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B.S. with a Specialization in Clinical Aspects of Cognition

Major Code: CG31

A major may elect to receive a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Clinical Aspects of Cognition. This area of specialization is intended for majors interested in cognitive neuropsychology, psychiatry, cognitive disorders, and the effects of drugs and brain-damage on cognitive functions. Allowed electives include courses in those topics, as well as organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology. 

Major Requirements

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Lower Division Requirements

(11 courses, 44 units or 10 courses, 40 units)


  • MATH 10A, 10B, 10C, 18
  • OR MATH 20A, 20B, 18

* Students intending to take COGS 118A, B, C, or D are advised to take COGS 18 and MATH 20-A-B-C-E, 18, and 180A before their junior year.

Cognitive Science

  • Introduction: COGS 1
  • Design: COGS 10 or DSGN 1
  • Methods: COGS 13, 14A, 14B
  • Neuroscience: COGS 17
  • Programming: COGS 18 or BILD 62 or CSE 6R or 8A or 11

Upper Division Requirements

(12 courses, 48 units)

Core (6 courses)

  • Distributed Cognition: COGS 100
  • Fundamental Cognitive Phenomena (choose any 2): COGS 101A, 101B, 101C
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (choose any 2): COGS 107A, 107B, 107C
  • Computation: COGS 108

Electives (6 courses)

  • A total of 6 electives are required. 4 courses must be selected from the CG31 section on the approved specialization electives list. 2 courses must be selected from the approved general CogSci electives list.
    • Out of the 6 total electives, at least 3 courses must be taken within the Cognitive Science department (“COGS” courses).
  • One course in the Cognitive Science 19X series may be used as an elective to satisfy the requirements for the B.S. degree, but only with the approval of both the instructor who supervised the course and the undergraduate advisor.
  • COGS 160 may only be used once for an elective.

Approved Electives (PDF)

Approved Specialization Electives (PDF)


Courses for the major must be taken for a letter grade (with the exception of 195, 197, 198, and 199 which are only offered on a P/NP basis). A minimum grade of C- is required for all courses.

Clinical Aspects of Cognition Faculty

Andrea Chiba. Professor, CSB 163, (858) 822-1817,, website. Research: Spatial attention, associative learning, acetylcholine, amygdala.

Terry L. Jernigan. Professor; Director of CHD, AP&M 5343, (858) 534-1548,, website. Research: Relationship of brain development, genetic factors, and experience to developing behavioral phenotypes in children. Individual differences in learning and in neural architectures.

Douglas A. Nitz. Professor, CSB 171, (858) 534-1132,, website. Research: Neural basis of spatial cognition and episodic memory, hippocampus, parietal cortex, premotor cortex.

Lara Rangel. Assistant Professor,, website. Research: Rhythmic coordination of brain activity, information processing in neural networks, dynamic interactions between neurons, learning, memory, neuromodulation.

Ayse P. Saygin. Associate Professor, SSRB 202-208, (858) 822-1994,, website. Research: Cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, neuroimaging, visual perception, attention, multisensory integration, biological motion, social neuroscience, language comprehension, human-machine interaction, social robotics.

Recommended Clinical Aspects of Cognition Courses

COGS 154. Communication Disorders in Children and Adults (4)
Neural bases of language use in normal adults, and neural bases of language and communication development in normal children. Evidence on the language and communication deficits in adults (especially aphasia and dementia) and children (specific language impairment, focal brain injury, retardation, and autism). Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

COGS 163. Metabolic Disorders of the Brain (4)
Research is showing that cellular metabolic processes are mediating normal and abnormal brain function. For example, neurocognitive disorders often co-occur with metabolic disturbances, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. An understanding of these mechanisms will provide insight to new treatments for cognitive and neurological disorders. The course will cover topics on the role of abnormal cellular structure, genetic, epigenetic and pathogenic influences on synaptic signaling. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

COGS 169. Genetic Information for Behavior: From Single Cells to Mammals (4)
Behavior draws on a wide range of genes acting as a complex source of information. Model organisms—bacteria, Paramecium, C. elegans, Drosophila, and mice—have provided insight into how genes influence both innate and learned behaviors. Prerequisites: Cognitive Science 1 and 107A or permission of instructor.

COGS 171. Mirror Neuron System (4)
This class will examine the neuroanatomy, physiology, and functional correlates of the human mirror neuron system and its putative role in social cognition, e.g., action understanding, empathy, and theory of mind. We will examine the developmental, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, as well as clinical evidence, for and against this hypothesis. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

COGS 172. Brain Disorders and Cognition (4)
A review of the patterns of impaired and intact cognitive abilities present in brain-damaged patients in terms of damage to one or more components of a model of normal cognitive functioning. (Cognitive science majors may not receive elective credit for both Psychology 139 and Cognitive Science 172.) Prerequisites: Cognitive Science 107A.

COGS 174. Drugs: Brain, Mind, and Culture (4)
This course explores how drugs interact with the brain/mind and culture. It covers evolutionary and historical perspectives, brain chemistry, pharmacology, expectancies and placebo effects, and models of addiction. It also provides a biopsychosocial survey of commonly used and abused substances. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

COGS 175. The Neuropsychological Basis of Alternate States of Consciousness (4)
This course will review the literature that correlates brain rhythms in the human EEG with aspects of cognition, behavioral states, neuropsycho-pharmacology, and psychopathology in order to understand the psychological and neurophysiological underpinnings of these experiences. Prerequisites: Cognitive Science 101A or Cognitive Science 107A.

COGS 176. From Sleep to Attention (4)
This course will combine an examination of the neural character of quiet and active sleep states and their potential functions with an examination of the different mechanisms by which the brain mediates attention to specific features of the world. Prerequisites:  Cognitive Science 107A.

Career and Graduate School Resources

Possible careers: mental health professional, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social service worker, teacher/education, special education teacher.