Cognitive Science Major Requirements

Jump to:  Cognitive Science A.B.  |  Cognitive Science B.S.  |  Restricted Elective for Group A

Cognitive Science is a new and growing multidisciplinary study of the mind. How does the mind work? This is the foundational tenet of Cognitive Science. It is the interdisciplinary study of human behavior and intelligence, with a focus on how information is perceived, processed and transformed. To learn how the mind determines behavior, faculty draws from anthropology, biology, psychology, artificial intelligence, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy and sociology.  

For students interested in the liberal arts, the Cognitive Science major can be pursued as a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) program. Alternatively, it can be pursued as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program for students with a stronger interest in the mathematical, neuroscience and computational foundations of the discipline. The main objective of both programs is to give the student a broad grounding in the integrated sciences of the mind and to connect approaches from different fields. 

  • Eligibility to declare a major in Cognitive Science (current students)
  • 1.  Save your progress toward the major on a Degree Worksheet in OASIS
    2. No courses are required in order to declare; however, if you have taken courses toward the major, you must have a combined 2.0 GPA in those courses.  

    While no courses are required to declare Cognitive Science, students are strongly recommended to complete Intro to Cognitive Science (CGS 001/PHI 010) before declaring the major.
  • Declaring multiple majors
  • Current students, not in their first term, may apply for a double major using the Change of Major form in OASIS. You will be accountable for the cognitive science eligibility requirements listed above, in addition to eligibility requirements for the other major you wish to declare. Students may not overlap more than 20% of upper division coursework between any two majors—20% is usually two courses, but not always. Low-unit majors, like humanities majors, may only allow for one course to overlap. Find the overlap policy on the College of Letters and Science website.
  • Eligibility requirements for prospective transfer students
  • Prospective transfer students should refer to requirements set by Admissions
  • A.B. vs. B.S.: Does it matter and how do I choose?
  • The Cognitive Science A.B. vs. B.S.: A Side-by-Side Comparison is a useful guide that offers a brief comparison of STEM load and benefits for each Psychology major.
    Generally, it makes little to no difference whether you choose A.B. or B.S. For grad school, as long as you take the necessary prerequisite courses for the grad programs that interest you, an A.B. is usually sufficient if you'd rather not choose a B.S. emphasis.

    You should plan courses and co-curricular activities that prepare you for your chosen field and/or grad programs, no matter what your major is. This strategy will shape you into a better candidate for a job or program than completing a B.S. major alone.

    You may find that for some health programs, like medical school, you can efficiently complete some pre-health requirements by choosing the CGS-Neuroscience emphasis. 
  • Pass/No Pass Grade Policy
  • The Cognitive Science Program has no policies against taking major courses with a P/NP grading option. Students are free to elect a P/NP grading option for their major courses. However, students are still subject to the P/NP policy outlined in the College Unit Requirements set by the College of Letters and Science.

    The College Unit Requirements limit the total number of P graded units that can count towards graduation. 
    Self-elected P graded units, switched from a letter grading option, cannot exceed one-fourth of your total units earned in residence at UC Davis
    All P graded units, automatic and self-elected, cannot exceed one-third of your total units earned in residence at UC Davis 

    The Office of the University Registrar provides more information about repeating courses with P/NP grades

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (AB) in Cognitive Science

UC Davis degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts include major requirements, general education, and other degree requirements, such as foreign language. Refer to the College of Letters and Science for more information about your non-major degree requirements.  

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science

UC Davis degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science include major requirements, general education, and other degree requirements, such as 90 units of Natural Science & Math. Refer to the College of Letters and Science for more information about your non-major degree requirements.  

Computational Emphasis

Note: In 2019, the computational emphasis adopted many changes to its requirements. If you were admitted to UC Davis prior to Fall 2019, you may choose to complete the former version of the major.

Neuroscience Emphasis

Restricted Electives for Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science majors require one restricted elective under Group A: "Any upper division CGS course."

Check out our list of Approved Upper Division CGS Courses to learn about the 20+ courses, CGS and non-CGS, that can satisfy this major requirement.