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Michigan State UniversityCognitive Science Program

Undergraduate Minor in Cognitive Science

Students studying cognitive science acquire broad interdisciplinary training, including skills needed to understand not just what experts say the mind is, but how to critically analyze these claims from diverse theoretical and experimental perspectives.

Affiliated departments include: CSD, LIN, CSE, NEU, PHL, IBIO, KIN, and PSY. Students can make an appointment with the Cognitive Science Minor Advisor here.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are enrolling in this minor to fulfill the interdisciplinary social science minor requirement, please see your social science major advisor.

Undergraduate Minor in Cognitive Science Coursework

Students must complete 18 credits as specified below (1-3):

1. Complete the following required course:

LIN 463 (3) Introduction to Cognitive Science

2. At least 6 of the 18 credits must be in a single disciplinary area.

3. At least 9 credits must be in at least two additional disciplinary areas.

Approved coursework (listed by disciplinary area):

Communicative Sciences and Disorders

CSD 203 (3) Intro to Communication Sciences and Disorders
CSD 213 (3) Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanisms
CSD 232 (3) Descriptive Phonetics
CSD 333 (3) Oral Language Development
CSD 364 (3) Speech and Language Disorders and their Evaluation*

Computer Science and Engineering

CSE 404 (3) Machine Learning
CSE 440 (3) Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CSE 460 (3) Computability and Formal Language Theory

Integrative Biology

IBIO 313 (3) Animal Behavior
IBIO 405 (3) Neural Bases of Animal Behavior
IBIO 415 (3) Ecological Aspects of Animal Behavior


KIN 365 (3) Sensorimotor Control
KIN 443 (3) Psychophysiological Aspects of Kinesiology


LIN 226 (3) Language and the Animals
LIN 401 (4) Introduction to Linguistics
LIN 424 (3) Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 427 (3) Laboratory Phonetics
LIN 431 (3) Introduction to Morphology
LIN 434 (3) Introduction to Syntax
LIN 437 (3) Semantics and Pragmatics
LIN 450 (3) Child Language Acquisition
LIN 455 (3) Neurolinguistics
LIN 471 (3) Sociolinguistics


NEU 300 (3) Neurobiology
NEU 301 (3) Introduction to Neuroscience I
NEU 302 (3) Introduction to Neuroscience II


PHL 330 (4) Formal Reasoning
PHL 361 (3) Knowledge and Reality
PHL 431 (3) Topics in Philosophy of Logic and Language
PHL 462 (3) Philosophy of Mind


PSY 200 (3) Cognitive Psychology
PSY 301 (3) Cognitive Neuroscience
PSY 401 (3) Expertise and Skill
PSY 302/402 (3) Sensation and Perception
PSY 410 (3) Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
PSY 413 (4) Lab in Behavioral Neuroscience

Additional courses, independent study and special topics courses must be approved in advance to ensure that the content of the course is specifically related to cognitive science. Please note: Social Science Track students are not allowed course substitutions.

College of Social Science Track Minor

Students pursuing the Cognitive Science minor to fulfill their College of Social Science minor requirement must take PSY 401, 402, or 410 as the capstone and at least one additional approved course from Psychology. Students should contact their social science major advisor for advising and to declare this minor.
MSU CogSci in the News and Announcements

Prof. Jan Brascamp, director of the visual neuroscience lab, and research assistant Haley Frey have an exhibition titled "FOMO?: Change Blindness and Selective Attention" on display at the MSU Museum Friday, March 4, 2022 from noon - 1pm. This collaboration between Michigan State University's Psychology Department and the MSU Museum is a part of the larger exhibition "The Observation Experiment" taking place from February 22 - April 30, 2022. Registration for this event is required and can be filled out here.

ATTENTION: Because of the move to remote format for MSU classes and events during the Fall 2020 semester, cognitive science events will take place online until further notice. Please see specific event pages for more details on remote attending.

Due to the novel coronavirus, all cognitive science events will be cancelled or postponed until further notice. We will release more information on new dates for postponed events as they are rescheduled. For official updates and information on MSU's response to the coronavirus, visit

Graduate student Stella (Cheng) Qian , member of the Brascamp lab for Visual Neuroscience, is the recipient of an Elsevier/Vision Research Travel Award for the 2019 Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. [link]

Prof. Aline Godfroid was the recipient of the 2019 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research. The award was granted by the TESOL organization for her study "Incidental vocabulary learning in a natural reading context: An eye-tracking study", which was published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. The article was selected by the organization as the best TESOL-related, empirical research article appearing in 2018. [link]

Graduate student Kaylin Smith, member of the Phonetics and Phonology group at MSU, is the recipient of an International Phonetic Association Student Award for the 2019 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, which takes place August 5-9th in Melbourne, Australia.

Prof. Jan Brascamp , as instructor of the Cognitive Psychology honors course, had an exhibition titled The Art of Psychology of Perception on display at the MSU Broad Art Lab. This was a collaboration between the Psychology department and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. The exhibition was active from December 15th, 2018 until April 7, 2019. Rather than educating psychology students from utilizing a traditional art history overview, the students assessed the works on display using their own disciplinary background and perspective. [link]

Prof. Arun Ross was one of four panelists in a BBC Newshour Extra program titled Facing the Future, moderated by journalist Owen Bennet Jones. The panel discussed advancements made from automated face recognition and also personal privacy and biometrics. [link]

Prof. William Hartmann was awarded the 2017 Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Gold Medal for his contributions to the field of acoustics. His research has dealt with the perceptual analysis of sounds from varying sources, processing pitch, how humans localize sounds in space, and more. [link]

Profs. Devin McAuley and Natalie Phillips received an NSF Grant, The Role of Narrative in Music Perception, to study the factors which shape narrative listening to music and the relationship between narrative listening and other aspects of musical perception. [link]

Prof. Arun Ross and his colleague from NYU have had their research on the security of mobile fingerprint scanning featured in The New York Times, MSU Today, Popular Science, Homeland Security News Wire, and Science 360 News.

Professors Arun Ross, Xiaoming Liu, and Anil Jain received a 4-year grant from IARPA to conduct research on Presentation Attack Detection for fingerprint, face and iris biometric systems. [link]

CSE student Thomas Swearingen and his adviser Prof. Arun Ross won the runner up award for best paper at ISBA 2017. [link]

Research on laptop use and classroom learning by Prof. Susan Ravizza, Mitchell Uitvlugt, and Prof. Kim Fenn was featured in US News, BYU Radio, The Conversation, and numerous higher education journals [1, 2, 3, 4].

Prof. Cristina Schmitt received an NSF Grant, Effects of Variation and Variability in the Acquisition of Two Dialects of Spanish, to study first language acquisition of Spanish in the context of variability caused by contact between two very different varieties of Spanish: Paraguayan Spanish, which is heavily influenced by Guaraní (an indigenous language), and Rioplatense Spanish (spoken in Buenos Aires). [link]

Prof. Aline Godfroid received a Language Learning Early Career Research Grant for her validation project on "Measuring implicit and explicit L2 knowledge: Synthesizing 12 years of research."

Prof. 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.

For older news, check out our news archive here.