The discipline of cognitive science emerged in the latter part of the 20th century at the intersection of computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Over the past 50 years, cognitive science has grown quickly into an important area of study, drawing on tools and ideas from all of these fields.
The major is designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge and skills of a cognitive scientist combined with the ability to view, analyze, and conduct research through the lens of these additional areas of study. Students gain the mathematical and scientific skills to construct, test, and articulate hypotheses that incorporate ideas, insights, and theories from a range of scholarly perspectives.
The University of Chicago’s curriculum is particularly distinguished by its emphasis on the humanities via the disciplinary and extra-disciplinary course requirements. Humans have pursued inquiry into the nature of the mind for thousands of years. Exploring the topic from perspectives outside the core disciplines of cognitive science—religious, literary, economic, etc.—enables students to develop a broader level of engagement and inquiry, greatly enriching their overall experience and understanding. This combination provides Cognitive Science majors with a unique combination of formal technical tools with skills in advanced reasoning and humanistic investigation.
At the completion of the program, students will have an in-depth understanding of cognitive science that can support further studies in the field or related disciplines, or serve as a foundation for a wide range of career pursuits.