Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Introductory Courses | Formal Foundations Courses | Core Discipline Courses | Extra-Disciplinary Courses | Summary of Requirements for the BA in Cognitive Science | Minor in Cognitive Science | Process of Declaring the Major or Minor | Grading | Honors | Courses

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Program of Study

Cognitive science explores the nature of cognitive processes such as perception, reasoning, memory, attention, language, decision making, emotion, motor control, and problem solving. The goal of cognitive science, stated simply, is to understand how minds work, in humans, animals, and machines. Cognitive science emerged in the latter part of the 20th century at the intersection of computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology, and is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor, drawing on tools and ideas from the social sciences, the physical and biological sciences, and the humanities. Topics of research include (but are not limited to) cognitive development, cognitive processing, judgment and decision making, language and communication, the neurological bases of cognition, perception, and memory, philosophy of mind, and artificial intelligence. A defining feature of cognitive science is its emphasis on integration among fields, for a truly interdisciplinary study of the mind. Students will be trained in formal methods of analysis and modeling that are common in majors in the physical and biological sciences, but often absent from majors in the humanities and social sciences; at the same time, students will also be trained in the advanced reasoning skills that define humanistic inquiry, but are often absent from more technical or applied majors.

The undergraduate major in Cognitive Science at the University of Chicago is designed to embody this interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind and brain. Students gain broad knowledge of the field by taking courses in each of the five main disciplinary areas—computer science, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience—and then develop further focus and depth of understanding by taking additional courses in two of these disciplinary areas. Students will form key technical foundations through a Formal Foundations requirement, and will gain critical training in integrating interdisciplinary perspectives through the two core foundational courses: COGS 20001 Mind, Brain and Meaning and COGS 20002 Cognitive Models. A distinguishing feature of the Cognitive Science major at the University of Chicago is the centrality of the humanistic component of the study of the mind: starting immediately with the foundational course sequence, questions about what it means to learn, communicate, and think will be assigned equal significance to, and asked alongside, questions about what it is to learn, communicate, and think. Training emphasizes both engagement with the principal theories of mind and the evidence that bears on choices between them, and development of the conceptual and practical skills needed for understanding and conducting theoretical and empirical work in the field.

Students who are majoring in Cognitive Science may visit the Department of Cognitive Science homepage at to learn about events and resources on and off campus and for links to information on employment opportunities.

Program Requirements

Students who complete a major in Cognitive Science will receive the degree of bachelor of arts. To qualify for the BA, students must minimally satisfy the general education requirements and take an additional 15 required courses for the major, which fall into four categories:

  1. Introductory Courses, which engage students with the core questions, intellectual history, and analytical methods that unify cognitive scientific research. The two required Introductory Courses are COGS 20001 Mind, Brain and Meaning and COGS 20002 Cognitive Models. (200 units)
  2. Formal Foundations Courses, which give students the analytical tools to explore different strands of contemporary cognitive scientific research. (200 units)
  3. Disciplinary Courses, which provide breadth and depth in the five core disciplines (computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology). Students are required to take one approved course in each of the five core disciplines and two additional courses in two of the core disciplines. (900 units)
    • Breadth courses provide breadth in the core disciplines of cognitive science and insights into their methods, practices, and theories. (500 units)
    • Depth courses provide additional depth into a core discipline through exposure to more specific topics within that core discipline. (400 units)
  4. Extra-Disciplinary Courses, which engage students with cognitive scientific work in areas beyond the core disciplines, including anthropology, economics, music, political science, and religion, to expose students to the full breadth of the interdisciplinary study of the mind. (200 units)

Note that some courses may be used to satisfy different requirements; but no single course may be “double counted” towards satisfaction of two requirements. For example, a student who takes PHIL 20100 Introduction to Logic may count it either towards satisfaction of the Formal Foundations requirement or towards satisfaction of the Philosophy Core Discipline requirement, but not both.

