MA Admissions

There are two MA tracks: Research Track and Course Track. The tracks, while similar in structure, differ slightly in both admissions and degree requirements. Please note that fewer research track students are accepted than course track students due to space and time limitations in our departmental labs.

How to Apply

Required Mentorship

Prospective MA students must contact a faculty member of interest at least one month before applying to inquire about mentorship. After a faculty member agrees to be the prospective student’s mentor, the student must then submit the required admissions materials outlined below to meet one of two deadlines.

The faculty mentor will submit one of the two required letters of recommendation and must approve the proposed coursework or research proposal submitted with the application materials. Prior commitment on the part of a faculty mentor is deemed necessary for these tracks due to their accelerated (one-year) nature.

If you are a serious applicant, please identify one of our primary faculty members whose research aligns with your interests and request his/her mentorship. Please do not send a mentoring request to all faculty.

Contact the department’s academic program coordinator if you have additional questions about the application procedure. All mentoring arrangements must be approved by a faculty member (not the academic program coordinator).

Application Deadlines
  • October 15, 2018 for spring 2019 admission
  • December 15, 2018 for summer 2019 or fall 2019 admission
Admissions Qualifications and Required Materials

All materials must be submitted online, on time, and in English. The information provided below is intended to define department-specific admissions expectations; this information serves as supplemental instructions to the overall Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences graduate admissions application procedures for full-time programs, with which you should familiarize yourself.

Note: Written materials composed by the applicant should preferably comply with standard academic formatting: 8.5″ x 11″ document, 1″ margins, 11-12pt font, double-spaced, and Times New Roman (or other standard style such as Arial). If citations are necessary, please use the style of your chosen field.

Research Track Course Track
– 3.0 GPA or better
– Undergraduate degree in field relevant to cognitive science
– 3 credits of undergraduate research or equivalent
– 3.0 GPA or better
– Undergraduate degree in field relevant to cognitive science
– Resume or CV
– GRE scores
– TOEFL/IELTS scores
– Statement of purpose
– Transcripts
– 2 recommendation letters
(one from faculty mentor)
– Research proposal
– Resume or CV
– GRE scores
– TOEFL/IELTS scores
– Statement of purpose
– Transcripts
– 2 recommendation letters
(one from faculty mentor)
– Course proposal††

Resume or CV: Be sure to include relevant background and research experience in an up-to-date copy of your uploaded resume or CV.

GRE Scores: GRE scores need to reach us no later than two weeks after the application deadline and must be sent by ETS. Unofficial copies sent directly by students will not be accepted.

TOEFL/IELTS Scores: All non-native speakers of English must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Unofficial copies sent directly by students will not be accepted. Scores must be directed to Johns Hopkins by following instructions provided here. All international applicants should review the information on that webpage regarding credential evaluations, minimum score requirements, and waiver requests.

Statement of Purpose: (~1 page) This should include specific academic interests that the applicant wishes to pursue. Applicants should include primary and secondary research interests (see below), relevant background, previous experience, and the mentor’s name. For applicants with no previous background in cognitive science, the statement should describe their formal background, previous exposure to issues in cognitive science, particular interests in the field, and why this program is an appropriate program of study and research for them.

Research Areas of Interest
  • cognitive psychology
  • cognitive neuropsychology
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • computational approaches
  • generative linguistics
  • language processing
  • language acquisition
  • philosophy of mind

Transcripts: One unofficial transcript must be uploaded for each higher education institution you previously attended or are currently attending. All transcripts must be in English; if translation is required it must be from a professional third-party service, then both the translation and the original language transcript must be provided. If admitted, you will then be required to submit final official transcripts to the graduate admissions office.

Letters of Recommendation: Exactly two letters of recommendation are required. In the online application you will be asked to provide the recommenders’ contact information, which will trigger an automated instructional email to those individuals. One letter must be from your faculty mentor, in which he/she supports your application, approves intended coursework/research proposal, and evaluates your suitability for our program. The second recommendation should be detailed, address the applicant’s suitability for study/research in cognitive science, provide an evaluation of the candidate’s previous research experience (if relevant) and future promise, as well as contact information. Both recommenders must submit online through the provided application system instructions.

Program Proposals: Each MA track requires a specialized program proposal that must be approved by the faculty mentor before application submission. When composing a proposal, you should reference the MA Requirements web page for program requirements and sample programs.

Research Proposal: Required specific content is detailed below. Faculty mentor approval is required prior to submission of the online application.

  • Front Page: Title, abstract (200 words), applicant’s full name, faculty mentor, date of application submission
  • Scientific Aims: (1 page) Specify the research project’s purpose
  • Background and Significance: (~3 pages) Explain the current state of knowledge and how knowledge will be advanced by the project
  • Preliminary Data: (~2 pages) Describe any of your previous research that relates to the project or that reviews relevant findings from mentor’s prior research
  • Research Design and Methods: (~3 pages) Detail the theoretical framework, experiments or other data sources, and methods of analysis that will be used in the research; propose a timetable for conducting the research
  • Expected Outcome: (~1 page) Anticipate possible discoveries of the research and their theoretical significance
  • References: Format in the style relevant for the faculty mentor’s field

†† Course Proposal: Include the planned areas of study and a list of courses to be taken during the time of study in the program. Reference the course track description and sample program on the MA Requirements web page. Review our course catalog and include in your proposal those classes that you feel would best develop your breadth and depth of knowledge in your areas of interest. Your faculty mentor will need to review this proposal and may request one or more revisions until he/she approves the proposal. Faculty mentor approval is required prior to submission of the online application.

Applicants may use our registration system, SIS, and our course catalog to complete their course proposal.