Prospective Graduate Students

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.

Information for Applicants

Department of Cognitive Science, 0515
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0515
(858) 534-7141
Fax: (858) 534-1128

Graduate Applicants

Thank you for your interest in the Cognitive Science graduate programs at UCSD. Please read the information below regarding our programs and policies. Both the Cognitive Science and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science are Ph.D. programs. We do not offer admissions to a master's program. Applications are currently available. The application fee must be paid by credit card. The fee is $105 for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, and $125 for International Applicants.

Program Information

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.

Summary of Graduate Program Requirements

  1. Foundations courses (3)
  2. Approved study plan, includes issues courses (6), methods courses (3), and laboratory rotations (3)
  3. Second-year project (6 courses, paper and presentation)
  4. Language requirement
  5. Advancement to candidacy
  6. Teaching (1 quarter each academic year in residence)
  7. Cognitive science 200 seminar series
  8. Participation in departmental events and committees
  9. PhD dissertation and defense

* Some program requirements may change.

Admissions Information and Policies

The application deadline for admissions for the 2017–2018 academic year is December 1, 2016.

Admissions 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.
  • Minimum of 550 TOEFL paper score or 213 computer score (International Applicants only); TOEFL scores must be no older than 2 years.

Materials Required

  • On-line application and $105 application fee ($125 for International Students)
  • Copies of academic records from all post-secondary institutions attended (submitted on-line only)
  • Statement of Purpose (2500 word limit)
  • Letters of Recommendation Forms and Waiver (submitted on-line only)
    • Important: Recommenders will receive requests for letters through the on-line 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.
  • Official Graduate Record Exam Test(s) scores and TOEFL scores (international applicants only)
  • San Diego Fellowship form, if applicable (submit through on-line application)

Important: The institution code for GRE and TOEFL results is 4836. Department codes are no longer necessary.

In reviewing each applicant's file, we consider the GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and the Statement of Purpose. A minimum requirement of a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), is required for admission. For foreign students, TOEFL scores are also considered. The university-wide minimum TOEFL score required for consideration for graduate admission is 550 for the paper based test (PBT), and 80 for the internet based test (iBT). For those taking the IELTS, university-wide minimum exam score required for consideration for graduate admission is Band Score 7. The better letters of recommendation come from faculty who have known the applicant for some time in both research and instructional situations. Under these conditions, the recommender can make a more informed evaluation of the applicant's promise. The Statement of Purpose is especially valuable to us in understanding a student's interests and motivations. Also, it is used to assess whether our program and our faculty can supply applicants with help toward their goals.