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The Cognitive Science Ph.D. program provides broad training in several areas of study: neurological processes and phenomena; the experimental methods, results, and theories from the study of psychology, language, and social and cultural issues; and the studies of computational mechanisms. For graduate students enrolled in affiliated departments, the Department of Cognitive Science also offers a Ph.D. interdisciplinary degree. For complete details, visit our pages outlining the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Graduate Program.

Both the Cognitive Science and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science are Ph.D. programs. We do not offer admissions to a master's program. 

The Department of Cognitive Science emphasizes four main areas of study: the brain-the understanding of neurobiological processes and phenomena; behavior-the experimental methods and findings from the study of psychology, language, and the sociocultural environment; computation-the powers and limits of various representational formats, coupled with studies of computational mechanisms; and Interaction--the cognitive potential and consequences of technology and design. This approach involves a multidisciplinary study of cognition with emphasis on computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, psychology, and related aspects of anthropology, biology, mathematics, philosophy, and sociology.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2023 Application Open: September 8, 2022 - December 1, 2022  

All application materials should be completed and uploaded using the UC San Diego Online Graduate Application. 

Admission Information

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelors degree or equivalent on or before the beginning of the admission quarter.
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Your GRE scores must be no more than 5 years old.  UPDATE:  The GRE test requirement has been waived for the FA23 admissions cycle and will not be considered in application reviews.  You do not need to submit a GRE score to apply to the PhD program in Cognitive Science.
  • Minimum of 550 TOEFL paper score or 213 computer score (International Applicants only); TOEFL scores must be no more than 2 years old.

Materials Required

  • Online application
  • Application fee/s
  • Copies of academic records from all post-secondary institutions attended, submitted online only
  • Statement of Purpose, 2500 word limit
  • Letters of Recommendation Forms and Waiver, submitted online only
    • Recommenders will receive requests for letters through the online application as soon as the recommender page is completed and saved, regardless of whether your application has been submitted. We strongly encourage you to complete this page and request letters early.
  • International Applicants Only: Official TOEFL scores
  • To be considered for the Graduate Division's Diversity Fellowships, be sure to submit responses to the "Additional Education Experiences" section of the application.


The institution code for GRE and TOEFL results is 4836. Department codes are not necessary.

Open House

Welcome prospective grads! We look forward to meeting you. This year's open house is on February 8th - 10th by invitation. Visit our open house website to explore our programs, meet students and faculty, and view your interview schedule.