Introductory Courses

There are two introductory courses in the Cognitive Science major, COGS 20001 Mind, Brain and Meaning and COGS 20002 Cognitive Models, which serve two purposes. First, they introduce students to the empirical questions, theoretical concepts, and analytical methodologies that led to the emergence of cognitive science as a distinct field of study and continue to drive contemporary research. Second, they will highlight the ways that these issues manifest in the core disciplines of cognitive science—computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology—and the ways that progress on central questions about the nature of the mind have been informed by interactions, conversations, and collaborations across the disciplines. Ideally, both courses will normally be co-taught by faculty from different fields, with the dual goal of providing substantive disciplinary expertise in more than one area, and of manifesting, in the classroom, the kind of interdisciplinarity that defines the field.

Formal Foundations Courses

The Cognitive Science major requires students to develop expertise in the formal analytical methods used in the field. The specific formal skills that will be most useful to individual students depend on their particular areas of interest, so students are free to select any two courses from an approved set of options from a range of courses in mathematics, computer science, statistics, and logic. Though not formally required, experience with the equivalent of one course in calculus is highly recommended, as expertise in this area is required for many of the Core Discipline courses. (NOTE: Calculus I-II may be used to satisfy the Formal Foundations requirement only if the courses are not used to satisfy the general education requirement in the mathematical sciences.)

The following list provides examples of courses that could be used to satisfy the Formal Foundations requirement, but it is meant to be illustrative only and is not exhaustive. Students may petition for approval of a course not on this list as satisfaction of the Formal Foundations requirement by submitting a proposal and rationale to the Director of the Cognitive Science Program.

Cognitive Science Formal Foundations Courses

BIOS 20236Biological Dynamics100
CHDV 39301Qualitative Research Methods100
CMSC 12100Computer Science with Applications I100
CMSC 12200Computer Science with Applications II100
CMSC 14100Introduction to Computer Science I100
CMSC 14200Introduction to Computer Science II100
CMSC 14300Systems Programming I100
CMSC 14400Systems Programming II100
CMSC 15100Introduction to Computer Science I100
CMSC 15200Introduction to Computer Science II100
CMSC 15400Introduction to Computer Systems100
CMSC 25300Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning100
CMSC 27100Discrete Mathematics100
LING 21020Formal Foundations of Linguistics100
LING 22500Quantitative Research Methods in Linguistics100
LING 36601Intro to Python and R for Linguists100
MATH 13100Elem Functions and Calculus I (or higher)100
MATH 13200Elem Functions and Calculus II (or higher)100
MATH 19620Linear Algebra100
MATH 20250Abstract Linear Algebra100
MATH 27700Mathematical Logic I100
MATH 28000Introduction to Formal Languages100
NSCI 21820Introduction to Python for Biologists & Neuroscientists100
PHIL 20100Introduction to Logic100
PSYC 20200Psychological Research Methods100
PSYC 20250Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Methods100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100
STAT 24400Statistical Theory and Methods I100
STAT 24500Statistical Theory and Methods II100
STAT 27410Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis100

Core Discipline Courses

The core disciplines of cognitive science are computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. The Core Discipline requirements are designed to strike a balance between breadth and depth in the core disciplines, while also allowing students a great deal of freedom to construct an individualized plan of study that best matches their interests in cognitive science. Students in the Cognitive Science major must take:

  • Five Core Discipline breadth courses: one approved course in each of the five core disciplines. Breadth courses provide breadth in the core disciplines of cognitive science and insights into their methods, practices, and theories. 

  • Four Core Discipline depth courses: two additional courses in two of the core disciplines. Depth courses provide additional depth into a core discipline through exposure to more specific topics within that core discipline.

Approved electives from each of the five core disciplines are listed below; students may, in addition, request approval of a course that is not on this list by submitting a proposal and rationale to the Program Coordinator.

