Psychology / Undergraduate Study

Cognitive Science BS

Capstone Major

The Cognitive Science major is a designated capstone major. Students are required to produce a paper based on each term of their experience in a research laboratory or approved fieldwork site. Through completion of the capstone experience students are expected to identify a research topic and hypothesis to be tested or a fieldwork project and goals, show that they can organize and integrate information related to the topic or project in a clear manner in their own words, demonstrate ability to find and utilize supporting literature relevant to their project or topic, and successfully relate the paper to their experience in the laboratory or fieldwork setting.

The Cognitive Science major focuses on the study of intelligent systems, both real and artificial. While including a strong foundation in the traditional areas of psychology, the major is interdisciplinary in nature and emphasizes subject matter within cognitive psychology, computer science, mathematics, and related disciplines.

The requirements described below include sufficient preparation if students plan to pursue graduate work in cognitive science or related fields; however, they may want to include additional advanced courses in psychology and fields related to cognitive science (e.g., computer science, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, and statistics) as well as other types of research and fieldwork experiences.

Learning Outcomes

The Cognitive Science major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Ability to identify a research topic and hypothesis to test, or a fieldwork project and goals
  • Demonstrated organization and integration, in a clear manner and in the student’s own words, of information related to a topic or project
  • Demonstrated ability to find and utilize supporting literature relevant to a project or topic
  • Successful relation of the paper to the student's laboratory or fieldwork experience
  • Ability to discuss results in front of a peer group: verbally communicate ideas motivating the experiment, make the experiment clear to those not familiar with the methods, and answer questions

Cognitive Science Premajor

Students need to file a petition in the Undergraduate Advising Office to declare the Cognitive Science premajor. They are then identified as Cognitive Science premajors until they (1) satisfy the preparation for the major requirements and (2) file a petition to declare the Cognitive Science major. Questions about the major should be directed to the Undergraduate Advising Office.

Preparation for the Major

Each of the following required courses must be taken for a letter grade (C or better in each course and a 2.5 overall grade-point average in the preparation courses) by the end of the summer quarter of the third year to be eligible to petition to declare the Cognitive Science major: Life Sciences 1 or 7A or 15 or Physiological Science 3; Chemistry and Biochemistry 2 or 14A or 17 or 20A or Linguistics 1 or 20 or Physics 1A or 5A or 10 or 11; Mathematics 3A, 3B, and 3C, or 31A and 31B; Philosophy 7 or 8 or 9 or 23 or 31; Program in Computing 10A and two courses from 10B, 10C, 15, 16, 20A, 30, 40A, 60, Psychology 20A, 20B; and Psychology 10, 85, 100A, 100B. Students cannot take Psychology 100B until they have passed course 100A with a grade of C or better. Psychology 100A and 100B should be taken early in the career; these courses are open only to students who have declared the Cognitive Science premajor before the term in which they plan to enroll. Students with no background in introductory statistics should take Statistics 10 before enrolling in course 100A.

Students who repeat more than two preparation courses or any preparation course more than once are denied admission to the major.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Cognitive Science major with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: one biology course, one general chemistry or general physics course, two calculus/analytical geometry courses, one general physics course, one philosophy course, one introduction to psychology course, one introduction to cognitive science course, one psychological statistics course, one psychology research methods course, one computer programming course in C++, and one other computer programming course.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

After satisfying the preparation for the major requirements, students need to petition to enter the major at the Undergraduate Advising Office.

Required: (1) Psychology 115 (or M117A, M117B, and M117C), 120A or 120B, and one course from 124A through 124K; (2) one course from 111, 116, 121, 186A through 186D, Computer Science 161; (3) four upper-division elective courses (16 units) from Psychology 110, 111, 112A through 116, M117J through M119X, 120A, 120B, 121, 124A through 124K (if taken for the major, may not be applied as an elective), 130, 133B, 133E, 135, 137G, 142H, 160, 161, M166, 186A through 186D, 187A, 191CH (if content is approved by the Undergraduate Advising Office and course has not been applied toward the Psychology 195B or 196B requirement), Anthropology 124Q, 136A, M150, Communication 118, 119, 126, M127, 129, Computer Science 111 through CM186, Linguistics 103 through 185B, Mathematics 110A through 171, Music Industry M103, Neuroscience 102, M145, C177, 180, 181, 182, Philosophy 124 through 137, Statistics 100A, 100B, 100C, 101B, 101C; and (4) in the junior or senior year, two capstone terms of Psychology 195B or 196B (may be fulfilled by taking any two courses from 195B or 196B or 196B/194C, provided content is approved by the Undergraduate Advising Office).

Students who complete Psychology M117A, M117B, M117C receive equivalent credit for course 115 and two upper-division cognitive science electives. All three courses must be completed to receive cognitive science elective credit.

Students must have a 2.0 grade-point average in all upper-division courses selected to satisfy major requirements. With the exception of Psychology 195B and 196B, each course must be taken for a letter grade.