Cognitive Science B.S.

Information and Policies

Academic Advising for the Program

Students are encouraged to approach faculty in their area of interest for further advising no later than the first quarter of their junior year to discuss an upper-division program of study and to plan for graduate training in cognitive science. As a supplement to academic advising offered by faculty members, the Psychology Department has an advising office located at 273 Social Sciences 2 Building, (831) 459-2002, psyadv@ucsc.edu. The advisers assist students in obtaining information regarding major requirements and petitions, course planning, substitution of transfer courses for advance enrollment, careers, and graduate schools. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the advising office throughout their college career. Transfer students are encouraged to consult the Transfer Information and Policy Section.

Getting Started in the Major

Students who are not prepared to begin the calculus requirement should take preparatory courses offered by the mathematics and applied mathematics departments, including pre-calculus.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the cognitive science major should demonstrate competency in:

  • Application of knowledge with critical thinking skills. Students should be able to use critical thinking to evaluate and interpret evidence, and to apply cognitive science concepts, theories, and research findings to individual, social, and cultural issues.
  • Application of research methods with values and integrity. Students should be able to apply basic research methods in cognitive science, with sensitivity to ethical principles.
  • Communication skills. Students should be able to demonstrate effective communication skills following professional conventions in cognitive science appropriate to purpose and context.
  • Awareness of methodological and theoretical diversity. Students should be able to understand the complexities of cognition using neural, embodied, social, and/or technological approaches.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

Students may petition to declare the cognitive science major once they have completed the lower-division requirements. For students to be admitted to the major, they must have a 2.80 or higher cumulative GPA in the lower-division requirements and receive a C or better in each of the courses. Transfer students may substitute equivalent courses from other institutions. Students not meeting the grade requirements in the lower-division courses may take any of the listed alternatives as substitutions; the department will use the highest grade to compute GPA.

Appeal Process

Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter to the department chair within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student, college, and Office of the Registrar of the decision.

How to Declare a Major

To declare the major, students may attend drop-in advising and complete the paperwork with a peer adviser, attend a major declaration workshop, or book an appointment with an undergraduate adviser. Drop-in advising is available Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

Requirements for the major include the following:

  • Minimum overall grade point average of 2.80 in the major-preparatory courses below.

  • Minimum grade of C (2.0) in a course articulated to a UCSC calculus course (AM 11A/ECON 11A, MATH 11A, MATH 19A, or MATH 20A). (An AP Calculus AB score of 4 or 5, or Calculus BC score of 3, 4, or 5 can be substituted.) 

  • Minimum grade of C (2.0) in a course articulated to UCSC's PSYC 2, Introduction to Psychological Statistics, or STAT 5, or STAT 7/STAT 7L, Statistics. (An AP Statistics score of 4 or 5 can substitute for PSYC 2 or STAT 5.)

  • Minimum grade of C (2.0) in a course articulated to one of the following UCSC programming courses (An AP Computer Science A score of 3, 4, or 5 can be substituted for the programming requirement):

It is recommended that PSYC 20 is completed prior to transfer, but this is not required.

Junior transfer students should express an interest in cognitive science on their UC Santa Cruz application for admission.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students are strongly encouraged to speak with an academic adviser at the Psychology Department office prior to enrolling in classes in order to determine their status and begin the actual declaration of major process. In order to declare the major, transfer students must meet the GPA requirement described in the Major Qualification section above.

Letter Grade Policy

All lower-division courses required for the major have to be taken for a letter grade.

Course Substitution Policy

Students who want to fulfill requirements with courses taken at other colleges must petition for the substitution of their transfer courses at an orientation session or at an appointment with the department adviser. PSYC 100, must be taken at UC Santa Cruz. Students planning to transfer to UC Santa Cruz should check with the advising office of their present college, or refer to www.assist.org.

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

Students wishing to pursue double majors or a major/minor combination are encouraged to meet with an adviser to create an academic plan to do so.

Study Abroad

Up to three courses taken through EAP may be approved for the major, prior course approval required. Please see the advising office if you are considering EAP and want to try to obtain approval for such courses to count toward the major.

Honors

Honors in the cognitive science major are awarded to graduating seniors whose UC Santa Cruz GPA is a 3.6 or higher in PSYC 1-PSYC 189).

Highest honors in the major are reserved for students who meet the honors criteria as well as successful completion of a senior thesis, or whose UC Santa Cruz GPA is a 3.9 or higher in PSYC 1-PSYC 189).

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

The undergraduate degree program in cognitive science is a program offering a course of study leading to the bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. Fifteen courses (77 credits) are required. Because some courses have additional prerequisites, students should read the descriptions of courses carefully, noting the prerequisites for courses of interest to them.

Lower-Division Courses

Introduction to Cognition

Take the following course:

PSYC 20Cognition: Fundamental Theories

5

Statistics

Choose one of the following courses:

Either this course

PSYC 2Introduction to Psychological Statistics

5

or this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Lecture and lab combinations count as a single course.