Cognitive Science Core Discipline Courses: Computer Science

BIOS 20172Mathematical Modeling for Pre-Med Students100
CMSC 14100Introduction to Computer Science I100
CMSC 14200Introduction to Computer Science II100
CMSC 14300Systems Programming I100
CMSC 14400Systems Programming II100
CMSC 15100Introduction to Computer Science I100
CMSC 15200Introduction to Computer Science II100
CMSC 15400Introduction to Computer Systems100
CMSC 20600Introduction to Robotics100
CMSC 20630Human-Robot Interaction: Research and Practice100
CMSC 21800Data Science for Computer Scientists100
CMSC 23900Data Visualization100
CMSC 25300Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning100
CMSC 25400Machine Learning100
CMSC 25500Introduction to Neural Networks100
CMSC 25700Natural Language Processing100
CMSC 27200Theory of Algorithms100
COGS 20100Perspectives on large language models: computational, cognitive, social100
DATA 22100Introduction to Machine Learning: Concepts and Applications100

Cognitive Science Core Discipline Courses: Linguistics

COGS 20100Perspectives on large language models: computational, cognitive, social100
COGS 24001Prediction in Language Comprehension100
LING 11100Biological and Cultural Evolution100
LING 20101Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology100
LING 20150Language and Communication100
LING 20201Introduction to Syntax100
LING 20301Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics100
LING 21000Morphology100
LING 21020Formal Foundations of Linguistics100
LING 21720Sociophonetics100
LING 21920The Evolution of Language100
LING 22460Seminar: Phonology100
LING 23501New Perspectives on Language Emergence100
LING 23701Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Language Development100
LING 23920The Language of Deception and Humor100
LING 24400Lexical Functional Grammar100
LING 26810Bilingualism and Heritage Languages100
LING 27010Psycholinguistics100
LING 28610Undergraduate Computational Linguistics100
LING 28620Computational Linguistics100
LING 29404Multilingualism and Multilingual Education100
LING 30201Syntactic Analysis I100
LING 30202Syntactic Analysis - II100
LING 30302Semantics and Pragmatics II100

Cognitive Science Core Discipline Courses: Neuroscience

NSCI 20101Foundations of Neuroscience100
NSCI 20130Systems Neuroscience100
NSCI 20510Evolution and the Nervous System100
NSCI 21015Biological Psychology100
NSCI 21625Cognitive Neuroscience in Humans and Rodents100
NSCI 21750Ethics through a Neurobiological Lens100
NSCI 21811Building the Brain100
NSCI 22010Neuroscience of Consciousness100
NSCI 22015Cognitive Psychology100
NSCI 22535The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress100
NSCI 23700Methods in Computational Neuroscience100
NSCI 23810Neurons and Glia: A Cellular and Molecular Perspective100

Cognitive Science Core Discipline Courses: Philosophy

PHIL 20012Accelerated Introduction to Logic100
PHIL 20100Introduction to Logic100
PHIL 21218Being and Goodness: Varieties of Constitutivism100
PHIL 21506Memory and Unity of a Person100
PHIL 21726The Mind/Body Problem100
PHIL 21730Aristotle's Metaphysics100
PHIL 22000Introduction to the Philosophy of Science100
PHIL 22202Modern Social Contract Theory100
PHIL 22277The Philosophy of Thomas Kuhn100
PHIL 22960Bayesian Epistemology100
PHIL 23000Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology100
PHIL 23022Agency and Virtual Reality: A Technophilosophical Exploration100
PHIL 23027Philosophy of Animal Minds100
PHIL 23401Philosophy and Science Fiction100
PHIL 23405History and Philosophy of Biology100
PHIL 23501Philosophy of Mind100
PHIL 23502Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind100
PHIL 23540Other Minds100
PHIL 24010Meaning and Reference100
PHIL 25000History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy100
PHIL 26000History of Philosophy II: Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy100
PHIL 26701Descartes100
PHIL 28010Introduction to Philosophy of Language100
PHIL 29408Intuitionistic Logic100

