Everything you need to know about Becoming a Cognitive Science Major
Cognitive science might be a good fit for you if you find yourself wondering what drives people to think, behave and communicate in certain ways. Cognitive Science majors study how the mind works. Students learn about cognition through an interdisciplinary curriculum that engages them in critical thinking and problem-solving. Those who are interested in better understanding cognitive processes such as memory, language, reasoning, motor control and attention, as well as how these processes affect our ability to learn, communicate and experience the world around us, might be a good fit for a degree in cognitive science.
What Is a Cognitive Science Major?
A cognitive science major is an interdisciplinary degree path that challenges students to examine and better understand cognitive processes. Because the field of cognitive science encompasses ideas and concepts from a number of disciplines, students will take classes in different program areas, including biology, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, linguistics, mathematics, anthropology and philosophy, to help inform their understanding of cognition.
Coursework typically focuses on understanding foundational theories as well as developing practical skills to prepare students to apply their training in the field. Cognitive science majors might also focus on a problem of interest and tailor their coursework to delve into that issue. Cognitive science majors can also engage in research, working with faculty members on specific projects or in affiliated research labs.
Common Coursework Cognitive Science Majors Can Expect
As with most majors, the cognitive science degree path often requires that students take several introductory classes to build foundational knowledge in areas such as cognition, psychology and philosophy. Once they’ve completed their introductory coursework, and depending on their program, students can typically choose from a wide selection of electives, including classes such as Metaphysics and Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence.
Some students might choose to focus their elective coursework in a specific area. For example, Marquette University students interested in studying cognitive science through the lens of psychology might take the Psychology of Racism and Introductory Social Psychology to learn more about how the mind affects human behavior. Other students might even be able to choose from a tailored mix of electives offered at their school. Yale University, for example, outlines several custom course plans delving into areas such as Comparative Cognition, Gender and Prejudice, and Human-Computer Interaction.
How to Know if This Major Is the Right Fit for You
Cognitive science might be a good fit for you if you find yourself wondering what drives people to think, behave and communicate in certain ways. Cognitive science also explores how we might be able to use artificial intelligence and computing to advance our ability to develop and share information.
With its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking skills, the cognitive science degree path prepares students to apply their studies in a number of fields, including health care, business, law, psychology and education.
What Can I Do With a Cognitive Science Major?
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the field, cognitive science majors can pursue a range of career paths and advanced study. This degree path also instills strong writing, research and analytical thinking skills that prepare undergraduate cognitive science graduates to pursue jobs in fields such as software development, marketing, medical research, health care management, game design and education.
For graduates interested in furthering their education and research interests, master’s and doctoral programs in neuroscience, linguistics, psychology, education and other disciplines that draw on an understanding of cognitive functioning might be a good fit. Some graduates might also choose to pursue medical school, law school or business school.