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CIS Graduate Program

The Cognitive and Information Sciences (CIS) graduate program offers its master’s and doctoral 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 emphasis on computational approaches to understanding 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. The M.S. program builds on on our well-established Ph.D. program, which has propelled students to successful data and cognitive science careers in academia as well as with companies such as Netflix, Accenture, Kaiser, Facebook, Cisco, and Salesforce. The average annual salary for data scientists in the United States is approximately $121,000, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that market demand for individuals trained in computer and information science research techniques is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, a rapid rate relative to other skill sets. With computational, technological, and application-oriented skills in these areas, students who graduate from the M.S. or Ph.D. programs will have career opportunities in both academia and industry.

View the CIS digital brochure

To apply, visit the UC Merced Graduate Division website. 

Applications review starts Dec. 15, 2020. Deadline for application: Jan. 15, 2021.