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 Requirements for the Doctoral Degree in Cognitive Sciences

 Requirements for the Concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience

 Requirements for the M.S. in Cognitive Sciences and M.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience

 Joint M.S. Degree in Statistics / Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences Program

 Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy (for the Ph.D.)

 Requirements for for the Ph.D.

 


 

 

Requirements for the Doctoral Degree in Cognitive Sciences

The degree requirements listed below are as noted in the  2021-22 Catalogue.

For prior catalogue years, please refer to this link:  Catalogue for Prior Years

Course work: Students must complete 12 courses distributed as follows:

Two (2) Cognitive & Brain Sciences Core Courses: COGS 210A, 210B, 210C
Three (3) Quantitative Courses: COGS 203A, 203B, 203C, 203D, 214, STATS 210
Two (2) Computational Methods Courses: COGS 205B, 205C, 205D, 214
Five (5) Electives Open (At least two must be taken in Cognitive Sciences.
Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Graduate Director
)

Students must fulfill the Ph.D. program's computer-programming language requirement.

Students are expected to enroll in the Cognitive Sciences Research Seminar (COGS 201A-COGS 201B- COGS 201C) during all quarters in residence prior to passage of the advancement-to-candidacy examination. During the fall of the first year in the program, students must enroll in COGS 202A. Note that no course may be used to fulfull more than one requirement in the program

Second-year examination. During the first year, in consultation with their advisor, the student should establish an advisory committee consisting of three faculty members, including the advisor and at least one other cognitive sciences faculty member. The committee should meet with the student during spring quarter of the first year to determine the student’s area(s) of research interest and to identify the published literature with which the student must be familiar. At the beginning of the fall quarter of their second year, students will be required to take a second-year examination. It will involve (1) a critical review of work in the student's area of research interest, and (2) an oral examination by the student's committee members. Should the student fail the second-year exam, the student will be allowed to repeat the exam in the winter quarter. A subsequent failure results in the student exiting the program.

Make sure to complete and submit the  Second-Year Examination form.

Pre-advancement talk. Prior to advancement, usually in the third year, each student will give a talk to the department faculty and students. Each student is expected to carry out theoretical/empirical research during the first two years. By the start of the third year, each student should have completed a research project of a scope and nature that is potentially publishable in a professional journal. This talk is required prior to the student’s advancement to candidacy.

Advancement examination. The advancement examination consists of a written research proposal in NIH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship format, and an oral defense of the proposed research. The requirements for advancement are detailed below. Normative time for sutdents to advance to candidacy is by the end of their fourth year in the program.

Dissertation. Students must submit a dissertation describing original publishable research and present a public defense of the dissertation as the final requirement of the Ph.D. program as detailed below.

 


 

 

Requirements for the Concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience

Students can also pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience. This is an interdisciplinary field which studies the relation between mind and brain. With the development of non-invasive functional brain imaging techniques during the last two decades, the integration of cognitive and neural models of information processing has become a major focus in the field, and a major growth area within the department’s academic plan.

Commensurate with the multidisciplinary nature of cognitive neuroscience, the Department expects to admit students with a variety of undergraduate educational backgrounds. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, undergraduate degrees in psychology/cognitive science, neuroscience, biology, computer science, mathematics, and engineering.

Course work. Students must complete 12 courses distributed as follows:

Two (2) Cognitive & Brain Sciences Core Courses: COGS 210A, 210B, 210C
Two (2) Quantitative Courses: COGS 203A, 203B, 203C, 203D, 214, STATS 210
One (1) Computational Methods Course: COGS 205B, 205C, 205D, COGS 214
Two (2) Neuroscience Methods Courses: COGS 205D, 265, 268A
Five (5) Electives Open (At least two must be taken in Cognitive Sciences. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Graduate Director)

Many of these courses require familiarity with computer programming, which can be obtained by taking COGS 205A.

Students are expected to enroll in the Cognitive Sciences Research Seminar (COGS 201A-COGS 201B-COGS 201C) during all quarters in residence prior to passage of the advancement-to-candidacy examination. During the fall of the first year in the program, students must enroll in COGS 202A. Note that no course may be used to fulfill more than one requirement in the program.

Second-year examination. During the first year, the student in consultation with their advisor should establish an advisory committee consisting of three faculty members, including the advisor and at least one other cognitive sciences faculty member. The committee should meet with the student during spring quarter of the first year to determine the student’s area(s) of research interest and to identify the published literature with which the student must be familiar. At the beginning of the fall quarter of their second year, students will be required to take a second-year examination. It will involve (1) a critical review of work in the student’s area of research interest, and (2) an oral examination by the student's committee members. Should the student fail the second year exam, the student will be allowed to repeat the exam in the winter quarter. A subsequent failure results in the student leaving the program.

Make sure to complete and submit the  Second-Year Examination form.

