Cognitive Psychology Degree Requirements

The course requirements for Cognitive Psychology graduate students accomplish two goals. The first goal is to provide students with an in-depth exposure to a set of core topics in cognitive psychology (perception, learning, psycholinguistics, memory, cognitive development and attention). These courses are typically completed over the first two years of training. Cognitive Lunch, a weekly research meeting attended by all cognitive area faculty and students, provides a vehicle for student presentations of their research. Professional development courses in ethics and teaching complement the content courses.

Basic requirements

(* required for master's degree; all courses required for PhD)
Psyc *503 Stats 1
Psyc 504 Stats 2
Psyc *551 Professional ethics
Psyc 590 Introduction To Teaching
Psyc 592 Cognitive Lunch every semester

Content courses

(*four credits required for master's degree; all cognitive program courses required for PhD)
Psyc 508 Sensation and Perception (4 credits)
Psyc 509 Conditioning and Learning (4 credits)
Psyc 510 Psycholinguistics (2 credits)
Psyc 511 Memory (2 credits)
Psyc 512 Cognitive Development (2 credits)
Psyc 513 Attention and Performance (2 credits)


The basic course work serves as a foundation for more specialized study in graduate seminars. Students typically begin taking seminars from cognitive area faculty during their second year. Seminars are offered every semester by cognitive area faculty. A total of six two-credit seminars are required and students should begin taking seminars in their second year. To fulfill this requirement, the majority (four) of seminars should be taken with cognitive area faculty.

Distributional requirements

A second goal of the course requirements is to provide broader exposure through courses taken with faculty outside of cognitive area and/or the Psychology Department. Two content courses, each at least two credits, must be taken to fulfill distributional requirements (one course of 4 credits will NOT fulfill the requirement). One of the courses must be taken in the Psychology Department but outside the cognitive area offerings (above). The second course may be taken outside of the Psychology Department but requires the written consent of the student's mentor. Completion of the distributional requirements is not required for the master's degree, but is required for the PhD. On occasion, select undergraduate seminars may be available for fulfilling the distributional requirements. Requests for an undergraduate course/seminar for this purpose must be in writing and approved by the cognitive area and the Graduate Committee.

Possible distributional courses in psychology

Psyc 540 Psychopathology
Psyc 609 Human Neuropsychology
Psyc 523 Physiological Psychology
Psyc 574 Psychopharmacology
Psyc 571 Neuroanatomy
Psyc 575 Behavioral Neuroscience I
Psyc 576 Behavioral Neuroscience II
Psyc 505 Statistics III

Note: A course checklist and timeline for completion of degree requirements is available from the graduate secretary or the cognitive area coordinator.

Last Updated: 6/27/14