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A minimum of 11 courses is required for a student to graduate with a Cognitive Science PhD. Four of these courses are Core Courses, and 7 of these courses are Electives. Some of these requirements may overlap with the requirements of the student’s home department.

Core Courses

All Cognitive Science students must take all four core courses listed. These are non-transferrable. These four core courses represent four foundational fields in Cognitive Science: philosophy, computer science, neuroscience, psychology and linguistics. These courses (or one of the alternative options for them) will be offered regularly at least once every 2 years. Students must take them when they are offered, to prevent running into scheduling problems later.

  1. Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science: PHIL 191
    Synopsis:This course covers many current issues in the philosophy of mind (functionalism, emergence, computationalism, supervenience, etc.) and philosophy of science (reductionism, theory, models, causation, explanation). Instructor: Epstein.

  2. Computational Models in Cognitive Science: COMP 134
    Synopsis: Introduction to computational modeling in various subfields of cognitive science (e.g., symbolic and neural network models, artificial life and agent-based models, dynamical systems models). Instructor: De Ruiter.

  3. Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience: PSY 231 or PSY 232
    Synopsis PSY 231: Introduction to neural mechanisms underlying cognition (including brain physiology, neurons and neural pathways, chemical and electrical mechanism). Instructor: Race.
    Synopsis PSY 232:
    Introduction to cognition and behavior (including cognitive phenomena and functions, architectures, language, memory, etc.). Instructor: Thomas.

  4. Cognitive Science of Language and Communication: PSY 212 or PSY 251
    Synopsis PSY 212: Introduction to the cognitive science of human communication, including verbal (language), multimodal (e.g., gesture) and nonverbal communication. Instructor: De Ruiter.
    Synopsis PSY 251: Introduction to the cognitive principles and architecture of language. Instructors: Goldberg, Kuperberg.


To graduate with a PhD in Cognitive Science, students must take at least 7 elective courses in total.

Electives within the student's Home Discipline
Three of the elective courses can be taken within the student’s home discipline and are managed by the student’s home department. These courses should cover an area of Cognitive Science that is directly beneficial to the student’s research and should be discussed directly between the student and his/her Primary Advisor. Transfers for these courses are managed by the home department. Tracking of these courses are managed by the home department.

Interdisciplinary Electives
At least four of the elective courses should cover areas of Cognitive Science that are outside those traditionally covered by the student's home department. These four courses can constitute any combination from the following three groups:

  1. COGS Interdisciplinary Courses, selected from this list. These are courses that receive an explicit preface of COGS. To be designated as a COGS course, the CogSci Steering Committee votes that this course is interdisciplinary in nature, covering at least two core disciplines within Cognitive Science. No transfers are permitted.

  2. Approved courses that are offered outside the student's home department, selected from this list. These courses have all been approved by the CogSci Steering Committee. A student can petition to transfer up to two of these courses from another University, following these guidelines for transfer.

  3. By petition only. Students can petition to include any other course offered at Tufts that enables the student to gain competency in a topic related to their Cognitive Science research, allowing them to carry out interdisciplinary research. Please note: the student must have their advisor's and their instructor's approval to take the course before submitting the petition. No transfers are permitted for these petitioned courses. In order to petition to have a course count towards their CogSci electives, the student should complete this form.

COGS Interdisciplinary Courses
PSY 248/COGS 248 The Predictive Mind
PSY 210/COGS 210 Introduction to Computer Programming in Psychology
COMP 150/COGS 193 Ethics for AI, Robotics and Human Interaction
COMP 150/COGS 293 Human-Robot Interaction
COMP 150 EXM Experimental Methods for Computer Scientists

Out-of-department Electives

Child Study and Human Development

  • CSHD 151 Advanced Intellectual Development
  • CSHD 155/LING 155 The Young Child's Development of Language
  • CSHD 195/LING 195 Developmental Disorders in Language and Reading
  • CSHD 249 Applied Regression Analysis for Developmental Science

Computer Science

  • COMP 131 Artificial Intelligence
  • COMP 133 Human-Robot Interaction
  • COMP 135 Introduction to Machine Learning
  • COMP 136 Statistical Pattern Recognition
  • COMP 138 Reinforcement Learning
  • COMP 150 Natural Language Processing
  • COMP 150-03 BDL Bayesian Deep Learning
  • COMP 150-08 Probabilistic Robotics for HRI
  • COMP 150-BBR Behavior-Based Robotics
  • COMP 150-AML Advanced Topics in Machine Learning
  • COMP 150-CLT Computational Learning Theory
  • COMP 150-FML Foundations of Machine Learning
  • COMP 150-PR Probabilistic Robotics
  • COMP 150-TUI Tangible User Interfaces
  • COMP 152-06 Explainable Artificial Intelligence
  • COMP 170/MATH 170 Computation Theory
  • COMP 236 Computational Learning Theory
  • COMP 250-BCI Brain-Computer Interaction
  • COMP 250-MLS Machine Learning Seminar
  • MATH 151/BIO 151 Mathematical Neuroscience
  • MATH 153 Ordinary Differential Equations


