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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2016-17

Cognitive Science

Chair: Adina Roskies (Philosophy)

Professors S. J. Brison (Philosophy), D.J. Bucci (Psychological and Brain Science), M. A. Casey (Music, Computer Science), H. Farid (Computer Science), R. H. Granger (Psychology), H. C. Hughes (Psychology), J. H. Moor (Philosophy), A. L. Roskies (Philosophy), L. Whaley (Classics, Linguistics); Associate Professors D. Balkom (Computer Science), J. V. Kulvicki (Philosophy), D. A. Peterson (Linguistics), L. Torresani (Computer Science), P. U. Tse (Psychology), T. Wheatley (Psychological and Brain Sciences); Assistant Professor: F. Briggs (Physiology and Neurobiology), D. Kraemer (Education), A. Soltani (Psychological and Brain Sciences), J. N. Stanford (Linguistics), C. J. Thomas (Philosophy), K. Walden (Philosophy); Research Assistant Professor: E. A. Cooper (Cognitive Science, Psychological and Brain Sciences)


To view Cognitive Science courses, click here.

Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science is the study of cognition from an interdisciplinary perspective, is largely informed by models of information processing. Contributing disciplines include cognitive and physiological psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, as well as other fields, such as anthropology and sociology. Topics of focus include perception, memory, reasoning and language.

Dartmouth’s cognitive science program is issues-oriented and relies on methods drawn from a number of disciplines. Students pursuing a major should become familiar with the basic approaches to cognition of psychology, philosophy, computer science and linguistics. This breadth is complemented by the depth provided by the focus area, elective courses chosen under the guidance of an advisor, which allows students to gain specialized knowledge in a particular topical area of cognitive science.

Cognitive Science Major

Prior to the Class of 2020:

The prerequisites for the cognitive science major are: (a) COGS 2/PSYC 28 and (b) PSYC 10 or SOCY 10 or equivalent.

1.   LING 1

2.   COSC 1 (formerly COSC 5)

3.   PHIL 26 (Philosophy and Computers) or  35 (Philosophy of Mind)

4.   PSYC 11 (Principles of Human Brain Mapping with fMRI) or PSYC 64 (Experimental Study of Human Perception and Cognition), or approved equivalent

5.   One course that satisfies the requirement for a culminating activity, which may be met in one of three ways:

a.   completing a senior Honors thesis (COGS 87)

b.  taking an advanced seminar in cognitive science (COGS 81); or a relevant advanced seminar in Linguistics (e.g. LING 80), Philosophy (PHIL 80), or PBS or Education. Courses must be approved by the steering committee.

c.   carrying out a one or two term independent study project (COGS 85).

Electives: Five additional courses selected from those listed below. At least two of the four areas must be represented:

1.   PSYC 21, PSYC 25, PSYC 26, PSYC 40, PSYC 51, PSYC 52, PSYC 60, PSYC 64, PSYC 65, and relevant seminars in PSYC

2.   PHIL 6, PHIL 26, PHIL 27, PHIL 30, PHIL 32, PHIL 33, PHIL 34, and relevant seminars in Philosophy

3.   COSC 10 (formerly COSC 8), COSC 31 (formerly COSC 25), COSC 39, COSC 59 (formerly COSC 68), COSC 76 (formerly COSC 44), and COSC 79 (formerly COSC 53)

4.   LING 10, LING 20-26 and relevant seminars in Linguistics

Beginning with the Class of 2020


  • COGS 1: Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • A 10-level statistics course (PSYC 10; ECON 10; GOV 10 or equivalent)


  • Linguistics 1
  • Computer Science 1
  • Philosophy 10/COGS 11 (Philosophy of Cognitive Science)
  • Psychology 28 (Cognition)

Each COGS major will have to satisfy four courses in a focus area. Suggested focus areas


  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
  • Cognitive Engineering
  • Computational Modeling
  • Consciousness
  • Language Acquisition and Development
  • Learning and Education
  • Neuroeconomics
  • Perception, Representation and Knowledge

In addition, one elective course, either in or beyond the focus area, must involve a laboratory component (PSYC 11 or other course with laboratory by approval; courses in a number of departments could fulfill this requirement). In some cases, students will be allowed to design their own focus area, which must include a description of a coherent problem area and rationale for the course of study, and 4 relevant (and available) courses. Focus area proposals must be approved by the advisor and the chair of the Cognitive Science steering committee.


  • Junior seminar in Cognitive Science, COGS 80, offered in the fall term. This course will be a series of lectures by faculty working in Cognitive Science across the college. Students will discuss readings prior to the lecture, and will meet after the lecture with the speaker for intensive discussion. Majors must take this at least once in their Dartmouth career.
  • One course or course sequence that satisfies the requirement for a culminating activity, which may be met in one of three ways
    • completing a senior Honors thesis (Cognitive Science 86, 87)
    • carrying out a one or two term independent study project (Cognitive Science 85)
    • completing a second term of the Junior Cognitive Science seminar, with an advanced term paper.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in Cognitive Science offers qualified students the opportunity to undertake independent research under the direction of a faculty member. Students who plan to undertake such a project should have a 3.0 grade average in all courses taken at the College and an average of 3.3 for courses within the major. It is important to consult with a prospective advisor as early as possible, preferably during the junior year. Applications to the Honors Program may be submitted to the Chair either during the spring of the junior year or the fall of the senior year. The project itself normally lasts two terms. Students will take COGS 86 the first term and COGS 87 the second. The completed thesis is to be submitted during the spring term, and an oral presentation will be given at a special seminar of students and faculty.