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Michigan State UniversityCognitive Science Program

Undergraduate Minor Requirements

The student must complete a minimum of 18 credits from the courses listed below, including the introduction class (463). Beyond the required Introduction to Cognitive Science, at least 6 of the 18 credits must be in a single disciplinary area (Linguistics, Psychology, Philosophy, Integrative Biology, Kinesiology, Communicative Sciences and Disorders, or Computer Science). At least 9 credits must be in a complementary department or departments.

What this means: Say you are a psychology major. You could do 6 credits in psychology to fulfill the "in a single disciplinary area" requirement, then 3 credits in computer science, 3 in linguistics, and 3 in philosophy to fulfill the "completementary department or departments" requirement. If you have questions about whether or not certain classes will fit the requirements, email info at cogsci dot msu dot edu.

Required Course

LIN/PHL/PSY 463 (3) Introduction to Cognitive Science


Communicative Sciences and Disorders

CSD 203 (3) Intro to Communication Sciences and Disorders
CSD 213 (3) Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms
CSD 232 (2) Descriptive Phonetics
CSD 333 (3) Oral Language Development

Computer Science and Engineering

CSE 440 (3) Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CSE 460 (3) Computability and Formal Language Theory
CSE 484 (c) Information Retrieval

Integrative Biology

IBIO 313 (3) Animal Behavior
IBIO 403 (3) Integrative Neurobiology
IBIO 405 (3) Neural Bases of Animal Behavior
IBIO 413 (3) Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience
IBIO 415 (3) Ecological Aspects of Animal Behavior


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


LIN 401 (4) Introduction to Linguistics
LIN 424 (3) Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology
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


PHL 330 (4) Formal Reasoning
PHL 360 (3) Philosophy of Language
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) Memory and Skill
PSY 402 (3) Sensation and Perception
PSY 410 (3) Neuroscience of Learning and Memory

Independent Study (up to a maximum of 6 credit hours) and Special Topics (CSD, CSE, LIN, PHL, PSY, ZOL), or courses from other departments, when the content of the course is specifically related to or focused on Cognitive Science, may be used to complete the specialization. Relevance of course content must be approved by the Cognitive Science advisor in advance of taking the course. Students are encouraged to take advantage of research opportunities with specific faculty members available through the Independent Study option.
MSU CogSci in the News and Announcements

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.