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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

Cognitive Science

Chair: David Kraemer (Psychological & Brain Sciences)

Professors: Devin Balkcom (Computer Science), Thalia Wheatley (PBS); Associate Professors: Luke Chang (PBS), David Kraemer (PBS; Education); Assistant Professors: Steven Frankland (Cognitive Science), Jonathan Phillips (Cognitive Science); Lecturer: Samantha Wray (Linguistics).

To view Cognitive Science courses, click here.

Cognitive Science Program

Cognitive Science is the study of cognition from an interdisciplinary perspective and is largely informed by models of information processing. Contributing disciplines include cognitive psychology, computer science, neuroscience, 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



  • COGS 1: Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • One approved course in statistics or quantitative analysis (e.g., PSYC 10). For a list of currently approved statistics courses, click here.


2. REQUIREMENTS: Eleven additional courses, including:

  • LING 1: Introductory Linguistics
  • COSC 1: Introduction to Programming and Computation, or a higher-level course in Computer Science
  • COGS 25/PHIL 25: Philosophy of Cognitive Science, or an approved mid-level course in Philosophy
  • COGS 02/PSYC 28: Cognitive Psychology, or an approved mid-level course in Psychological & Brain Sciences
  • One approved course in experimental methodology (e.g., PSYC 11). For a list of currently approved methods courses, click here.
  • COGS 80: Major Seminar in Cognitive Science (ideally to be taken Junior year)
  • One Culminating Experience:
    • COGS 85: Independent Study and Research
    • COGS 86-87: Honors Research/Thesis
    • COGS 81: Major Seminar in Cognitive Science
  • Four courses in an approved Focus Area. For currently approved focus areas and associated courses, click here. Examples of focus areas include:
    • Decision Making
    • Language and Thought    
    • Learning and Development
    • Consciousness
    • Cognitive Science of Design    
    • Social Interaction Networks
    • Intelligence
    • Moral Reasoning


Students who wish to design their own focus area not listed here should contact the chair for further discussion.


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 must have a 3.33 grade average in all courses taken at the College and an average of 3.5 for courses within the major. It is important to consult with a prospective advisor as early as possible, preferably during the junior year or earlier.


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 winter or spring term, and an oral presentation will be given at a special seminar of students and faculty.