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Tentative Course Offerings

These are tentative schedules. Classes and/or instructors may change or be canceled. Please consult the official Schedule of Classes on TritonLink each quarter.

Featured Courses

DSGN 160: Special Topics in Design - Fall 2020

DSGN 160: Design for Future Creativity and Productivity | Professor Haijun Xia

The course covers the fundamentals of the design of creativity support tools for various domains such as graphic design, information visualization, and so on. A major component is working with a team on a quarter-long programming project. The student can use any platform (web, iOS, android, etc) and programming language (javascript, java, c++, etc)  that they are most familiar with.

Prerequisites: (CSE 8B or CSE 11 or DSC 30 or COGS 18) and (COGS 1 or COGS 187A or DSGN 1)

Request enrollment by submitting an EASy request (

DSGN 119: Design at Large Seminar - Winter 2021

DSGN 119: Design at Large (course information

New societal challenges, cultural values, and technological opportunities are changing design, and vice versa. The seminar explores this increased scale, real-world engagement, and disruptive impact. Invited speakers from UC San Diego and beyond share cutting-edge research on interaction, design, and learning. 2 units, P/NP grades only.

Meets Wednesdays 4:00pm-5:00pm.

Prerequisites: upper-division standing

COGS 87: Freshman Seminar - Winter 2021

COGS 87 (A00): How Minds and Groups Make Religion and Superstition | Professor Gedeon Deak

Why do humans, individually and in groups, attribute natural events to supernatural agents? How does the human brain accept religious beliefs, even in the face of contradictory evidence? We will examine how cognitive, developmental, and cultural factors work together to cause humans to believe in the supernatural.


COGS 87 (B00): The mindful life | Professor Andrea Chiba

Stress and anxiety color all aspects of life including how we feel about and relate to ourselves and others. Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating present moment awareness, without judgment, to our experiences. Through the cultivation of mindfulness we will have insight into the causes of our stress and anxiety. With the help of neuroscience, wisdom traditions including Buddhism, and meditation practice, we will learn to understand and relate to the difficulties of life with more openness, compassion, and acceptance, thus greatly enhancing our sense of well-being.

Cogs 138: Neural Data Science - Winter 2021

COGS 138: Neural Data Science | Professor Bradley Voytek

Project-based course in which students will use computational notebooks to perform exploratory data analyses and to test hypotheses in large neuroscience datasets, including the differences between unique neuron types, leveraging text mining of the neuroscience literature, and human neuroimaging analyses.

PrerequisiteCOGS 18 and COGS 118C

COGS 160: Seminars in Special Topics - Winter 2021

COGS 160 (A00): Language Development and Early Childhood | Professor Gedeon Deák

This course is a mixed Practicum/Seminar course designed to provide hands-on experience in research on infancy and early childhood. Students learn skills and are assigned responsibilities based on the project to which they are assigned. Students also participate in a journal club and prepare brief end-of-quarter presentations and reports. It is a 3-quarter sequence. Content, skills, and responsibilities evolve and expand every quarter. Students work with a supervisor who oversees training and task progress. 

Prerequisites: GPA of 3.3 or better; commitment to this COGS 160 for 3-quarters; permission of instructor based on interview and availability. 

Request enrollment by contacting Dr. Deak (

COGS 160 (B00): Cinema and Cognitive Science | Professor Ayse Saygin

Although cinema is primarily a visual art, it combines many features that engage our brains rapidly and effectively (sound, music, speech, facial expressions, body language, landscapes, cityscapes, interiors, text, narrative, temporal flow, etc); as such, it can be a great artistic medium to illuminate human perception and cognition. Indeed, both filmmakers and theoreticians have argued cinema may even be unique among the arts in providing natural and powerful access to human consciousness. This course will explore a variety of themes relevant to cognitive science in cinema, by exploring works of cinema. We will view and discuss films selected both in terms of their content, and in terms of the art of filmmaking, to highlight concepts, themes, and questions related to cognitive science, from neuropsychology, to design to Artificial Intelligence. The goal is to explore both how these themes are covered in cinema, as well as how cinema can help us understand more about perception, cognition, creativity, and consciousness.

Prerequisites: Cogs1, Cogs 10, Cogs 17, or consent of instructor

Request enrollment by submitting an EASy request (

COGS 182: Introduction to Reinforcement Learning - Winter 2021

Cogs 182: Introduction to Reinforcement Learning | Professor Marcelo Mattar

This course is an introduction to Reinforcement Learning, the subfield of Machine Learning concerned with how artificial agents learn to act in the world in order to maximize reward. Topics include MDPs, Policy iteration, TD learning, Q-learning, function approximation, deep RL.
Prerequisites(COGS 18 or CSE 11 or CSE 8B) and (MATH 18 or MATH 31AH) and (MATH 180A) and (COGS 108 or COGS 109 or COGS 118B or CSE 150A or CSE 150B or CSE 151A or CSE 151B or CSE 158 or ECE 174 or ECE 175A)

Course Pre-Authorizations

All COGS course pre-authorizations and prerequisite override requests must be made through the UC San Diego Enrollment Authorization System (EASy).