Calculus

Choose one of the following courses:

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 20AHonors Calculus

5

Computer Programming

Choose one of the following courses:

CSE 13EEmbedded Systems and C Programming

7

CSE 13SComputer Systems and C Programming

7

CSE 20Beginning Programming in Python

5

CSE 30Programming Abstractions: Python

7

Some of these courses have prerequisites.

Upper-Division Courses

Take the following course:

PSYC 100Research Methods in Psychology

7

Core Courses

Students must complete a course from three of the four following areas:

Perception
PSYC 120Visual and Spatial Cognition

5

PSYC 121Perception

5

Neuroscience
PSYC 123Cognitive Neuroscience

5

Language
PSYC 125The Psychology of Language

5

Memory
PSYC 129Human Learning and Memory

5

Electives

Cognitive Psychology Electives

Students must complete three additional upper-division psychology courses.

One Cognitive Senior Seminar from the following list:
PSYC 119EThe World of Babies

5

PSYC 119FLanguage Development

5

PSYC 119PChildren and Technology

5

PSYC 139BConsciousness

5

PSYC 139DModeling Human Performance

5

PSYC 139FPsychology and Evolutionary Theory

5

PSYC 139GConversations

5

PSYC 139HWeird Science

5

PSYC 139JForgetting

5

PSYC 139KFace Recognition

5

PSYC 139LIllusions

5

PSYC 139MHuman-Robot Interaction

5

PSYC 139PNatural and Artificial Intelligence

5

PSYC 179FThe Path to a Science of Dreaming

5

Plus two additional courses from the following list:
PSYC 104Development in Infancy

5

PSYC 105Children's Thinking

5

PSYC 116Communication Technologies, Culture, and Human Development

5

PSYC 120Visual and Spatial Cognition

5

PSYC 120DDeafness and Sign Language

5

PSYC 121Perception

5

PSYC 123Cognitive Neuroscience

5

PSYC 124Psychology of Reading

5

PSYC 125The Psychology of Language

5

PSYC 127Computer Mediated Communication

5

PSYC 128Human Factors

5

PSYC 129Human Learning and Memory

5

PSYC 130Deception, Brain, and Behavior

5

PSYC 132Neural Modeling

5

PSYC 135Feelings and Emotions

5

PSYC 137Mind, Body, and World

5

PSYC 138Computer Programming for the Cognitive Sciences

5

PSYC 181Psychological Data Analysis

5

PSYC 194BResearch Internship in Cognitive Psychology

5

PSYC 195ASenior Thesis

5

One of these may be replaced by a core course that was not used to satisfy the core courses requirement. PSYC 204-PSYC 252, graduate cognitive courses, may be substituted by petition.

Interdisciplinary Electives

Students must complete four interdisciplinary electives from lists of courses pre-approved by the Psychology Department, at least one of which must be upper-division. The electives fall into four groups: Evolution; Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction; Linguistics; Philosophy. Three of the four electives must be selected from the same group. Students are responsible for planning their course of study to complete any necessary prerequisites for electives they wish to take. Possible sequences of interdisciplinary courses, including prerequisites, are given below.

Group 1: Evolution

ANTH 1Introduction to Biological Anthropology

5

ANTH 100History and Theory of Biological Anthropology

5

ANTH 101Human Evolution

5

ANTH 104Human Variation and Adaptation

5

ANTH 105Human Paleopathology

5

ANTH 106Primate Behaviorand Ecology

5

ANTH 109Evolution of Sex

5

ANTH 112Life Cycles

5

ANTH 139Language and Culture

5

ANTH 173Origins of Farming

5

ANTH 174Origins of Complex Societies

5

ANTH 184Zooarchaeology

5

ANTH 184LZooarchaeology Laboratory

2

ANTH 194BChimpanzees: Biology, Behavior, and Evolution

5

ANTH 194HPaleoanthropology

5

BIOE 20CEcology and Evolution

5

BIOE 109Evolution

5

BIOE 124Mammalogy

5

BIOE 124LMammalogy Laboratory

2

BIOE 129Biology of Marine Mammals

5

BIOE 129LBiology of Marine Mammals Laboratory

2

BIOE 140Behavioral Ecology

5

BIOE 141LBehavioral Ecology Field Course

5

BIOE 147Community Ecology

5

BIOE 172Population Genetics

5

BIOE 172LPopulation Genetics Laboratory

2

BIOL 80EEvolution

5

BIOL 105Genetics

5

BIOL 120Developmental Biology

5

BIOL 125Introduction to Neuroscience

5

PHIL 127Philosophy of Biology

5

PHIL 190Senior Seminar

5

Lecture and lab combinations count as a single course.

ANTH 139 also listed in Group 3

PHIL 127 also listed in Group 4

PHIL 190 also listed in Group 4

Group 2: Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction

CSE 80SSocialNetworks

5

CSE 104Computability and Computational Complexity

5

CSE 140Artificial Intelligence

5

ECE 8Robot Automation: Intelligence through Feedback Control

5

ECE 9Introduction to Statics, Dynamics, and Biomechanics

5

ECE 167Sensing and Sensor Technologies

5

ECE 167LSensing and Sensor Technologies Lab

2

CMPM 80KFoundations of Video Game Design

5

CMPM 120Game Development Experience

5

CMPM 146Game AI

5

CMPM 148Interactive Storytelling

5

MUSC 80LArtificial Intelligence and Music

5

Lecture and lab combinations count as a single course.