Cognitive Science Core Discipline Courses: Psychology

COGS 24001Prediction in Language Comprehension100
PSYC 20300Biological Psychology100
PSYC 20400Cognitive Psychology100
PSYC 20500Developmental Psychology100
PSYC 20700Sensation and Perception100
PSYC 20850Introduction to Human Development100
PSYC 21100Human Development Research Design100
PSYC 21109Concepts and Categories100
PSYC 21510Neuroscience of Communication100
PSYC 21750Biological Clocks and Behavior100
PSYC 22950Emergence and Development of Mathematics and Language100
PSYC 23120Human Language and Interaction100
PSYC 23200Introduction to Language Acquisition100
PSYC 23660The Disordered Mind100
PSYC 23720Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Language Development100
PSYC 23820Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain100
PSYC 24010Systems Neuroscience100
PSYC 25101The Psychology of Decision Making100
PSYC 25500Cognitive and Social Neuroscience of Aging100
PSYC 25620How Children Think100
PSYC 25700The Psychology of Negotiation100
PSYC 26010Big Data in the Psychological Sciences100
PSYC 26780Emotion and Motivation100
PSYC 27010Psycholinguistics100
PSYC 28962Principles and Methods of Measurement100
PSYC 28990Constructing consciousness: How do we go from matter to mind?100
PSYC 29120Human Communication100
PSYC 31900The Neuroscience of Narratives100

Extra-Disciplinary Courses

The Extra-Disciplinary requirement ensures that students also engage with cognitive scientific work outside the core disciplines, in areas such as music, anthropology, religion, economics, and political science, and so are exposed to the full breadth of the interdisciplinary study of the mind. Students in the major must take a total of two Extra-Disciplinary courses.

A partial list of courses that could be used to satisfy the Extra-Disciplinary requirement is provided below; as above, students may also request approval of courses not included in this list, or courses from other fields, by submitting a proposal and rationale to the Director of the Cognitive Science Program.

Cognitive Science Extra-Disciplinary Courses

ANTH 21355Remembering: An Anthropological Approach100
ANTH 24321Psychological Anthropology100
ASTR 23000Cosmos and Conscience: Looking for Ourselves Elsewhere100
BPRO 28400Thinking Psychoanalytically: From the Sciences to the Arts100
BUSN 20710Behavioral Economics100
CHDV 20703Literacy, Language, and Education100
CHDV 22580Child Development in the Classroom100
CHDV 23100Human Language and Interaction100
CHDV 27950Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior100
ENGL 12720Inventing Consciousness: Literature, Philosophy, Psychology100
MUSI 20719Music and Mind100
MUSI 43720Music and Affect100
PLSC 24210Politicizing the Passions: Emotions and Collective Action100
RLST 23750The End of Metaphysics and the Future of Philosophy100
RLST 24240Buddhism and Science: A Critical Introduction100

Summary of Requirements for the BA in Cognitive Science

COGS 20001 Mind, Brain and Meaning100
COGS 20002 Cognitive Models100
Two Formal Foundations Courses200
Five Core Discipline breadth courses500
Four Core Discipline depth courses400
Two Extra-Disciplinary courses200
Total Units1500

Minor in Cognitive Science

The minor in Cognitive Science consists of six courses (600 units) across the first three categories of the major:

Two Introductory Courses:200
Mind, Brain and Meaning
Cognitive Models
One Formal Foundations Course **100
Three Disciplinary Courses from three of the five core disciplines300
Total Units600

Process of Declaring the Major or Minor

College students from any field of study may complete a major or minor in Cognitive Science. Students are encouraged to construct individual programs and should regularly consult with the Program Coordinator and/or the Program Director, as well as their College adviser, about their pathway through the program. 

Students should confer with their College adviser, as well as the Cognitive Science Program Coordinator (via the appropriate form), before declaring a major or minor in Cognitive Science.


