Overview

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of how the mind works, drawing on research from psychology, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, and computer science. The interdisciplinary character of cognitive science is reflected in its reliance on many different levels of analysis of mental phenomena and its employment of a variety of methodologies appropriate to each level. The goal of cognitive science is to integrate the insights from multiple disciplines and modes of research into a unified scientific account of the mind and its place in nature. Research in cognitive science includes, but is not limited to, work on psychophysics, perception, linguistics and language processing, philosophy of mind and language, cognitive development, memory, reasoning, emotion, moral and social cognition, and judgment and decision making. One ambition of cognitive science is to understand just how mental abilities and processes are realized in the brain, and how such neural realizations can ground the conscious, deliberate activity of thought and decision. Another is to map out just how the human mind develops from childhood on, and thereby articulate the deep mechanisms of learning and cognitive development. A third ambition is to investigate just how far mental processes can be duplicated in complex computational structures that could be instantiated in machines.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to Princeton undergraduates concentrating in any department. Students should meet with the director or program manager, usually during sophomore year, to apply to the program and plan a course of study. Applicants will be accepted based on interest and a coherent, tentative academic plan, including independent study. 

Our application is available to download here -  PDF iconcogsciapp.pdf

(NB: The certificate program is only available to individuals who are currently enrolled as students at Princeton. For more information on applying to Princeton, please visit http://admission.princeton.edu.)

Program of Study

Students are required to take five courses in cognitive science, which in combination satisfy the following requirements:

1. Three courses at the 300-level or higher;

2. Courses taken in at least three different academic units (please note that this restriction applies only to a course's primary course listing, not to additional cross-listings);

3. Typically no more than one course with a primary course listing from the student's department of concentration, unless permission is obtained from the director;

4. At least one course that is not counted towards the student's departmental concentration;

5. At most, one course may be taken P/D/F.

 

Students are also required to complete a thesis or a semester of junior independent work that incorporates substantial elements of cognitive science. The work may be used to satisfy both the requirements of the program and the student's department of concentration.  Students who are unable to incorporate cognitive science into their departmental independent work should consult the director or program coordinator to discuss alternative means of satisfying this requirement.

The Program in Cognitive Science sponsors a lunchtime talk series with speakers from the Princeton cognitive science community, as well as from outside Princeton.  Students are strongly encouraged to attend these talks.  If scheduling permits, certificate students who are completing independent work in cognitive science may volunteer to give a talk themselves, in consultation with the director.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who fulfills the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in cognitive science upon graduation.


Cognitive Science and Related Courses
The following courses will count towards the program requirements. Other cognitive science related courses, including graduate courses, may be counted toward certificate completion with the approval of the director.

Courses (Listed by primary designation)

Computer Science
COS 109 The Computers in Our World
COS 126 Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach (also EGR 126)
COS 402 Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
COS 424 Fundamentals of Machine Learning (also SML 302)
COS 429 Computer Vision
COS 495 Special Topics in Computer Science - Neural Networks: Theory and Applications

Linguistics
LIN 201 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (also ENG 241)
LIN 216 Language, Mind, and Brain (also PSY 216)
LIN 250 Language in Its Contexts
LIN 301 Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 302 Syntax
LIN 303 Linguistic Semantics
LIN 306 The Structure and Meaning of Words
LIN 308 Bilingualism (also TRA 303)
LIN 310 Melodies of English (and Other Languages)
LIN 312 Linguistics of American Sign Language
LIN 314 Linguistics and Language Acquisition (also PSY 302)
LIN 355 Field Methods in Linguistics
LIN 360 Linguistic Universals and Language Diversity
LIN 408 Situated Language Usage: Conversations, Dialogues and other Goal-Based Communications (also PSY 408)
LIN 412 Advanced Syntax

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
MAE 345 Robotics and Intelligent Systems

Neuroscience
NEU 175 Introduction to Neuroscience
NEU 202A Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (also PSY 259A)
NEU 202B Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (also PSY 259B)
NEU 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging between Brain and Mind (also PSY 330)
NEU 437 Computational Neuroscience (also MOL 437/PSY 437)

Philosophy
PHI 207 Introduction to Philosophy of Cognitive Science
PHI 218 Learning Theory and Epistemology (also ELE 218)
PHI 311 Personal Identity
PHI 313 Theory of Knowledge
PHI 315 Philosophy of Mind
PHI 317 Philosophy of Language
PHI 322 Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences

PHI 352  Philosophy of Bias: The Nature, Epistemology & Ethics of Stereotypes
PHI 380 Explaining Values (also CHV 380)

Psychology
PSY 212 The Psychology of Moral Behavior (also CHV 212)
PSY 237 The Psychology and Philosophy of Rationality (also PHI 237)
PSY 254 Developmental Psychology
PSY 255 Cognitive Psychology
PSY 304 Social Cognition: The Psychology of Interactive Minds
PSY 306 Memory and Cognition (also NEU 306)
PSY 309 Psychology of Language (also LIN 309)
PSY 310 Psychology of Thinking
PSY 311 Rationality and Human Reasoning
PSY 337  Neuroscience of Social Cognition and Emotion
PSY 338 Animal Learning and Decision Making (also NEU 338)
PSY 400 Developmental Origins of Life Outcomes
PSY 418 Neuroethics (also NEU 418)

Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication
TRA 301 Introduction to Machine Translation (also COS 401 & LIN 304)

Woodrow Wilson School
WWS 340 The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment (also PSY 321)