The upper-division School of Engineering courses in this section have additional prerequisites that are not listed here.

The lower-division computer science courses in this section are not being offered at present.

Group 3: Linguistics
ANTH 139Language and Culture

5

LING 50Introduction to Linguistics

5

LING 53Semantics I

5

LING 80CLanguage, Society, and Culture

5

LING 80DLanguage and Mind

5

LING 101Phonology I

5

LING 102Phonology II

5

LING 105Morphology

5

LING 111Syntactic Structures

5

LING 112Syntax I

5

LING 113Syntax II

5

LING 116Semantics II

5

LING 117Pragmatics

5

LING 124Language Typology

5

LING 125Foundations of Linguistic Theory

5

LING 140Language Change

5

LING 151Phonetic Analysis

5

LING 152Applied Phonetics

5

LING 155Language and Cognition

5

LING 157Psycholinguistics and Linguistic Theory

5

LING 158Advanced Psycholinguistics

5

ANTH 139 also listed in Group 1

LING 111 formerly LING 55

LING 112 formerly LING 52

Group 4: Philosophy
PHIL 9Introduction to Logic

5

PHIL 11Introduction to Philosophy

5

PHIL 80SThe Nature of Science

5

PHIL 100BThe Rationalists

5

PHIL 100CThe Empiricists

5

PHIL 121Epistemology

5

PHIL 123Philosophy of Language

5

PHIL 125Philosophy of Science

5

PHIL 127Philosophy of Biology

5

PHIL 133Philosophy of Mind

5

PHIL 135Philosophy of Psychology

5

PHIL 190Senior Seminar

5

PHIL 127 also listed in Group 1

PHIL 190 satisfies this requirement by petition only

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in cognitive science is satisfied by completing PSYC 100, Research Methods in Psychology, and the comprehensive requirement.

PSYC 100Research Methods in Psychology

7

Comprehensive Requirement

UCSC requires that every student satisfy a senior exit/comprehensive requirement prior to graduation. Cognitive Science students will satisfy this requirement by receiving a passing grade in a senior seminar.

Choose one of the following courses:

PSYC 119EThe World of Babies

5

PSYC 119FLanguage Development

5

PSYC 119PChildren and Technology

5

PSYC 139BConsciousness

5

PSYC 139DModeling Human Performance

5

PSYC 139FPsychology and Evolutionary Theory

5

PSYC 139GConversations

5

PSYC 139HWeird Science

5

PSYC 139JForgetting

5

PSYC 139KFace Recognition

5

PSYC 139LIllusions

5

PSYC 139MHuman-Robot Interaction

5

PSYC 139PNatural and Artificial Intelligence

5

PSYC 179FThe Path to a Science of Dreaming

5

Planners

Following are two recommended academic plans for frosh, and one for transfer students to complete the Cognitive Science major. Plan 1 (for frosh) assumes typical curriculum selections. Plan 2 (for frosh) includes two additional interdisciplinary prerequisites, which some students find they need in order to take the upper-division courses they desire. Students who place out of MATH 2 and MATH 3 do not need these courses, which are otherwise prerequisites to Calculus, PSYC 2 and PSYC 100.

Frosh Plan One

Year Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 2
MATH 3
Calculus
PSYC 20
Programming
 
     
2nd (soph) Interdisciplinary prerequisite PSYC 2
PSYC 100
  Interdisciplinary prerequisite
 
     
3rd (junior) Cognitive core
Cognitive core
Cognitive core
Interdisciplinary elective
Interdisciplinary elective (UD)
Interdisciplinary elective
Cognitive elective
   
4th (senior) Interdisciplinary elective Cognitive elective (seminar) Cognitive elective
     
     

The courses listed above will satisfy the SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Frosh Plan Two

Year Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 2
MATH 3 Calculus
PSYC 20
Programming  
     
2nd (soph) Interdisciplinary prerequisite PSYC 2
PSYC 100
  Interdisciplinary prerequisite
Interdisciplinary prerequisite
     
3rd (junior) Cognitive core
Cognitive core
Cognitive core
Interdisciplinary prerequisite
Cognitive elective
 
     
4th (senior) Cognitive elective
Interdisciplinary elective (UD)
Interdisciplinary elective
Cognitive elective (seminar)
Interdisciplinary elective
 
Interdisciplinary elective
   

The courses listed above will satisfy the SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Transfer Plan

Year Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) PSYC 20
Cognitive core
Cognitive core
PSYC 100
Interdisciplinary elective
Interdisciplinary elective


4th (senior) Cognitive elective Cognitive core Cognitive elective (seminar)
Interdisciplinary elective
 Cognitive elective Interdisciplinary elective
(upper-division)