All courses used to satisfy requirements for the major must be taken for quality grades. With consent of the instructor, nonmajors may take COGS courses for P/F grading.


Students wishing to receive a BA in Cognitive Science with honors must carry out an independent research project that culminates in an honors thesis. To be eligible for consideration of honors status, students must:

  • submit a research proposal (no more than three pages) by the end of the fifth week of the third quarter before the student graduates (canonically Autumn Quarter of the fourth year)

  • submit the Honors Thesis Advisor Agreement Form, with signatures from the student and advisor(s)

  • have an overall GPA of 3.25 or above by the time of proposal submission

  • have a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counting towards the Cognitive Science major by the time of proposal submission

Research proposals should explain the project and its significance, and document the student’s preparation for the work. Proposals should be approved by the student’s thesis advisor(s), and students are required to submit completed Honors Thesis Advisor Agreement Forms as part of their honors applications. Students are strongly encouraged to identify co-advisors from distinct disciplines.

The thesis must be submitted by the fifth week of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate (typically Spring Quarter of the student’s fourth year). Theses should be emailed as PDFs to the Program Coordinator, Prof. Melinh Lai (, and to the faculty Program Director, Prof. Chris Kennedy (

This program may accept an honors thesis or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major with the consent of both program directors. Students should consult with the relevant program directors by the earliest BA proposal deadline, or by the end of their third year if neither program publishes a deadline. The Petition to Use a Single Bachelor's Paper for Two Majors form, to be signed by both program directors, must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

Cognitive Science Courses

COGS 20001. Mind, Brain and Meaning. 100 Units.

What is the relationship between physical processes in the brain and body and the processes of thought and consciousness that constitute our mental life? Philosophers and others have puzzled over this question for millennia. Many have concluded it to be intractable. In recent decades, the field of cognitive science--encompassing philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, and other disciplines--has proposed a new form of answer. The driving idea is that the interaction of the mental and the physical may be understood via a third level of analysis: that of the computational. This course offers a critical introduction to the elements of this approach, and surveys some of the alternative models and theories that fall within it. Readings are drawn from a range of historical and contemporary sources in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. (B) (II)

Instructor(s): Jason Bridges; Leslie Kay; Chris Kennedy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 26520, PSYC 36520, PHIL 26520, NSCI 22520, LING 26520, LING 36520, PHIL 36520

COGS 20002. Cognitive Models. 100 Units.

A foundational principle of cognitive science is that the workings of cognitive systems--whether biological, mechanical, or digital--can be productively represented by the operation of formal computational models. This course provides a survey of popular modeling frameworks (such as Bayesian rational agents, connectionist networks, dynamical systems, etc.), as well as the cognitive phenomena that these models have been used to simulate. We will discuss the theoretical commitments of these models, assess strengths and weaknesses of each framework for addressing different types of cognitive questions, and analyze the implications of these models' successes and failures for our understanding of the mind.

Instructor(s): Yu Ji, Eugene     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LING 30002, LING 20002

COGS 20100. Perspectives on large language models: computational, cognitive, social. 100 Units.

In this interdisciplinary course, students will delve into the multifaceted world of large language models (LLMs), investigating their computational, cognitive, and social dimensions. The course covers an array of topics, such as the history and evolution of LLMs, computational underpinnings like neural networks and training methodologies, cognitive aspects of human-like language understanding, communication, and creativity, as well as crucial ethical and social considerations, encompassing fairness, transparency, trustworthiness, and privacy. Through both lectures and discussions, we will examine the scientific and practical applications and limitations of LLMs across diverse domains and contemplate the future prospects and challenges LLMs pose for science, technology, and society. Through critical discourse, hands-on exercises, and case studies, our goal is to foster a comprehensive understanding of LLMs, empowering students to critically assess these models and contribute to ongoing dialogues regarding their broader implications. Prior experience in computer science or cognitive science is beneficial but not mandatory. Note: this course primarily focuses on cultivating reflective thinking about LLMs, rather than programming or implementation. Students with programming skills are, however, encouraged to utilize them to facilitate their learning.

