PhD Requirements

The Department of Cognitive Science’s PhD requirements are designed to met the goals below.

Please note that the Computational Cognitive Science Track requirements differ somewhat from the general program track requirements outlined below.


Students become expert in their primary area of research interest and are prepared so that they will be competitive for academic positions in one of the traditional disciplines. Students take several advanced courses or participate in seminars/lab meetings that the student, in conjunction with his/her advisory committee, determines to be important for achieving expertise in a chosen research area and marketplace competitiveness.


Students develop the ability to understand and critically evaluate work in the various sub-disciplines of cognitive science by completing courses in the areas of cognitive psychology/neuropsychology, computation, linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Students may place out of breadth courses based on prior equivalent coursework or based on examination.


Students learn to integrate theory and method across sub-disciplines through a specially designed integrative course.

Research Ethics

Students complete a research ethics course, which they are encouraged to take in their first year.

Professional Development

Students attend a spring seminar devoted to professional development.

Teaching Training

Students TA three to five semesters (depending upon external funding). Students are not typically expected to TA in their first semester or in the last two semesters of residency (5th year).

Research Papers and Dissertation

Students produce two research papers prior to completing a dissertation. These papers, which are due November 1st of the second year and May 1st of the third year, draw on two different research methodologies. These two research papers are typically presented at conferences and often lead to separate journal publications.