Take a Glimpse into the Mind

Cognitive Science

The cognitive science minor exposes students to ideas that are at the forefront of philosophical thought and psychological inquiry, and that form the basis for modern neuroscience and information technology.

Why Choose Cognitive Science at SU?

Cognitive science draws on psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, neuroscience and anthropology to illuminate how the human mind works. Virtually all professions – educators, product designers, engineers, scientists, judges, public health and safety officials, architects, and graphic designers – benefit from understanding how the brain processes information. Cognitive science and its applications have thereby become an integral part of how organizations, schools and businesses function and succeed. As a result, students who study cognitive science are in high demand in academia as well as in a variety of industries.

The cognitive science minor reflects the interdisciplinarity of the field. Students are required to take five courses, and courses must be taken from at least three different disciplines. IDIS 240, Minds, Brains and Machines, is taken by all minors and serves as an introduction to the many facets of cognitive science. It is part of the two-course core along with PSYC 445, Cognitive Psychology. At least two foundational courses also are required, and these listed courses come from biology, English, philosophy and psychology. The fifth course may be either another foundational course or a listed elective from anthropology, computer science, English, environmental studies or mathematics. (Hence, an elective is unnecessary if a student takes three foundational courses.)

A Flexible Fit

There is a good deal of flexibility built into the cognitive science minor. For example, there are a dozen possible foundational courses to choose from. A student with less focused interests may select courses from a diverse set of disciplines. However, a student may also tailor the minor, creating a set of courses (known as a track) reflecting their particular interest. Possible tracks include Linguistics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Mind and Culture, and Symbolic Logic. 

The cognitive science minor pairs well with other majors. Examples of pairings appropriate with the cognitive science minor include: a computer science major who wants to gain a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence, a biology major with an interest in cognitive neuroscience, an English major wishing to explore the empirical basis of psycholinguistics, and a psychology major trying to apprehend the philosophical questions that underlie the discipline. The adaptability and relevance of the cognitive science minor make the program suitable for students from a wide range of academic backgrounds.

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