Instructor(s): Eugene Yu Ji     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 20110

COGS 22000. Introduction to Linguistics. 100 Units.

This course offers a brief survey of how linguists analyze the structure and the use of language. Looking at the structure of language means understanding what phonemes, words, and sentences are, and how each language establishes principles for the combinations of these things and for their use; looking at the use of language means understanding the ways in which individuals and groups use language to declare their social identities and the ways in which languages can change over time. The overarching theme is understanding what varieties of language structure and use are found across the world's languages and cultures, and what limitations on this variety exist.

Instructor(s): 2022-2023: Erik Zyman (Autumn), Jacob Phillips (Winter), Laura Stigliano (Spring) 2023-2024: Lenore Grenoble (Autumn), Staff (Winter and Spring)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LING 20001

COGS 22001. Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to the study of speech sounds and their patterning in the world's languages. The first half of the course focuses on how speech sounds are described with respect to their articulatory, acoustic, and perceptual structures. There are lab exercises both in phonetic transcription and in the acoustic analysis of speech sounds. The second half focuses on fundamental notions that have always been central to phonological analysis and that transcend differences between theoretical approaches: contrast, neutralization, natural classes, distinctive features, and basic phonological processes (e.g., assimilation).

Instructor(s): 2022-2023: Jason Riggle (Spring) 2023-2024: Jason Riggle (Autumn)     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): LING 20001
Equivalent Course(s): LING 20101

COGS 22002. Language and Communication. 100 Units.

This course can also be taken by students who are not majoring in Linguistics but are interested in learning something about the uniqueness of human language, spoken or signed. It covers a selection from the following topics: What is the position of spoken language in the usually multimodal forms of communication among humans? In what ways does spoken language differ from signed language? What features make spoken and signed language linguistic? What features distinguish linguistic means of communication from animal communication? How do humans communicate with animals? From an evolutionary point of view, how can we account for the fact that spoken language is the dominant mode of communication in all human communities around the world? Why cannot animals really communicate linguistically? What do the terms language "acquisition" and "transmission" really mean? What factors account for differences between "language acquisition" by children and by adults? Are children really perfect language learners? What factors bring about language evolution, including language speciation and the emergence of new language varieties? How did language evolve in mankind? This is a general education course without any prerequisites. It provides a necessary foundation to those working on language at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Instructor(s): Salikoko Mufwene     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): EDSO 20150, LING 20150, LING 30150, CHDV 30150, CHDV 20150

COGS 22003. Introduction to Syntax. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to basic goals and methods of current syntactic theory through a detailed analysis of a range of phenomena, with emphasis on argumentation and empirical justification. Major topics include phrase structure and constituency, selection and subcategorization, argument structure, case, voice, expletives, and raising and control structures.

Instructor(s): 2023-2023: Amy Dahlstrom     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): LING 20001
Equivalent Course(s): LING 20201

COGS 22004. Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. 100 Units.

This course familiarizes students with what it means to study meaning and use in natural language. By "meaning" we refer to the (for the most part, logical) content of words, constituents, and sentences (semantics), and by "use" we intend to capture how this content is implemented in discourse and what kinds of additional dimensions of meaning may then arise (pragmatics). Some of the core empirical phenomena that have to do with meaning are introduced: lexical (i.e., word) meaning, reference, quantification, logical inferencing, presupposition, implicature, context sensitivity, cross-linguistic variation, speech acts. Main course goals are not only to familiarize students with the basic topics in semantics and pragmatics but also to help them develop basic skills in semantic analysis and argumentation.

Instructor(s): Anastasia Giannakidou     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): LING 20001
Equivalent Course(s): LING 30310, LING 20301

COGS 22005. Morphology. 100 Units.

