Jun 23, 2021
K. DAVID HARRISON (Linguistics)
Deborah B Sloman, Administrative Assistant
Peter Baumann (Philosophy)
Alan Baker (Philosophy)
Victor Barranca (Mathematics and Statistics)
Stella Christie (Psychology)
Frank Durgin (Psychology)
Joshua Goldwyn (Mathamatics and Statistics)2
Lisa Meeden (Computer Science)2
Daniel Grodner (Psychology and Cognitive Science)
Ameet Soni (Computer Science)
Jonathan Washington (Linguistics)
Matthew Zucker (Engineering)
Spencer Caplan (Computer Science)
1 On Leave Fall 2020
2 On Leave Spring 2021
3 On Leave 2020-2021 Academic Year
The Cognitive Science Program has been developed to guide students who are interested in the interdisciplinary study of the mind, brain, and language, with emphases on formal structure, biological information processing, and computation. The program is designed to emphasize guided breadth across various disciplines that contribute to cognitive science as well as depth within a chosen discipline.
First Course Recommendations
COGS 001. Introduction to Cognitive Science provides a multidisciplinary introduction to the field of cognitive science.It does this not only by exposing students to fundamental ideas and findings, but also by incorporating a substantial guest-scholar component: Typically, as many as ten different Swarthmore professors each conduct lecture/discussions during the semester. In this way, students get exposed to professors from many different departments involved in cognitive science. Note that this course is only offered in the fall semester.
The Academic Program
We conceive of cognitive science as a loose federation of six specific disciplines. The disciplines included are: artificial intelligence (including robotics), cognitive psychology, linguistics, mathematics and statistics, neuroscience, and philosophy. To demonstrate breadth, students majoring or minoring in cognitive science are required to complete credits in at least three of these six disciplines.
Six credits are required for the minor. One of these is a required introductory course, COGS 001. The remaining 5 credits are to be distributed across three different disciplines of cognitive science. That is, 2 credits of listed courses, from 3 of the 6 disciplines, must be completed with the exception that in one-and only one-of the three disciplines, a single “focus course” may be used to meet the breadth requirement. Students who wish to use 2 credits in mathematics and statistics as one of their disciplines for a cognitive science minor must choose 2 credits from a single sub-area of mathematics and indicate its relevance to at least one of the two other disciplines chosen for the minor.
The list of courses currently approved as cognitive science courses is rather selective because it is intended to focus students on the most essential cores of cognitive science within each discipline. Many more courses, taught on campus, are closely relevant to cognitive science. This list is subject to periodic re-evaluation.
In addition to fulfilling the breadth requirements, students must indicate one cognitive science field in which they have substantial depth of preparation. Such depth can be documented by completion of at least 4 courses from within a cognitive science discipline (even if some of those courses are not directly related to cognitive science). Alternative curricular and extracurricular ways of fulfilling the depth requirement may be discussed with the coordinator.
To complete an honors minor in cognitive science, students must complete all requirements listed above. The honors preparation for the minor will normally be a 2-credit unit approved by the relevant department from courses listed for the minor. The minor preparation must be within a discipline that is not the student’s honors major. Students are encouraged to develop an appropriate preparation in consultation with the coordinator.
Typically, the program for a special major in cognitive science involves fulfilling all requirements for the minor and then adding 4 or more cognitive science related courses including a thesis, bringing the total number of credits up to 10-12. Note that these additional credits may include courses not listed as eligible for the minor or major, subject to the approval of the program coordinator. Students who special major in cognitive science are normally required to do a 1-credit senior thesis (COGS 090). though other formats for completing the thesis requirement exist, and students may elect to complete a 2-credit thesis with the approval of a thesis advisor and the program coordinator.
Honors Special Major
An honors special major in cognitive science is possible. While fulfilling the requirements of the minor, students must take four 2-credit honors preparations. One of these preparations is a Senior Honors Thesis (COGS 180). The other three preparations must be distributed across two or more disciplines within cognitive science. The nature of these honors preparations will be determined by the standard practices of the relevant departments.
Thesis / Culminating Exercise
Minors who wish to get formal research experience may choose to complete a 1-credit thesis or a 2-credit honors thesis in cognitive science during their senior year. Non-honors theses in cognitive science will normally be examined by Cognitive Science Committee members from within at least two different departments.
Cognitive Science Courses
Artificial Intelligence (Computer Science and Engineering)
Neuroscience (Biology and Psychology)
Statistics and Mathematics
Two credits are required from a single statistics or mathematics sub-area. The sub-areas of mathematics and their eligible seminars and courses are as follows:
Continuous and Applied Mathematics