Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Students with an interest in cognitive science may pursue study and research in the area by enrolling in the Ph.D. program of one of the cooperating disciplines (e.g., Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences), and choosing Cognitive Science as their minor area.  In consultation with their minor advisor, they then choose an interdisciplinary program of study to complement the requirements of their home discipline.

The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science comprises more than 50 faculty members from over a dozen departments.  The list of participating faculty members can be found at the "Faculty" button above.

Arizona programs offer particular strength in several areas of cognitive science, including:  learning and memory, natural language processing, judgment and decision-making, visual cognition, and speech perception.

Address correspondence to Dr. Mary A. Peterson, Director of Cognitive Science, Psychology 312, University of Arizona, PO BOX 210068, Tucson, AZ 85721-0068.  Telephone (520) 621-5365.  Email:


Cognitive Science Minor Requirements

The requirements for a Minor in Cognitive Science for students beginning their graduate studies in the 2012-2013 academic year or later are listed below. 

The minor in Cognitive Science consists of 9 units. The two courses (6 credits) listed under the "Breadth Requirement" heading below are required. The other course can be any of the courses listed under the "Courses-Grad" tab.

Students are also encouraged, but not required, to take the Cognitive Science Master Seminar (COGS 696E, a rotating topics seminar offered biannually) at some point during their studies.

The Program Director can approve course substitutions.


Breadth Requirement:

(1) Introduction to Cognitive Science (COGS 517, 3 credits) is required for all Cognitive Science minors who declare the minor after December 1, 2006, unless the student arranges a substitution with the Director of Cognitive Science.  COGS 517 is offered every other year, in the spring semester.  Students are encouraged to take it in their first or second year of graduate study to promote a community of interdisciplinary students who can benefit from interacting with each other.

(2) Cognitive Science Colloquium (COGS 595, 1 credit per semester, for three semesters).  Students who are admitted for graduate studies at the University of Arizona in the fall semester of 2012 and after are required to take 3 semesters of Colloquium credits.  Students earn these credits by regularly attending the Cognitive Science Colloquium (Friday, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.) during the semesters they are enrolled, by joining in at least one student meeting with a speaker after the colloquium, and by writing a commentary on one of the colloquia.


Declaring the Minor

After selecting a tentative slate of courses, students must complete a Doctoral Plan of Study, declaring Cognitive Science as their Ph.D. minor.  This requires completion and submission of the form submitted via the GradPath forms system in UAccess.  (New users should begin with the "FAQs for Students" found on that web page.)


The form will be routed to the student's major department head, major advisor, the Director of Cognitive Science, and an advisor representing Cognitive Science.  The approved Doctoral Plan of Study must be filed with the Graduate College before a student is officially a Cognitive Science minor.  The Graduate College recommends filing the Plan of Study in the student's third semester, but Cognitive Science recommends that it be filed as early in the student's graduate career as possible.  Note that it is easy to change the slate of courses when final paperwork for the Ph.D. is filed.  Therefore, although students can declare Cognitive Science as their minor at any time during their graduate studies, there is no reason not to file with the Graduate College early in a student's graduate career.  Students who file with the Graduate College have access to a variety of benefits, including the ability to apply for Cognitive Science fellowships and travel funds (see Student Support, below).


Student Support

Students in the cooperating programs are supported by means of combinations of teaching and research assistantships, special fellowships, tuition and fee waivers.  Travel funds for Cognitive Science students who are presenting their work at a conference are available on an ongoing basis.  To request travel funds, email Dr. Mary A. Peterson at  As declared Cognitive Science minors, students are also eligible for awards given by the UA Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (, such as the HE Carter Travel Award ( and the Raphael and Jolene Gruener Research Travel Award (