Cognitive & Information Sciences Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. Summary and Philosophy ↥ top

Diversity Commitment

The Cognitive & Information Sciences Ph.D. program is committed to diversity. We acknowledge that diversity comes in many forms, including socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, applicants with disabilities, first-generation college graduates, non-traditional students, and more. Our faculty and students often engage in efforts to build diversity in our group, on our campus, and in our profession. We actively seek a diverse graduate applicant pool, and encourage applications from prospective students from any intersection of these dimensions of diversity. The University of California, Merced, has many resources to foster diversity, which we link for reference here. These resources include information about fellowships to support students with diverse backgrounds.

Diversity @ UC Merced
Diversity and Inclusion (UCM Graduate Division)

The Cognitive and Information Sciences (CIS) Ph.D. program offers its students interdisciplinary training in cognitive science with an emphasis on computation, technology and applications. This emphasis distinguishes us from other Cognitive Science graduate programs. We view intelligent behaviors not just as emerging solely from neural processes, but from interactions between brain, body, and environment. Thus intelligent behaviors may also emerge from group and social interactions situated in their economic and technological milieu. The word “information” in CIS denotes our multi-scale perspective on cognition, and our emphases on computational approaches and applications towards developing technologies that foster, and even aspire to emulate, intelligent behavior. Our award-winning faculty specialize in a variety of areas that intersect at this nexus, including computational modeling, complex systems theory, distributed cognition, categorization, psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, visual perception, cognitive engineering, service science, artificial intelligence, reasoning, computer vision, philosophy of mind, cognitive neuroscience, and bioinformatics. With computational, technological, and application-oriented skills in these areas, students who graduate from this Ph.D. program will have career opportunities in both academia and industry.

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Recent Graduate Student News ↥ top see all CogSci news

  • Ph.D. Starts New Faculty Position

Ph.D. Starts New Faculty Position

  • September 21st, 2016

Dr. Bodo Winter, recent graduate of the CIS Ph.D. program, has begun a new position as a professor in the United Kingdom. This exciting opportunity will allow Bodo to start his own laboratory and expand his program of research and teaching at a new [...]

  • Student Awarded Spot in Neuro Summer School

Student Awarded Spot in Neuro Summer School

  • September 14th, 2016

This past summer Ph.D. student Jessica Ross earned a spot in the Cognitive Neuroscience Summer Institute (supported by the Kavli Foundation), held at the UCSB campus in June, 2016. Her advisor, Dr. Ramesh Balasubramaniam, notes that this is a “very prestigious and highly selective summer [...]

  • CIS PhD Graduates Begin Postdocs

CIS PhD Graduates Begin Postdocs

  • August 29th, 2016

We followed up with Drs. Alexandra Paxton and Drew Abney about their new adventures. Both recent Ph.D. graduates from UC Merced’s Cognitive & Information Sciences program, Alex is one semester into her postdoc at UC Berkeley on big data, and Drew is beginning his [...]

  • Ph.D. Student Gets Insight

Ph.D. Student Gets Insight

  • July 6th, 2015

Dr. Katherine Livins, recent graduate of the CIS Ph.D. program, was awarded a prestigious spot in the postdoctoral training program called “Insight.” This program involves summer intensive technical training to bridge academic and scientific methods to industry application, along with subsequent placement in a major [...]

  • PhD Student Wins IBM Fellowship

PhD Student Wins IBM Fellowship

  • March 25th, 2015

Cognitive & Information Sciences Ph.D. student David Vinson has been awarded a prestigious IBM Ph.D. Fellowship. The award supports David for one academic year, and an opportunity to be mentored by an IBM scientist and participate in IBM’s research community, all while supporting his [...]

  • CIS a Presence at Linguistics Conference

CIS a Presence at Linguistics Conference

  • November 13th, 2014

UC Merced’s CIS program was a major presence at an important linguistics conference this fall. A number of graduate students from the Cognitive and Information Sciences program returned recently from the CSDL (Conceptual Structure in Discourse and Language) conference, an interdisciplinary conference for linguists and [...]


Resources for Current Students ↥ top

See our current Ph.D. students

Ph.D. Program Details

Read about the courses and milestones in our Ph.D. program. Most expectations surround active engagement in research.Click here to read

Links and Resources

Assorted forms, links, and informational items for current graduate students.Click here to see

Journal RSS Feeds

RSS feeds from a sampling of prominent journal outlets in the cognitive sciences. Let’s keep up!See what's new out there