Cognitive Science


The field of Cognitive Science uses scientific methods of experimentation, computational modeling, and brain imaging to study mental abilities such as perception, action, memory, cognition, speech, and language, as well as the development and evolution of those processes. Students must become knowledgeable in four areas of emphasis: perception, cognition, language, and cognitive neuroscience, as well as a set of methods relevant to Cognitive Science research. Students then create their own focus area of study, potentially integrating coursework from the Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences department with a diverse subset of fields including Computer Science, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Anthropology, Applied Math and Education.The A.B. program is primarily for students interested in studying human mental processes and acquiring a research orientation to the study of the mind. The Sc.B. program is designed for students who wish to develop a stronger background in Cognitive Science and requires students to engage in a specific research project in the focus area of their choosing. We recommend that prospective concentrators register for one of the gateway courses and at least one other core course in their first or second year. 

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand a range of mental abilities and their underlying bases in the brain
  • Develop a flexible interdisciplinary approach to understanding perception, cognition, language, and cognitive neuroscience
  • Gain fluency in statistical analysis and computation
  • Learn and apply empirical methods relevant to the field
  • Complete a capstone project in collaboration with a faculty member


Click here for a list of the Cognitive Science concentration requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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Students pursuing either an A.B. or Sc.B. in Cognitive Science must enroll in a senior seminar in the Spring of their senior year to complete a capstone. Sc.B. candidates must also acquire first-hand experience in cognitive science research through an independent study project.

Students interested in applying for Honors in Cognitive Science under either the A.B. or Sc.B. programs should identify a faculty sponsor and sign up with the concentration advisor during the junior year. Admission to the program is limited to students who have accumulated a strong academic record and is at the discretion of the department. Honors candidates conduct a year-long research project under the direction of a faculty sponsor culminating in a written thesis and oral examination. Students doing honors work may enroll in independent study courses for up to two terms, depending on the nature of their project. Please see the department's website for a complete description of program requirements.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Experience scientific inquiry
  • Evaluate human behavior

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

Alumni with degrees in Cognitive Science have pursued careers in research, software engineering, educational technology, epidemiology and public health, medicine, management consulting, and the law.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Yuna Hur
  • Sholei Croom
  • Angelica Johnsen

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.