Area of Focus
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
Degrees Offered
  • B.S.
Academic Division
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

Program overview

Cognitive Science has emerged in the last few decades as a major discipline that promises to be increasingly important in the 21st century. Focused on achieving a scientific understanding of how human cognition works and how cognition is possible, its subject matter encompasses cognitive functions (such as memory and perception), the structure and use of human language, the evolution of the mind, animal cognition, artificial intelligence, and more


Learning Experience

The Cognitive Science degree provides a strong grounding in the principles of cognition through courses in cognitive psychology, and, in addition, provides breadth in the interdisciplinary aspects of cognitive science such as anthropology, linguistics, biology, philosophy, and computer science.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • Many of the department's faculty members participate in groundbreaking research in the cognitive science field. There are many opportunities for undergraduate research experience in the laboratories of active cognitive science researchers.
  • The Psychology Field Study Program is an academic internship program designed for majors. Students gain hands-on reflective experience imperative for graduate study, future careers, and a deeper understanding of the complexities of cognitive science and psychology.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students considering cognitive science as their university major find that the best preparation is a solid general education in English, mathematics through precalculus or beyond, natural sciences, social sciences, and writing.

Student in a lab

Transfer Requirements

This is a screening major. Prospective transfer students who plan to major in Cognitive Science must complete qualification requirements prior to transfer. Students should review the full qualification requirements and transfer information on the UCSC General Catalog.

While it is not a condition of admission, students from California community colleges may complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UC Santa Cruz. Students planning to transfer should check with their present advising office or refer to Assist to determine course equivalencies.

two students in gloves working with electronics in a lab

Internships and Career Opportunities

  • The Cognitive Science major is intended for students wishing to enter Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, or cognitive neuroscience to pursue careers in research; enter the field of public health, for example, to work with individuals with neurological disorders and learning disabilities; or to enter the technology-related fields, such as human-computer interface design or human factors research; or pursue other related careers.

Program Contact



apartment 273 Social Sciences 2 Building