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Ph.D. Students

The Cognitive and Information Sciences (CIS) Ph.D. program emphasizes collaborative and interdisciplinary research training. Cognitive science is a growing interdisciplinary field that combines knowledge and techniques from the social, natural, and computational sciences and philosophy to address problems related to mind, brain, and behavior. Typically, CIS graduate students work closely with one or more faculty in pursuing scientific research, while taking a series of courses that can be tailored to the specific needs and specialization of the student. Specific program requirements can be found on this page, in addition to a suggested timeline, and specific requirements for each program milestone. (Substitutions may be made in special cases by permission of the CIS Graduate Program Chair).

Course Requirements

The following courses are required for the completion of the Ph.D. degree:

  • COGS 201 & 202: Foundations in Cognitive Science. These two courses cover the main theoretical frameworks (201) and methodologies (202) of contemporary cognitive science, with the historical context needed to appreciate progress and directions in the field.

  • COGS 210: Statistics for Cognitive Science

  • ONE graduate-level course in CIS-related computational science.Options include:

    • COGS 203: Neural Networks in Cognitive Science

    • COGS 204: Complex Adaptive Systems

    • COGS 212: Methods of Data Science

    •  COGS 222: Modeling Social Behavior

    • COGS 223: Computational Cognitive Neuroscience

  • TWO other graduate-level courses in COGS or other related programs. Special topics are regularly offered as COGS 269 or COGS 285.

Typical Timeline and Sequence of Events

The below table is only provided as an example: timeline may vary between individuals. However, COGS201/202: Foundations 1 & 2 should be taken in the fall and spring semester respectively. PhD students must also register for COGS 250: MTS every semester in residence.



Year One

Fall

Spring

COGS 201: Foundations I

COGS 202: Foundations II

COGS 204: Complex Adaptive Systems

COGS 210: Statistics for Cognitive Science

COGS 250: MTS

COGS 250: MTS

 

First Year Presentation & Report

 

 

 

Year Two

Fall

Spring

COGS 230: Cognitive Neuroscience

COGS 269: Cultural Evolution

COGS 250: MTS

COGS 250: MTS

COGS 295: Directed Study

COGS 295: Directed Study

IR Paper Prep

IR Paper Prep

 

Second Year Presentation & Report

 

 

 

Year Three

Fall

Spring
(advancement to PhD candidacy)

COGS 250: MTS

COGS 250: MTS

COGS 295: Directed Study

COGS 295: Directed Study

IR Paper Delivery

Dissertation Proposal Delivery

Dissertation Proposal Prep

Oral Qualifying Exam

 

 

 

Years Four-Five

COGS 250: MTS

Dissertation

 

Special Requirements

Residency

Students must complete at least six semesters of full-time academic residence at UC Merced. In addition, before advancing to candidacy, Ph.D. students must be registered in University courses as a full-time student for at least four semesters.

Teaching

CIS requires all graduate students pursuing the Ph.D. to acquire teaching experience at the post-secondary level under faculty supervision, for at least two semesters at UC Merced. This requirement is typically satisfied by appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Fellow in undergraduate courses.

Presentation

Students must deliver a full-length (usually 45-60 minutes) technical seminar (an oral presentation on the student’s original research) at least once while in residence at UCM. This can be fulfilled by offering a presentation at the weekly CIS Brownbag meeting; however, the seminar may be given in any scholarly public venue that is approved by the student’s advisory committee (prior to the time the talk is given). At least one CIS faculty member must be present at the seminar.