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Major in Cognitive Studies

The Cognitive Studies major is designed for students who wish to become active inquirers into the processes by which people learn to think, solve problems, and reason. The major encourages the development of flexible reasoning and problem-solving skills that are useful in a wide variety of endeavors. The major is excellent preparation for graduate study in the social and behavioral sciences as well as for areas (such as medicine and law) that place importance on inquiry and clear thinking.

The curriculum is planned to ensure that students receive a strong background in both science and the liberal arts, with an emphasis on problem solving and complex decision-making. The courses in the core curriculum focus on various aspects of human cognition, including communication, cognitive development, basic cognitive processes, applications of theories of knowledge, and sociocultural aspects of learning. Students are encouraged to consult their advisors about pursuing a second major or developing an area of concentration that is consistent with their career plans.

The major also emphasizes an appreciation of the scientific method and the research process; numerous opportunities exist to pursue independent study in close collaboration with faculty members. Leadership and success in our society will depend increasingly on one's ability to process complex information, solve difficult problems using systematic analysis, and facilitate the learning of others. The knowledge and experience gained by students in cognitive studies will allow them to be full participants in the society of learners who represent the future.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in Cognitive Studies offers qualified majors the opportunity to conduct individual research projects in collaboration with faculty members. This research experience culminates in the writing and public presentation of a senior thesis. Students who major in Cognitive Studies are eligible to apply for the honors program at the end of their sophomore year if they have an overall grade point average of at least 3.2 and a 3.2 in cognitive studies courses.

Students who complete the program successfully and who have a final grade point average of at least 3.0 will receive Honors in Cognitive Studies. The program should substantially aid those intending to do graduate work. More specific information concerning admission to and the requirements of the Honors Program is available here, from the Director of the Cognitive Studies program, or the department educational activities coordinator.