MA Program

The Department of Cognitive Science’s one-year Master of Arts program is designed to flexibly provide graduate-level training to a wide range of students with diverse backgrounds and interests.

This program is intended to appeal to students who have undergraduate degrees in linguistics, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, and other subdisciplines of cognitive science. It may be of particular interest to students who wish to strengthen their qualifications for a PhD program or a career in which an MA in cognitive science would make them more competitive.

A student in the MA program chooses to pursue either the research track or the course track. For both tracks, the student works closely with a faculty mentor, during the application phase and throughout the program.

The MA in cognitive science allows students to develop research-oriented expertise needed to pursue a PhD at another institution or research-centered employment, and provides interdisciplinary education beyond the undergraduate level that will be useful for careers related to cognitive science.

There are many career opportunities open to those with advanced degrees in cognitive science and related fields. Outside of academia, these include positions in lab management, grant and technical writing, market research and consulting, computational linguistics, and human-computer interaction (e.g., work on automatic language production and recognition systems).

Please note that the MA program is not a pathway into the department’s PhD program. They are separate and distinct programs. Students in most cognitive science PhD programs generally earn an MA/MS degree on the way to a PhD, but most of the cognitive science departments in the U.S. do not offer stand-alone MA degrees. Few programs can provide pre-PhD training beyond the undergraduate level. The cognitive science MA program is a preparation for those wishing to pursue doctoral studies in a related field or to gain a competitive edge in the job market.

Educational Objectives

The MA program aims to develop and extend the knowledge and research skills of individuals interested in pursuing a PhD in a field of cognitive science or gaining research-centered employment.

Students in the MA program:

  • Acquire a strong background in the empirical findings and theoretical frameworks of one or more areas of cognitive science
  • Acquire and apply analytic and technical skills needed to critically evaluate research findings, and to communicate research findings orally and in writing
  • Develop the ability to conduct original problem-centered and theory-driven research in the chosen areas of study
  • Gain experience with and fully participate in a collaborative lab-based community of researchers from a wide range of backgrounds and fields.