Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Prospective and Current Cognitive Science Students

What makes the Cognitive Science program at York unique?

There are several things, but one is that it's a fully inter-disciplinary program, without tracks or specializations.  Other programs sometimes require you to specialize in one of the sub-disciplines (e.g. Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics) but we like to make sure that students have competence in more than one discipline.  So it’s truly inter-disciplinary.

How can I switch into the Cognitive Science major from a different major?

You can apply for a Change of Program on the Registrar Office’s website.

I submitted a Change of Program request a few weeks ago to transfer to the Cognitive Science major but my request is still pending--why?

Sometimes, these requests take several weeks to process.  You can check the timelines at the Change of Program page.

If you need help enrolling in courses to satisfy the Cognitive Science degree requirements while your request is pending, please contact the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator.

The Cognitive Science major requires 48 or 51 credits in the major and 21 credits in General Education courses. Where do the remaining credits come from to make up 120 credits?

The remaining 51 or 48 credits are electives, though you can also use them to complete a minor in another subject, or even to complete a second major in another subject.  If you intend to combine your Cognitive Science major with another major or minor, make sure not to “double-count” courses towards both sets of requirements.  Please see the program Coordinator for further advice.

Do I have to study only Cognitive Science during my university career or do I have to study Cognitive Science in conjunction with another discipline? If I choose to declare my major in Cognitive Science and minor in another subject, will I be charged extra fees?

Cognitive Science is a major on its own, though many of the courses included in the program come from other programs, like Philosophy, Psychology, etc.  There are no extra fees for combining a Cognitive Science major with a minor.

What are some of the main differences between the Cognitive Science program and the Psychology program at York?

Cognitive Science is an inter-disciplinary program, drawing on Psychology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Information Technology, and Computer Science.  It emphasizes different methodologies for studying the mind and cognitive processes, both theoretical and empirical.  Check out the list of courses that can be taken to satisfy the degree requirements.

Another thing to consider is that Cognitive Science is a relatively small major (by York standards) with around 100 majors at any one time and around 25 incoming students every year.

How competitive is the Cognitive Science program? How many students apply? How many are accepted?

The number of applicants varies greatly from year to year, but in recent years, we have welcomed around 25 students per year to major in Cognitive Science.

What is the minimum average for acceptance into the Cognitive Science program? How likely am I to get in with my high school average?

There are no specific requirements for Cognitive Science, you just have to meet the minimum admission requirements for the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS).

I am transferring from a two-year college program. Would some of my credits be able to transfer over?

Many credits are usually transferable, though those decisions are made by the Registrar's office, unless it's a course that they haven't seen before, in which case they would consult the relevant department or program.  You need to check with the Registrar or Admissions to see what credits will be transferred.

What is the application deadline for admission into the program?

What is the average class size for most of the Cognitive Science courses?

It varies greatly.  The second-year courses can have up to 90 students, while the fourth-year courses often only contain 10-15.

I’m interested in graduate school--which fields can I go into with a Cognitive Science undergraduate degree?

The most common ones are, of course, Cognitive Science (there are some MA and PhD programs in North America), Neuroscience, Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics, and related fields.  In addition to those programs, Cognitive Science graduates from York have gone on to a wide variety of graduate programs, including Speech Pathology, Education, Occupational Therapy, Conflict Resolution, and even Business Administration.  But you should check with specific graduate programs to determine whether they accept applications from undergraduates majoring in Cognitive Science, and whether they require or recommend any specific undergraduate courses.

I’m interested in pursuing the program on a part-time basis while working. Are courses offered in the evenings?

The Cognitive Science program can be pursued on a part-time basis.  But please bear in mind that some courses are only offered at specific times or with a certain frequency, so students need to have a flexible schedule to complete the requirements.

What average GPA do I need to maintain for the Cognitive Science major?

Since the Cognitive Science program only offers a BA Specialized Honours, you need to maintain the GPA required to continue in an Honours program. To continue in an Honours program, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 5.00 (equivalent to C+). Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 5.00 during the course of their studies may proceed in an Honours program, on warning, provided they meet the year level progression requirements described below.

Students who have completed less than 84 earned credits whose cumulative grade point average is below 5.00 may continue in Honours provided they meet the minimum year level progression requirements as follows:

Year 1 0-23 earned credits Minimum cumulative grade point average 4.00
Year 2 24-53 earned credits Minimum cumulative grade point average 4.25
Year 3 54-83 earned credits Minimum cumulative grade point average 4.80
Year 4 84 and above earned credits Minimum cumulative grade point average 5.00

I am a Cognitive Science major but my academic records now indicate that I’m a Philosophy major. Why is that?

This usually means that you did not maintain the GPA necessary to continue in an Honours program (see above).  Since there is no non-Honours program in Cognitive Science, once this happens, students are automatically considered Philosophy majors.  But if your GPA goes up again and you meet the minimum requirement (see above), you can apply to be re-admitted to the major.

Can I combine a Cognitive Science major with other majors or minors?

Yes, you can pursue a Cognitive Science major with any other major or minor, whether in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, or in other faculties.  The main thing to bear in mind is that you normally can’t “double-count” courses towards both majors or towards the major and a minor.  In case some courses are required by both the Cognitive Science major and the other major or minor, you should work out a substitution with the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator.

Can I pursue a minor in Cognitive Science?

Yes!  As of 2016-2017 a Cognitive Science minor now exists.  Details can be found in the Cognitive Science mini-calendar, available from the Philosophy Department office (Ross S 448).

Will a degree in Cognitive Science equip me with a set of marketable skills so that I am directly employable once I graduate? What practical applications can it translate into? Is the program suitable for a student who wants to pursue management at the graduate level?

Our graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers and professions.  Here are some recent ones: Neuroscience, Education, Speech Pathology, Audiology, Conflict Resolution, Occupational Therapy, and Management.  You can get a sense of what our alumni have gone on to do by looking at our “Meet Our Alumni” page.

Which program would you recommend for someone considering going into speech pathology/audiology/?

Many Cognitive Science majors go on to specialize in speech pathology or audiology, so it's certainly one career path from Cognitive Science.  But to make sure, you’d have to ask graduate programs in these areas whether they would consider applications from those with a B.A. in Cognitive Science and whether there are any courses they would recommend taking at the undergraduate level.  (Luckily, Cognitive Science degree requirements are not too onerous so you have plenty of room to take courses outside the major degree requirements.)