Cognitive science is a new multidisciplinary field, built around modern computational and neuroscience capabilities. UC Irvine provides the perfect modern environment for research training, as the youngest member of 61 premier research institutions in the Association of American Universities, and the best U.S. university under fifty years old according to the Times Higher Education rankings (2014).
The Department of Cognitive Sciences at UC Irvine has a tradition of excellence in quantitative approaches to understanding the brain, perception, cognition and behavior. The department maintains its historic strengths in mathematical psychology, and has seen them expand to include computational approaches to studying cognition. The department has also grown a strong and broad research program and graduate concentration in cognitive neuroscience, with expertise ranging from language and memory to brain-computer interfaces. The department continues to specialize in vision and auditory research, and has newer research areas in the language sciences, cognitive development, and cognitive robotics.
The Department has a strong focus on research, with most of our 25 faculty holding one or more large extramural grants. Our faculty includes 5 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 9 fellows and 2 William James fellows of the American Psychological Society, 8 American Psychological Association fellows, and 5 fellows of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and 2 recipients of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Award given to young scientists.
The Department has affiliations with other departments, institutes and centers on campus. These are in areas such as the biological sciences, machine learning and statistics, and include the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience & Engineering, the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, and the Center for Hearing Research.
Graduate-level training is offered in the following areas: (i) Cognition and Information Processing, (ii) Mathematical Behavioral Science, (iii) Perception and Action, (iv) Language, and (v) Cognitive Neuroscience.
A choice of two undergraduate majors is offered: Psychology (B.A.) and Cognitive Science (B.S.). While the majors overlap in certain fundamental and basic knowledge bases, they differ considerably in their focus.
The curriculum for the B.A. in Psychology is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in general psychology, and a suitable background for postgraduate training and careers in all branches of psychology.
The B.S. in Cognitive Sciences is structured to prepare students for graduate study in Cognitive Sciences or related disciplines by providing them with a challenging introduction to the field that is strongly grounded in theory and empirical approaches emphasizing experimental/computational methods.