Pre-advancement talk. Prior to advancement, usually in the third year, each student will give a talk to the department faculty and students. Each student is expected to carry out theoretical/empirical research during the first two years. By the start of the third year, each student should have completed a research project of a scope and nature that is potentially publishable in a professional journal. This talk is required prior to the student’s advancement to candidacy.

Advancement examination. The advancement examination consists of a written research proposal in NIH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship format, and an oral defense of the proposed research. The requirements for advancement are detailed below.

Dissertation. Students must submit a dissertation describing original publishable research and present a public defense of the dissertation as the final requirement of the Ph.D. program as detailed below.

 


 

 

Requirements for the M.S. in Cognitive Sciences and M.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience

Although the Department does not have a terminal master's program, students may earn an optional master's degree as part of the Ph.D. program. Students in the Ph.D. program in Cognitive Sciences may earn an M.S. in Cognitive Sciences. Students in the concentration may earn an M.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience.

All students who have started in our Ph.D. program have the opportunity to apply for an M.S. in Statistics through a joint M.S./Ph.D. program offered with the Department of Statistics. Students who are admitted to this joint program are not eligible for the M.S. degrees in Cognitive Sciences and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Students enrolled in the program may earn an M.S. in Cognitive Sciences or M.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience by completing the following requirements. The student must: 1) complete the required course work; and 2) pass the Second-Year Examination.

Steps to complete master's degree conferral:
 
  1. For students seeking to change their major from Psychology (780) to Cognitive Sciences (07Y), a change of major request must first be submitted. Students in the Cog Neuro Concentration need to verify that they asked to be Cog Sci/Cog Neuro (and not Psych/Cog Neuro). Please email your completed  change of major request form to cogsci@uci.edu.
     
  2. If this has not been done already, request a Master's Advancement to Candidacy (Comprehensive Exam) form to be routed for approval. This is required BEFORE the final degree paperwork for the Master's degree can be submitted. Send your request via
    email to:  cogsci@uci.edu.
     
  3. Once the advancement has been approved, the Final Degree Report - Master's Degree Comprehensive Exam paperwork must be completed for the Master's degree to be conferred. Please contact the department office for assistance at:  cogsci@uci.edu.
     

NOTE: Students cannot advance and earn the master's degree within the same quarter. In addition, advancing for the Ph.D. does not automatically advance a student for the master's. This is a common misconception. Each degree requires a separate advancement.

 


 

 

Joint M.S. Degree in Statistics / Ph.D. in Cognitive Sciences Program

Current students in the Department of Cognitive Sciences' Ph.D. program are eligible to apply for the joint program with the Department of Statistics. Ph.D. students interested in pursuing the joint program must notify the Graduate Director and receive approval to enroll in STATS 210 and either STATS 210B or STATS 211, which fulfills the quantitative requirement in the Ph.D. program.

ADMISSIONS

In the winter quarter of their first year, interested Ph.D. students must contact the Graduate Director to indicate interest in applying for the joint M.S./Ph.D. program. The application consists of:
 
  • A copy of the original application to the Department of Cognitive Sciences’ Ph.D. program, including transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.
     
  • A letter from the Cognitive Sciences Department Chair recommending the student for the joint program in Statistics/Cognitive Sciences.
     
  • A letter of approval from the School of Social Sciences’ Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.
     

The Department of Statistics reviews the application in spring quarter to determine whether the student is adequately prepared for the M.S. in Statistics component.

Upon admission into the joint program, the student is expected to pass a comprehensive exam covering the material in either STATS 210-STATS 211-STATS 212 or STATS 210-STATS 210B-STATS 210C, following the spring quarter. In the fall of the second year, the student enrolls as an M.S. in Statistics student through the Department of Statistics and completes the remaining coursework and comprehensive exam. During this year, the student continues to receive financial support from the School of Social Sciences, as outlined in the original admissions letter.

After successfully completing one year in the Statistics program, the student will enroll in the Cognitive Sciences Ph.D. program in year three, and complete the normal requirements for the Ph.D.

REQUIREMENTS (COURSEWORK) FOR THE M.S. IN STATISTICS

A. Complete the following:

STATS 200A-200B-200C Intermediate Probability & Statistical Theory
STATS 210B Statistical Methods II: Categorical Data1
STATS 210C Statistical Methods III: Longitudinal Data1
STATS 210 Statistical Methods I: Linear Models
STATS 205 Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis

B. Complete three quarters of STATS 280

C. Select two elective graduate courses offered by the Department of Statistics2

D. Select three electives from the Ph.D. program in Cognitive Sciences. The three electives must be selected from the following two areas3:

Computational Methods

COGS 205B Computational Lab Skills for Cognitive Scientists I
COGS 205C Computational Lab Skills for Cognitive Scientists II
COGS 205D Neural Networks and Machine Learning
COGS 214 Bayesian Cognitive Modeling
COGS 237 Advanced Bayesian Cognitive Modeling

Neuroscience Methods

COGS 265 Introduction to Functional MRI
COGS 268A Computational Neuroscience

1 STATS 211 and STATS 212 may be substituted for STATS 210B and STATS 210C.

2 At most, one of the two electives courses may be STATS 299, and only with prior approval from the Department's Graduate Committee.

