Degree Requirements

CogSci Degree Requirements

Cognitive Science is an impacted major. This means that demand for spots in our major outnumber the available spots. Because of this overwhelming demand, we have instituted a series of policies regarding admission to the major. Since the policies have changed over time, please refer to the chart below to find which version applies to you. 

Students who have not met the minimum requirements associated with the term they were admitted to Cal will not be allowed to declare the Cognitive Science major. There is no petition process for students who have not met the requirements. 

Admit TermPrerequisites and grades needed to declare
Spring 2015 and earlierAverage GPA of 2.0 or higher in Computer Science 61A or Engineering 7 AND Math 1A or Math 16A is required for admission to the major. This is in addition to a 2.0 overall UCB GPA.
Fall 2015-Spring 2018. Transfers students admitted Fall 18 - Spring 20 are subject to these declaration requirements.A “C” grade or higher in Computer Science 61A or Engineering 7 and Math1A or 16A is required for admission to the major. This is in addition to a 2.0 overall UCB GPA.
Fall 2018 and later IF admitted as a freshman.A "C" in Computer Science/Stats C8, Computer Science 61A or Engineering 7, and Math 1A or 16A is required for admission to the major. This is in addition to a 2.0 overall UCB GPA. Additionally, first-year entry students must declare the major before they have earned 75 units on campus.

The requirements for completion of the Cognitive Science major are divided into four categories: 

  1. Prerequisites that must be completed before a student can declare
  2. Lower division requirements that should be taken as early as possible but which can be taken after declaration
  3. Six upper division distribution requirements. One course must be taken from each category
  4. At least 3 upper division electives chosen from our on the comprehensive CogSci course list or approved via the CogSci elective petition form

1. Prerequisites to be taken before declaration (if you are a freshman admit who matriculated before Fall '18 or a transfer student who will matriculate before Spring '20  see the chart above for your prereq requirements). 

Prerequisite CategoryCourse Options
Data ScienceComputer Science/Statistics C8 (known as Data 8)
CalculusMath 1A OR Math 16A OR 3 or higher in AP Calculus AB or BC
Computer ProgrammingComputer Science 61A OR Engineering 7

2. Lower Division Requirements to be taken as soon as possible

Lower Division Requirement Category Course Options
Disciplinary OverviewCognitive Science 1 OR Cognitive Science 1B OR Cognitive Science N1
Discrete MathMath 55 OR Computer Science 70
NeuroscienceMolecular Cell Biology/Psychology C61 OR Molecular Cell Biology C64 OR Molecular Cell Biology W61

3. One course from each of the six distribution groups

Distribution Group CategoryCourse Options
Cognitive NeuroscienceAnthropology 107; CogSci/Psychology C127; Psychology 117; Psychology 133
Cognitive PsychologyCogSci C100/Psychology C120; CogSci C102/Psychology C129; CogSci/Psychology C124; CogSci/Psychology C126; Psychology 122; Psychology C143/Ling C146; Psychology 164; Psychology 140
Computational ModelingCogSci 131; Computer Science 188
LinguisticsLinguistics 100; CogSci C101/Linguistics C105; CogSci/Linguistics C142; CogSci/Linguistics C147; Ling 108
PhilosophyPhilosophy 3; 12A; 25A; 25B; 122; 132; 133; 135; 136
Society, Culture, and CognitionAnthropology 166; Information 103; CogSci/Linguistics C104; Economics 119; Education 140AC/Education W140A; Linguistics 150; Psychology 107; Psychology 160; Psychology 164; Psychology 166AC; Sociology 150

4. At Least Three Elective Courses

If a student takes more than one course from any distribution group, the additional courses can count as upper div electives (with the exception of lower division Philosophy options).

Use this spreadsheet to search a list of all approved CogSci courses, both elective and distribution. It is sortable by by L&S Breadth category and by the types of CogSci requirements the course is eligible to fulfill. Some courses can fulfill a distribution group or an elective, and others can only fulfill electives. 

If you discover an interesting upper division course with an explicit connection to the study of the mind, either on campus or at another institution, you may submit a petition to determine whether it can count as a CogSci elective. 

Requirements to complete the degree in Cognitive Science

All students must: 

  1. Complete all required courses with a letter grade
  2. Complete at least 30 upper division units in the major
  3. Complete at least one course from each of the six distribution groups
  4. Complete at least three electives found on the comprehensive CogSci course list or approved via the CogSci elective petition form
  5. Achieve at minimum a 2.0 GPA in your upper division coursework in the major.  
  6. Students must receive a passing grade in each course.