Honors requirements for Fall 2020 or later first-year admits

Revised Honors Policy and Requirements: Cognitive Science major

IMPORTANT NOTE: Beginning for students who matriculated at Berkeley as first-year students in Fall 2020 and later and transfer students who matriculated Fall 2022 and later, the following qualifications must be met to become a candidate for Honors in the Cognitive Science major. 

The award of departmental Honors is contingent upon several factors including:

  • Submission of a high quality thesis, based upon independent study under the supervision of a Cognitive Science Affiliated faculty 
  • Satisfactory completion of the required courses with letter grades (described in detail below).
  • Attaining the requisite GPAs at the time of graduation (3.5 in the Cognitive Science upper division courses, and 3.3 overall). 

Required Coursework: 

Students are required to complete a Pre-Honors Research Experience course before pursuing the honors program (i.e., gaining experience in a lab as a research apprentice). The pre-honors research course may be taken from any department. For example, common courses to complete this requirement are UGIS 192 or Cogsci 199, or units from any department affiliated with a lab. A minimum of 2 units is required to fulfill this requirement. Please keep in mind that NONE of these courses counts toward the major requirements.

Students applying to the Honors Program are required to be a research apprentice in a lab prior to applying to the honors program. It is not required for students to participate in the laboratory of their intended First Reader, but this is the typical route. Students should complete their research project during their junior year.

Enrolling in a Pre-Honors Research Experience Course:

The Cognitive Science advising office will provide enrollment information for CogSci 199 (directions for applying here). The URAP office will provide the students enrollment information for UGIS 192 (course control number and class entry code) to register via CalCentral. For pre-honors research experiences courses outside of the above, please contact the department advisor affiliated with the lab for enrollment instructions. A minimum of 2 units of UGIS 192 or CogSci 199 is required.

Methods Course

Students who wish to participate in the honors program should complete a Research Methods Course during their junior year*. The methods course should be relevant to their intended focus of research (e.g., if intending to student cognitive linguistics, a linguistics methods course may be a appropriate whereas an education methods course likely would not be). The choice of methods course must be approved by the Cognitive Science advising office. Note that students who choose to pursue the honors path will have their Research Methods course factored into their major GPA. Students should consult with the PI or another trusted faculty mentor to determine which methods course is appropriate for them, and then submit their request via this formto the CogSci advisors. Some examples of acceptable methods courses include, but are not limited to: 

  • Anthro 169A-C: Research Theory and Methods in Computational Methods, Socio-Cultural Anthropology, or Linguistic Anthropology

  • Cognitive Science C140/Linguistics C160: Quantitative Methods in Linguistics

  • Computer Science/Statistics C100: Principles and Techniques of Data Science

  • A Data 8 Connector appropriate to a student's area of inquiry: CogSci 88 Data Science and the Mind; L&S 88: Data Science for Cognitive Neuroscience; L&S 88 Health, Human Behavior, and Data, etc. 

  • Data 144: Data Mining and Analytics

  • Education 150: Advanced Studies in Education

  • Education 153: Research in Education: Studying Educational Inequality and Possibility

  • Linguistics 140: Field Methods

  • Linguistics 158: Computational Methods

  • MCB 160L: Neurobiology Laboratory 

  • Philosophy 100: Philosophical Methods 

  • Psych 102: Statistics for Psych Research

  • Psych 115: Introduction to Brain Imaging Analysis Methods 

  • Psych 147: Methods in Cognitive Development

  • Stat 102: Data, Inference, and Decisions 

Cognitive Science H195A and/or B

Cognitive Science H195A-B is offered for 1-3 units per semester and students must complete at least 3 and no more than 6 units of these independent study units in order to receive Honors in the major. The course is sequential with a grade of In Progress or “IP” for the "A" portion and the final letter grade assigned for both semesters at the end of the "B" portion. The First Reader of the Thesis will provide the grade for these units after the thesis is complete.

First and Second Readers

Before starting your Honors Thesis, you will need to secure a First and Second Reader. Your First Reader must be a Cognitive Science affiliated faculty member; they will supervise your research and will act as a mentor through this process. Your Second Reader must be a faculty member affiliated with UC Berkeley. Post-doc students do not qualify as Second Readers. 

Your First Reader is who you will work most closely with. It is advisable for you to meet with your First Reader and discuss timelines for your thesis early on so that you can establish agreed upon deadlines. The readers are not technically editors for your thesis. However, you and your First Reader should discuss their level of involvement in your writing process (i.e., will you meet weekly to read and discuss drafts, will they help with edits, what are their expectations of your writing, etc.) 

Assessment of the Completed Thesis

Honors theses need to be turned in early enough for the First and Second Reader to review, consult amongst themselves, and send the Cognitive Science advisors an appropriate honors designation (Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors) no later than the first day of finals of the student's graduation term. Students and committee members should fashion a completion timeline that that can meet this deadline. Be sure to share this form link with your advisor and encourage them to submit the form before the last day of Finals. This will allow for students to be recognized during the Cognitive Science commencement ceremony and to be considered for the Glushko Prize (explained below). 

Here is a general guide to the honor's levels: 

  • Honors: Thesis meets minimum requirements of the honor's thesis and contributed something novel, or a novel approach, to the research question. Well-written. Excellent advanced undergraduate work.  
  • High Honors: Thesis surpasses the minimum requirements - contributes something novel to the field; project could lead to a grad level research project with more work. Very well-written and presented.
  • Highest Honors: Unequivocally excellent. With little work, would be ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. This is a rare thesis. 

Awarding of the Glushko Prize 

Glushko Prizes will be awarded to all students who are designated as Highest Honors by their thesis committees. This policy will simplify the Glushko process: all Highest Honors projects will receive a Glushko Prize; all Glushko prizes will be Highest Honors. Glushko winners  will be awarded the prize at the Cognitive Science commencement ceremony.

Honors students:  be sure to share this form link with your advisor and encourage them to submit the form before the last day of Finals. https://forms.gle/NdNBFCDG3MA3Sx2fA

California Cognitive Science Conference: 

We strongly encourage all Honors students to submit their research to the poster session held each year at the California Cognitive Science Conference, hosted by the Cognitive Science Student Association. 

*If you are a senior interested in pursuing honors and have missed the junior year Research Methods course requirement, please speak with an advisor about your situation and if you are still elligible to pursue the honors thesis.