  • ED 111/119 Development of Knowledge and Reasoning in the Science Curriculum
  • ED 112 Mathematics Learning Environments
  • ED 114/LING 114/GER 114/ML 114 Linguistic Approaches to Second Language Acquisition
  • ED 130 Human Development and Learning
  • ED 142 Education of the Exceptional Child
  • ED 182/CSHD 145 Technological Tools for Thinking and Learning
  • ED 214 Resource-based Models of Learning in STEM Disciplines
  • ED 225 Theory and Research in Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Education
  • ED 243 Assessment of Cognitive Abilities
  • ED 253 Biological Bases of Behavior and Learning in Educational Settings
  • ED 254 Developmental Psychopathology in Educational Settings


  • PHIL 111/PSY 150/LING 133 Semantics
  • PHIL 112/PSY 151/LING 112 Syntactic Theory
  • PHIL 116/STS 116 Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 117 Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 118/STS 118 Philosophy of Biology
  • PHIL 133/LING 133 Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 191-02 Non-human Cognition
  • PHIL 191-03 Fifty Years of Consciousness Research
  • PHIL 192 Upper-level Seminar: Current Work on Consciousness
  • Various topics courses related to cognitive science (including logic and philosophy of science)


  • PSY 124 Cognitive Neuroscience of Perception
  • PSY 126 Origins of Cognition
  • PSY 129 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 131 Neuropsychology of Cognition
  • PSY 132/PHIL 113 Cognition of Society and Culture
  • PSY 142 Seminar in Affective Neuroscience
  • PSY 144 Memory and Retention
  • PSY 145 Mental Representation
  • PSY 146 Comparative Cognition and Behavior
  • PSY 147 Multitasking
  • PSY 148 Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
  • PSY 149/LING 149 Psychology of Language
  • PSY 151/PHIL 112/LING 112 Syntactic Theory
  • PSY 150/PHIL 111/LING 113 Semantics
  • PSY 152 The Psychology of Bilingualism
  • PSY 153/LING 153/PHIL 110 Biological Foundations of Language
  • PSY 155/LING 154 Phonological Theory
  • PSY 196-02 Seminar in Language Cognition
  • PSY 196 Memory, Mental Sim & the Brain
  • PSY 196 Music Language & the Brain
  • PSY 196 Advanced Sem in Cognition
  • PSY 196-01 Stress and Memory
  • PSY 196-01 Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience
  • PSY 196-02 Multisensory Perception
  • PSY 196-03 Reasoning and Decision Making
  • PSY 196-04 Advanced Seminar in Emotion
  • PSY 212 Human Communication
  • PSY 229 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 233 Core Course in Social Psychology
  • PSY 234 Core Course in Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 240 Mathematical Psychology
  • PSY 242 Seminar in Affective Neuroscience
  • PSY 243 Structure and Process in Cognitive Theory
  • PSY 244 Cognition/Learning
  • PSY 245 Issues Across Psychology: Representing and Using Knowledge
  • PSY 247 Nature of Scientific Discoveries
  • PSY 250 Seminar on Decision Making and Judgment
  • PSY 254 Psychosis

It is expected that over time additional courses (from the above and other departments) will be approved by the cognitive science Steering committee and added to the list.

Transfer of Out-of-Department Elective courses
Students may petition to transfer a maximum of 2 courses that are not within the discipline of their home department as CogSci Electives.


  1. None of the five Core Cognitive Science courses can be transferred
  2. Officially designated COGS courses cannot be transferred
  3. Please see form and instructions for details about what types of courses are eligible for transfer

Procedures for petition are as follows:

  1. To petition to transfer courses, students should complete a Petition for Transfer Form and provide all the materials specified in the form. Download form and instructions.

  2. Unless the form is fully complete and the student has provided all the materials requested, the petition for transfer of courses will not be considered.

  3. This petition may be granted only if these courses are judged by the relevant faculty from that department to be equivalent to courses that are offered by Tufts as CogSci electives.

  4. When the form and materials have been submitted, the student should also e-mail the Director of the Steering Committee to alert him/her of the petition.

  5. The petition will then be considered by relevant members of the relevant department and the CogSci Steering Committee.

  6. The Director of the Steering Committee will then notify the student of the result of this discussion.