Why is the plural of child in English children and not *childs? Why is undoable ambiguous ((i) 'unable to be done', (ii) 'able to be undone'), while unkillable isn't (only 'unable to be killed')? Unhappier is intuitively composed of several, smaller pieces: un-, happy, and -er; but what about unkempt? These questions are the purview of MORPHOLOGY, the field of linguistics devoted to studying the internal structure of words and how they are formed. Consequently, in this course we will investigate the nature of morphemes, in all their cross-linguistic shapes and guises. Key concepts which will frame our discussion include inflection, syncretism, allomorphy, and blocking. The only prerequisite for this course is LING 20001: Introduction to Linguistics.

Instructor(s): Amy Dahlstrom     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): LING 20001
Equivalent Course(s): LING 21000

COGS 22006. Sociophonetics. 100 Units.

Variation is a ubiquitous feature of speech, yet much of the variation observed is non-random. This class will examine this type of structured heterogeneity (Weinreich et al., 1968) from the point of view of sociophonetics. We will focus on the interrelationships between phonetic/phonological form and social factors such as speaking style and the background of the speaker, with a particular interest in explaining the origins and transmission of linguistic change. Our goals will be to (a) acquire the phonetic and phonological foundation necessary to conduct sociophonetic research through practical exercises; (b) survey new sociolinguistic research that addresses issues in phonetic and phonological theories and (c) locate and explain phonetic variation in its social context while drawing on current approaches to the relationship between language and society.

Instructor(s): Alan Yu     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 21720, LING 21720, LING 31720

COGS 22007. The Evolution of Language. 100 Units.

This course is designed to review critically some of the literature on the phylogenetic emergence of Language, in order to determine which questions have been central to the subject matter, which ones have recurred the most, and to what extent the answers to these are now better informed. The class will also review new questions such as the following: What is the probable time of the emergence of modern language(s)? Should we speak of the emergence of Language or of languages, in the plural?

Instructor(s): Salikoko Mufwene     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LING 21920, CHDV 41920, CHSS 41920, EVOL 41920, PSYC 41920, ANTH 47305, LING 41920, CHDV 21920

COGS 22008. New Perspectives on Language Emergence. 100 Units.

In this course we will investigate anthropological and linguistic perspectives on language emergence, as well the social, demographic, environmental, linguistic, and modality (vision, speech, touch) factors that contribute to the formation of new languages. Emerging languages in communities around the world offer unprecedented scientific opportunities to address important questions previously deemed intractable, such as: Where does language come from? How do our experiences of the world influence the way our languages are structured? At what level of abstraction can language be studied as an autonomous object of analysis? The topic of language emergence has tended to focus on the interaction of linguistic, psychological, and demographic factors. We will bring the important anthropological dimension to the topic of language emergence, which addresses the way that users of emerging languages inhabit the world. The readings, lectures, and discussions will address new implications for our understanding of language creation.

Instructor(s): Diane Brentari & Terra Edwards     Terms Offered: Autumn. Meeting Mondays from 1:30p until 4:20p
Prerequisite(s): One Linguistics course and one Anthropology course are recommended. Consent of instructor required.
Note(s): Consent of instructor required; To be admitted, please email Professors Brentari and Edward a paragraph-long description about what you bring and what you hope to get out of this seminar.
Equivalent Course(s): LING 33500, ANTH 33501, LING 23501, CDIN 23500, CHDV 23500, ANTH 23501, CHDV 33500, CDIN 33500

COGS 22009. Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Language Development. 100 Units.

This discussion-based course covers cross-linguistic evidence concerning similarities and dissimilarities in how children learn language across diverse language communities. Each year will revolve around a central topic. This year we will focus on the acquisition of phonology.

Instructor(s): M. Tice     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): satisfies UG category: B and Grad categories: 2, M
Equivalent Course(s): LING 33700, CHDV 33700, PSYC 23720, PSYC 33720, CHDV 23700, LING 23701

COGS 22010. The Language of Deception and Humor. 100 Units.

