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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. 

The Cognitive Science Program is a Ph.D. program. 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 2024 Application Open: September 6, 2023 - December 1, 2023  

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
  • GRE scores are not required nor taken into consideration
  • 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

Open House

  • Open House will be hosted with the Cognitive Science Department on Thursday February 8th, 2024 through Friday February 9th, 2024. This event is by invitation only.