The Department of Cognitive Science provides theoretically oriented research and training opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. As a fully autonomous academic unit, we provide a focused environment that is wholly dedicated to the multidisciplinary intellectual challenge of integrating contemporary approaches to the study of the mind/brain.

What Is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is the study of the human mind and brain, focusing on how the mind represents and manipulates knowledge and how mental representations and processes are realized in the brain.

Conceiving of the mind as an abstract computing device instantiated in the brain, cognitive scientists endeavor to understand the mental computations underlying cognitive functioning and how these computations are implemented by neural tissue.

Cognitive science has emerged at the interface of several disciplines. Central among these are cognitive psychology, linguistics, and portions of computer science and artificial intelligence; other important components derive from work in the neurosciences, philosophy, and anthropology.

As a consequence of this diverse ancestry, cognitive science incorporates a variety of perspectives and methodologies. Cognitive scientists share the central goal of characterizing the structure of human intellectual functioning. It is this common object of inquiry that integrates traditionally separate disciplines into the unified field of cognitive science.

Our Programs

Programs in cognitive science at Johns Hopkins University reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, requiring the student to approach the study of the mind/brain from several different investigative perspectives. The programs in cognitive science draw on courses offered by several other departments as well.

undergraduate lecture class

Undergraduate Major

Cognitive science majors at Johns Hopkins go on to graduate school, medical school, law school, business school, or directly into jobs in a variety of fields.

brain scan images

MA Program

This program is intended to appeal to students who have undergraduate degrees in linguistics, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, and other subdisciplines of cognitive science.

a person holding the base of a full-size brain model

PhD Program

The PhD program’s primary goal is to train a new generation of cognitive scientists who can meld multiple existing disciplines into a new, genuinely integrated science of the mind/brain.