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Michigan State UniversityCognitive Science Program

Interdepartmental Graduate Specialization in Cognitive Science

The interdepartmental graduate specialization in Cognitive Science is available to students who are enrolled in a master's or a doctoral degree program in Audiology and Speech Sciences, Computer Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Geography, Linguistics, Philosophy, Physics and Astronomy, Physiology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Telecommunication, and Zoology. The College of Social Science administers the specialization. The Cognitive Science Program is not an independent degree-granting department.

The specialization is supervised by the Graduate Affairs Committee of the Cognitive Science Program. Students must meet the requirements of both the degree program and the specialization. Students should work closely with their academic advisors to ensure that meaningful experiences that are directly related to cognitive science are included in their degree programs. With the approval of the department or school and college that administer the student's degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the student's degree program.

An interdepartmental graduate specialization in cognitive science is offered at both the master's and the doctoral level, although a given student may not receive certification for the specialization at both levels. If a student has completed some of the requirements for the specialization that is available to master's students, but is subsequently admitted to the doctoral program and plans to complete the requirements for the specialization that is available to doctoral students, the requirements that the student has completed may be counted toward the requirements for the specialization that is available to doctoral students.


application form

outside research requirement form

Admission to the specialization is by cognitive science faculty approval. A student must have:

- a bachelor's degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.00

- been admitted to one of the master's or doctoral degree programs referenced above

To apply for the specialization, the student should submit:

-the application form

- a personal statement describing the student's objectives and interest in cognitive science

- a current curriculum vita

- a letter of support from the student's major professor

Materials will be reviewed on a rolling basis. For Fall admission, all materials must be sent to info at cogsci dot msu dot edu by November 15. For Spring admission, the date is April 15. Admission to the program must be approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee (comprising three members of the cognitive science faculty) and Director of the Cognitive Science Program.

During the first year of study toward a master's or doctoral degree, the student and the major professor select a guidance committee that will assist in planning the student's program for both the degree and specialization. At least one member of a master's student guidance committee shall be a member of the cognitive science faculty. At least two members of a doctoral student guidance committee shall be members of the cognitive science faculty including one member from outside the student's major department.

Requirements for the Specializations in Cognitive Science

Master's Students

Doctoral Students

For further information and questions about the graduate program, please see our contact information page.


MSU CogSci in the News and Announcements

Dr. Mark Becker has published five papers so far this year in Perception,Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,Packaging Technology and Science,Visual Cognition, and Applied Ergonomics.

Sunpreet Arora and Anil Jain were part of a team that won Best Paper at BioSig 2016 for their paper titled "3D Whole Hand Targets: Evaluating Slap and Contactless Fingerprint Readers".

Dr. Anil Jain was part of a team that won Best Poster at BioSig 2016 for a poster titled "Advances in Capturing Child Fingerprints: A High Resolution CMOS Image Sensor with SLDR Method".

Dr. Anil Jain and Dr. Arun Ross were awarded a three-year NSF grant under the Secure & Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program for their proposal entitled "Imparting Privacy to Biometric Data in Cyberspace".

Dr. Arun Ross (with Dr. Nasir Memon, NYU) was awarded a three-year NSF grant for their project entitled "The Master Print: Investigating and Addressing Vulnerabilities in Fingerprint-based Authentication Systems".

Science writer Carl Sherman's story on stuttering for the Dana Foundation website, titled Seeking Clues to Stuttering Deep Within the Brain, featured research by Prof. Devin McAuley.

Summer 2016
Dr. Mark Becker was invited by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to present his work investigating individual differences in cognition and personality that predict rare target detection at their Workshop on Developing Personnel Selection Tools for Forensic Scientists.

Summer 2016
Prof. Mark Reimers and colleague Bruce McNaughton received an NSF grant to study the dynamics of hippocampal-cortical communication during memory formation and recall.

Summer 2016
Prof. Susan Ravizza became a senior editor for the journal Brain Research.

Summer 2016
Prof. Mark Reimers received a Templeton Foundation grant to study the molecular coherence of genetic variants related to behavioral traits, including IQ.

Prof. Kim Fenn did an interview with Michigan Radio about the link between sleep deprivation and false confessions. You can listen to the story here.

Prof. Devin McAuley and colleagues' research on stuttering has been featured in a piece by WLNS. You can watch the video and read the story here.

Prof. Kim Fenn and colleagues recently had their sleep deprivation and false confession study featured in Time magazine, CBS news, IFLS, and on the subreddit /r/news.

Prof. William Hartmann and colleagues published their study "Transaural experiments and a revised duplex theory for the localization of low-frequency tones" in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Prof. Carol Myers-Scotton, adjunct professor in MSU's linguistics department, published a chapter in The Cambridge handbook of bilingual processing titled "Cross-language asymmetries in code-switching patterns, implications for bilingual language profuction."

Prof. Susan Ravizza's recent work on students' technology use in the classroom was featured in an article on Healthline.

Prof. Mark Reimers is leading an NSF-funded working group on data analysis for the new BRAIN technologies.

Prof. Jeremy Gray was co-author on a recent publication in Science, “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science”.

Recent graduate Mina Hirzel was awarded the Baggett Fellowship, a one year post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the University of Maryland, College Park. Mina was an undergraduate researcher in the MSU Language Acquisition Lab for two and a half years.

For older news, check out our news archive here.