FAQs for Prospective and Current Cognitive Science Students
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.
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 51 or 54 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 48 or 45 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 200 majors at any one time and around 50 incoming students every year.
The number of applicants varies greatly from year to year, but in recent years, we have welcomed around 50 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. For more information, see here and here.
It varies greatly. The second-year lecture 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
I'm trying to enroll in a PSYC (EECS, PHIL, etc.) course I need, but it says the seats are reserved for majors. What can I do?
As a COGS major, you should be treated as equivalent to PSYC (EECS, PHIL, etc.) majors for the purposes of enrolling in any courses that are part of the COGS major. That doesn't absolve you from meeting the prerequisites (though see the next question about an exception for LING courses), but if you do meet the prerequisites then any seats that are reserved for majors should be available to you. If you find that you're being denied admission even though you meet the prerequisites, you should contact the appropriate undergraduate office (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org for PSYC courses; email@example.com for EECS courses) and tell them that you are a COGS major. That almost always fixes it. But if it doesn't, you should contact the Cognitive Science Coordinator, who will intervene on your behalf.
I heard that COGS majors don't need to meet all of the usual prerequisites for linguistics courses. Is that true?
Yes. The Department of Linguistics allows Cognitive Science students to substitute COGS/LING 2800 for LING 1000 for the purposes of satisfying prerequisites for their courses. It also waives some requirements for other courses; see the following table for details. In the event that the York enrollment system will not allow you to enroll even though you meet the requirements in this table, you should write the UPD of Linguistics (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask for permission to be mounted (but this is just a formality).
|AP/LING 2120||3.0||Phonology 1: Analysis (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000. AP/LING 2110 is NOT necessary)|
|AP/LING 2130||3.0||Morphology 1: Analysis (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000)|
|AP/LING 2140||3.0||Syntax 1: Analysis (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000. AP/LING 2130 is NOT necessary)|
|AP/LING 3120||3.0||Phonology 2: Theory (can be taken if AP/LING 2120 has been completed with a grade of C or above)|
|AP/LING 3140||3.0||Syntax 2: Theory (can be taken if either AP/LING 2130 or AP/LING 2140 has been completed with a grade of C or above)|
|AP/LING 3150||3.0||Semantics (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000)|
|AP/LING 3210||3.0||First Language Acquisition (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000)|
|AP/LING 3220||3.0||Psycholinguistics (can be taken with a grade of C or higher in either AP/LING 2800 or AP/LING 1000)|
|AP/LING 4120||3.0||Advanced Phonology (can be taken with a grade of C+ or higher in 3120 and a grade of C+ or higher in one other 3000-level LING course)|
|AP/LING 4140||3.0||Advanced Syntax (can be taken with a grade of C+ or higher in 3140 and a grade of C+ or higher in one other 3000-level LING course)|
|AP/LING 4150||3.0||Topics in the Syntax-Semantics Interface (can be taken with a grade of C+ or higher in 3140 and a grade of C+ or higher in one other 3000-level LING course)|
|AP/LING 4230||3.0||Language and the Brain (can be taken with a grade of C+ or higher in 3220 and a grade of C+ or higher in one other 3000-level LING course)|
|AP/LING 4250||3.0||Evolution of Language (can be taken with a grade of C+ or higher in any two LING courses at the 3000-level)|
I want to take computer science courses through EECS as part of my Cognitive Science major. Is there anything special I should know?
We have had many students successfully take EECS courses as part of their COGS major, but it does take some planning. You’ll notice that the first course that’s part of the major is EECS 1022. But this course has a prerequisite that you’ll need to take first. Usually that prerequisite is EECS 1012. And EECS 1012 itself has some high school or university math prerequisites. (If you lack the math prerequisites, it is sometimes possible to substitute an alternative course as a prerequisite for EECS 1022. Talk to the Cognitive Science Coordinator.) After you take EECS 1022, you’ll then need to take EECS 2030. After that, there’s a little more flexibility depending on your interests.
To summarize, the path through EECS begins with: (1) EECS 1012, (2) EECS 1022, (3) EECS 2030. If you’d like more guidance after that, please reach out to the Cognitive Science Coordinator, who will be more than happy to help you.
One key piece of advice is to plan ahead. If you look at Part D of the Degree Requirements for the COGS major, you'll see that you need to take courses from two different departments that are primarily drawn from the 4000 level. All of these courses have prerequisites. So in order to take courses X and Y at the 4000 level, you first need to take certain other courses at the 3000 level; and in order to take those courses at the 3000 level, you first need to take these other courses at the 2000 level; and so on. (An example: suppose you want to take PSYC 4270 to satisfy 3.0 credits from your Part D requirement. You first need to take PSYC 1010, PSYC 2030, PSYC 2020 or 2021, and PSYC 3265.) What you choose to take to satisfy Part D can thus influence which courses you'll need to take earlier. So you need to plan ahead and make sure that you have the prerequisites you need from two different disciplines!