Skip to Navigation
    Vassar College
  Sep 22, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018

Cognitive Science Major

Return to Cognitive Science Department Return to: Cognitive Science Department

The key elements of the Cognitive Science major are (1) a sustained, broad, in-depth exploration of mental phenomena via the multidisciplinary strategy of the field, (2) application of the Cognitive Science strategy to a specific domain of interest to the student, and (3) completion during the senior year of an independent research project on a topic chosen by the student.

Second Goal:

The second goal of the major is met by choosing one of the paths listed below and electing four elective courses to complete it. The elective paths are designed to complement the core courses in the major by providing the student with greater understanding in some aspect of the field. Some paths are focused on particular conceptual or analytic tools that might be applied across a broad range of phenomena, while others are focused on the phenomena themselves. Courses for each path are chosen in consultation with the major advisor and then approved by the Department based on guidelines listed on the Cognitive Science website. More detailed descriptions of the paths made also be found at the website. The following stipulations apply to path electives.

(1) The choice of path and electives within the path are to be made in consultation with the adviser at the time of declaration of the major and approved by the Department.

(2) At least one of the four electives must be at the 300-level. This can include a second Cognitive Science seminar if it is relevant to the path.

(3) No more than one of the electives can be a 100-level course. 

(4) No more than one of the courses in the path may be an ungraded course.  A student may petition his or her advisor to develop a customized path not included on this list and will be allowed to do so under the direction of the advisor and with the approval of the Department.

Cognitive Science Electives Paths:

  • Art, skill, and performance
  • Comparative study of animal and/or machine intelligence
  • Decision making, risk taking, and morality
  • Development and learning
  • Evolution of intelligent agents
  • Formal analysis and modeling
  • Human-machine interaction
  • Language and communication
  • Mind and brain
  • Natural and constructed environments

The final goal of the major is met by completing a thesis in the senior year. The topic of the thesis is chosen by the student in consultation with one or more members of the program faculty. All majors must sign up for the thesis in the senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for COGS 300 -COGS 301  for 1/2 credit in the a-semester and 1/2 credit in the b-semester, for a total of 1 unit of credit. In cases where this is not possible it is acceptable to sign up for COGS 302  for a full unit in either the a- or the b-term. Students should consult their adviser before electing the latter option.

After declaration of the major, all courses within the major must be taken for letter grades.

Return to Cognitive Science Department Return to: Cognitive Science Department