Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Combine sophisticated knowledge in psychology, biology, and other sciences with an understanding of systems related to the brain and technical systems that imitate or replicate them.

Learn to answer questions such as "How do humans learn?" "When and why do we form beliefs?" and "What does it mean to be a 'good problem solver'?"

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This program is available as a minor.

This interdisciplinary program in Cognitive and Brain Sciences provides a focused study of the cognitive products of biological and non-biological computational systems (for example, humans and computers). These products include the things that we call perception, attention, learning, memory, language, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, and action, as well as the creation or experiencing of these in the nervous system's "hardware."

All students who choose this minor will take a course introducing them to the field of psychology as well as two more specialized psych courses focusing on the human brain and its functions in terms of attention, memory, and decision making as well as what happens when parts of it are impaired.

Additional courses provide an understanding of philosophy related to knowledge and belief by exploring epistemological questions (related to theories of knowledge) shared by the various fields that make up the cognitive and brain sciences. Balancing these deep, abstract discussions are computer science courses that explore how technology can create and store knowledge in its own way and biology courses that define and describe the actual physical nature of the nervous system—in humans as well as animals.

Rounding out these options are deeper psychological explorations of the topic in classes focusing specifically on topics such as linguistics, perception, or the effects of drugs on the mind and body. All together, the student will gain an understanding of cognitive functions and add a degree of specialization to their major program of study.

"The resources and freedom to problem-solve as a team made available to me were very different from classroom lab instruction; this internship gave me an accurate idea of what obtaining a Ph.D. in microbiology is truly like."

Maia Baskerville ’17
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major
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About Minor Programs

Although minors have fewer required courses, they're an integral part of the curriculum, adding additional experience and expertise to your education. A minor can push you deeper into your program or add a whole new perspective.

Students may declare up to two minors until the end of the first semester of their senior year. See information on declaring a minor in the Academic Catalog.


Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

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