Undergraduate Major


Admission to the major is granted to students in good standing, who have passed COGST 1101 Introduction to Cognitive Science and two additional cognitive science courses with grades of C+ or better (the two additional courses can be crosslisted). Provisional admission requires COGST 1101 - Introduction to Cognitive Science and one additional cognitive science course.

To apply to the major and receive an advisor, please fill out the major application form and return it to the program office (278a Uris Hall) or email it to Julie Simmons-Lynch, jes257@cornell.edu.

General Requirements

Majors are required to take three core courses that provide introductions to cognitive science and relevant methods, as well as a selection of upper-level courses that provide interdisciplinary breadth and depth within the field. Students have the opportunity to participate in lab/field/independent study and complete an honors thesis. The major requires 40 credits, comprising of at least 12 courses. All courses must be taken for a letter grade. Students must earn a grade of C- or better to count a course toward the major.

Introductory Core (3 courses) 

Select one:

• COGST 1101 - Introduction to Cognitive Science (crosslisted)

• COGST 2200 - The Human Brain and Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (crosslisted)


Statistical reasoning: 

Select one:

• BTRY 3010 - Biological Statistics I (crosslisted)

• PSYCH 2500 - Statistics and Research Design

• SOC 3010 - Statistics for Sociological Research

• STSCI 2150 - Introductory Statistics for Biology

• STSCI 2200 - Biological Statistics I (crosslisted)


Structured thinking/data science: 

Select one:

• CS 1380 - Data Science for All (crosslisted)

• COGST 2310 - Introduction to Deductive Logic (crosslisted)

Interdisciplinary Distribution Concentrations (3 courses)

Students must take at least one course from three of five concentrations below to ensure interdisciplinary breadth. A course can only be counted once for the interdisciplinary distribution requirement. Additional courses can be taken within a single concentration for the purpose of in-depth study. (In addition, select specialized courses may be counted toward the major based on the academic advisor's approval.)

• Language Science

The Language Science concentration covers the interdisciplinary approach to language, drawing on linguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, developmental science and philosophy to provide a broad perspective on the unique human ability for language.

• COGST 2150 - Psychology of Language (crosslisted)

• COGST 2264 - [Language, Mind, and Brain] (crosslisted)

• COGST 3330 - [Problems in Semantics] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4240 - Computational Linguistics I (crosslisted)

• COGST 4270 - Evolution of Language (crosslisted)

• COGST 4280 - [Computational Psycholinguistics] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4425 - Pragmatics (crosslisted)

• COGST 4740 - Natural Language Processing (crosslisted)


• Evolution and Development

The Evolution and Development concentration allows students to study the emergence of behavior across ontogenetic and phylogenetic timescales, and how these may interact (so-called evo-devo).

• COGST 2090 - Developmental Psychology (crosslisted)

• COGST 2300 - Cognitive Development (crosslisted)

• COGST 4260 - Cognitive Behavioral Ecology (crosslisted)

• COGST 4270 - Evolution of Language (crosslisted)


• Computational Cognitive Science

The Computational Cognitive Science concentration focuses on the role of computation, broadly construed, in explaining and understanding cognition and the mind.

• COGST 3140 - Computational Psychology (crosslisted)

• COGST 3300 - [Introduction to Computational Neuroscience] (crosslisted)

• COGST 3801 - Introduction to Game Theory and Strategic Thinking (crosslisted)

• COGST 4240 - Computational Linguistics I (crosslisted)

• COGST 4280 - [Computational Psycholinguistics] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4740 - Natural Language Processing (crosslisted)


• Cognitive Neuroscience

The Cognitive Neuroscience concentration explores the insights offered by neurobiological approaches to understanding how the mind works.

• COGST 2230 - Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience (crosslisted)

• COGST 2264 - [Language, Mind, and Brain] (crosslisted)

• COGST 3250 - Neurochemistry of Human Behavior (crosslisted)

• COGST 3300 - [Introduction to Computational Neuroscience] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4230 - Navigation, Memory, and Context: What Does the Hippocampus Do? (crosslisted)


• Mind and Culture

The Mind and Culture concentration aims to understand cognition in the context of its fundamental embedding in culture, drawing on insights from the humanities and social sciences.

• COGST 1111 - Change-making: Designing Healthy & Hospitable Environments (crosslisted)

• COGST 2621 - [Minds and Machines] (crosslisted)

• COGST 3160 - Auditory Perception: The Music Lab (crosslisted)

• COGST 3420 - Human Perception: Application to Computer Graphics, Art, and Visual Display (crosslisted)

• COGST 4050 - [Judgment and Decision Making] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4150 - [Culture, Cognition, Humanities] (crosslisted)

• COGST 4310 - Topics in Cognitive Science (crosslisted)

• COGST 4625 - [Topics in Philosophy of Mind] (crosslisted)


Area Distribution (3 courses)

One course from three different departments.

Depth Distribution (>=3 courses)

At least nine credits must be taken at the 3000/4000 level.

Independent Study

Students are encouraged to take independent study or fieldwork. Up to 12 of these credits may be counted toward the major (with 3 credits = 1 course). A paper or report should result from the independent study. To apply for independent research, please complete the online independent study form.

• COGST 4700 - Undergraduate Research in Cognitive Science

• COGST 4710 - Cognitive Science Research Workshop

The Honors Program

The honors program in Cognitive Science will be designed for exceptionally motivated students who wish to pursue independent research within a specific area of cognitive science. The honors project will be conducted in close mentorship with a cognitive science faculty member. Students will produce a thesis of their work and complete an oral defense.

To join the honors program, students must apply at the end of their junior year. Admittance will require a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major, and a letter of support from a faculty member who will serve as the mentor for the student's thesis project. Students admitted to the honors program must register for 3 or 4 credits of an honors research course in both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year.

Major Application Procedures

Inquiries concerning the undergraduate major should be made to the Cognitive Science program manager, Julie Simmons-Lynch, jes257@cornell.edu, (607) 255-6431, 278A Uris Hall.