science course in each of the following five core areas:
        • Cognitive Psychology
        • Computer Science*
        • Linguistics*
        • Neuroscience
        • Philosophy*
      • CONCENTRATION AREA REQUIREMENT: 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.

    Research, Transfer, and Study Abroad Credit

    Research Credit

    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 can only be used to satisfy the Math requirement. Transfer or AP credit used to fufill the Math requirement 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 cognitive science courses toward the 30 credit hours for the major. The approved courses will only count as elective course credits, and must be approved by the Program Director. Please send the syllabi for the courses to for approval.


    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