About the Department

Welcome to the Cognitive Science Program

Cognitive Science is the scientific study of the mind and brain. It investigates mental functions in humans, animals and machines. Some of the many topics are how we learn, reason and remember, how we acquire and use language, and how cognition develops in children. Cognitive Science is inherently interdisciplinary. People who work in this field combine knowledge and expertise from multiple disciplines--computer science, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, and biology, among other fields. This makes it a versatile and intellectually stimulating subject to study.

Northwestern has an outstanding Cognitive Science faculty that is highly active and visible in the field. Cognitive Science at Northwestern includes an undergraduate major and minor and a graduate specialization. To link students and faculty we feature an active program of talks, debates and workshops, as well as a number of cross-discipline research initiatives. There are competitive fellowships for graduate students in Cognitive Science and summer research fellowships for undergraduates in Cognitive Science.

Cognitive Science is a relatively new discipline. Although people have pondered the nature of thought for over two thousand years, it was not until the 1950's that the field of Cognitive Science emerged out of a combination of advances in cognitive and linguistic research, in artificial intelligence and computer science, and in the beginnings of neuroscience. Today, Cognitive Science is an exciting and interdisciplinary field, and one in which an excellent student can make an original contribution.