3 These three courses fulfill requirements for both programs.

The entire program of courses must be approved by the Statistics Department Graduate Committee. Students with previous graduate training in statistics may petition the Committee to substitute other courses for a subset of the required courses. Students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination ordinarily at the end of the first year covering the material in either STATS 210 and STATS 210B-STATS 210C, or STATS 210, STATS 211, and STATS 212. At the end of the second year, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination covering the material from STATS 200A-STATS 200B-STATS 200C. Note that no course may be taken to fulfill more than one requirement within this program.

REQUIREMENTS (COURSEWORK) FOR THE PH.D. IN COGNITIVE SCIENCES

Students must complete nine (9) courses distributed as follows:

Two (2) Cognitive and Brain Sciences Core Courses: COGS 210A, 210B, 210C
One (1) of the following: COGS 205B, 205C, 214
Two (2) Cognitive Science Core Courses: PSYCH 211-219 module
Two (2) Technical Electives: COGS 205B, 205C, 214, 237, 265, 268A
Four (4) Electives: Open (At least two from Cognitive Sciences)

Many of these course require familiarity with computer programming, which can be obtained by taking COGS 205A.

Sciences Research Seminar COGS 201A-COGS 201B-COGS 201C during all quarters in residence prior to passage of the advancement to candidacy examination. During the fall of the first year in the program, students must enroll in COGS 202A. Note that no course may be used to fulfill more than one requirement in the program.

Second-year examination. During the first year in the Ph.D. program, the student in consultation with their advisor should establish an advisory committee consisting of three faculty members, including the advisor and at least one other cognitive sciences faculty member. The committee should meet with the student during spring quarter of the first year to determine the student's area(s) of research interest and to identify the published literature with which the student must be familiar. At the beginning of the fall quarter of their second year in the Ph.D. program, students will be required to take a second-year examination. It will involve (1) a critical review of work in the student's area of research interest, and (2) an oral examination by the student's committee members. Should the student fail the second year exam, the student will be allowed to repeat the exam in the winter quarter. A subsequent failure results in the student leaving the program.

Make sure to complete and submit the  Second-Year Examination form.

Pre-advancement talk. Prior to advancement, usually in the third year in the PhD , each student will give a talk to the department faculty and students. Each student is expected to carry out theoretical/empirical research during the first two years. By the start of the third year, each student should have completed a research project of a scope and nature that is potentially publishable in a professional journal. This talk is required prior to the student's advancement to candidacy.

Advancement examination. The advancement examination consists of a written research proposal in NIH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship format and an oral defense of the proposed research. The requirements for advancement are detailed below.

Dissertation. Students must submit a dissertation describing original publishable research and present a public defense of the dissertation as the final requirement of the Ph.D. program as detailed below.

 


 

 

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy (for the Ph.D.)

The requirements for advancement to candidacy are (1) the student must meet the requirements listed above for the appropriate Master's degree; (2) the student must, in addition, form a five-member faculty committee selected according to Graduate Division policy. The committee will examine the student on a topic which is determined in consultation with the committee. A written document describing the student’s work on this topic must be submitted to the committee prior to advancement. The student must demonstrate an understanding of the background and issues for the research topic and show sufficient preparation and creativity to undertake planning for a dissertation project (e.g., by describing a possible experimental design or outlining a possible theoretical development).

NOTE: Students cannot advance and earn the degree within the same quarter. In addition, advancing for the Ph.D. does not automatically advance a student for the master's. This is a common misconception. Each degree requires a separate advancement.

 Download the Dissertation Form ("Ph.D Form II - Signature Page/Report on Final Examination for the Ph.D. Degree")

 


 

 

Requirements for the Ph.D.

The requirements for the Ph.D. degree are (1) the student must formally present and defend a written dissertation proposal to a committee of at least three members selected according to Graduate Division requirements. The dissertation proposal presentation may take place as part of the examination for Advancement to Candidacy, in which case, that five-member committee will approve the dissertation proposal; (2) the proposal must be approved prior to the final dissertation defense (usually at least three months before to allow time for the candidate to incorporate suggestions and changes required by the committee); (3) prior to the approval of the final version of the dissertation the student is expected to defend the dissertation in a public colloquium announced with at least two week’s notice; and (4) all requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be fulfilled within three years after advancement to candidacy.

 Download the Dissertation Form ("Ph.D Form II - Signature Page/Report on Final Examination for the Ph.D. Degree")

The normative time for advancement to candidacy is four years. The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is five years, and the maximum time permitted is six years.

NOTE: Students cannot advance and earn the degree within the same quarter. In addition, advancing for the Ph.D. does not automatically advance a student for the master's. This is a common misconception. Each degree requires a separate advancement.

 

 

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