In this course we will examine the language of deception and humor from a variety of perspectives: historical, developmental, neurological, and cross-cultural and in a variety of contexts: fiction, advertising, politics, courtship, and everyday conversation. We will focus on the (linguistic) knowledge and skills that underlie the use of humor and deception and on what sorts of things they are used to communicate.

Instructor(s): Jason Riggle     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SIGN 26030, LING 33920, LING 23920

COGS 22011. Bilingualism and Heritage Languages. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Anastasia Giannakidou, Zoe Gavriilidou     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 36810, LING 26810

COGS 22013. Psycholinguistics. 100 Units.

This is a survey course in the psychology of language. We will focus on issues related to language comprehension, language production, and language acquisition. The course will also train students on how to read primary literature and conduct original research studies.

Instructor(s): Ming Xiang (Autumn), Monica Do (Spring)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LING 27010, PSYC 27010

COGS 22014. Lexical Semantics. 100 Units.

You can nail a postcard to the wall with a dart but you can't microwave it with anything other than a microwave. This seems not to be a fact about nails and microwaves, but rather about English verbs that are derived from nouns. Is it a random fact, or does it correlate systematically with other facts about verbs derived from nouns that a linguistic theory should account for? This class is an introduction to basic concepts and issues in the study of word meaning within theoretical linguistics. It explores grammatical regularities in word meaning, what kinds of information can be grammatically encoded by words, how the meaning of a word can determine the word's syntactic distribution, and how it relates to the inferences people draw from the utterances in which a word occurs. The course will demonstrate that addressing questions of lexical meaning draws on the full resources of linguistic theory and methodology.

Instructor(s): Francez, Itamar     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): LING 20301 - Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics
Equivalent Course(s): LING 27131

COGS 22015. Computational Linguistics. 100 Units.

This course is a mixed level introduction to topics at the intersection of computation and language. We will study computational linguistics from both scientific and engineering angles: the use of computational modeling to address scientific questions in linguistics and cognitive science, as well as the design of computational systems to solve engineering problems in natural language processing (NLP). The course will combine analysis and discussion of these approaches with training in the programming and mathematical foundations necessary to put these methods into practice. The course is designed to accommodate students both with and without prior programming experience. Our goal is for all students to leave the course able to engage with and critically evaluate research in cognitive/linguistic modeling and NLP, and to be able to implement intermediate-level computational models for novel computational linguistics research.

Instructor(s): Allyson Ettinger     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMSC 35620, LING 28620, LING 38620

COGS 24001. Prediction in Language Comprehension. 100 Units.

Language tends to follow predictable patterns, from what sounds and words are about to be uttered, to what grammatical structures are likely, to be used to what broader implications are about to be suggested, and more. One prevailing hypothesis is that the human mind can take advantage of this predictability to help maintain the rapid pace of language comprehension. This course will explore critical questions surrounding the nature of prediction processes during language comprehension. What do people predict? How are their predictions constrained? How can we study the inherently internal process(es) of prediction? What are the consequences of prediction? Perhaps most importantly, what do the answers to these questions suggest about the mechanisms and computations of prediction? Readings will primarily consist of contemporary articles from peer-reviewed journals, and class meetings will be a mix of lectures and student-led discussions.

Instructor(s): Melinh Lai     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 24090, LING 24001

COGS 25000. Artificial Intelligence, Human Condition, Human Capacities. 100 Units.

This seminar course will engage students from multiple disciplines in critically reflecting upon the current advancements in artificial intelligence with their implications for the human condition and human capabilities. The first group of readings will incorporate classical works by thinkers such as Hanna Arendt, Norbert Wiener, and Karl Jaspers on the human condition, and Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum's works on human capacities. The second group of readings will include contemporary research papers from computer science, cognitive science, linguistics, anthropology, economics, and philosophy. Students will be asked to develop their own perspective and methodology to engage with and relate the two groups of readings, further develop their literature on the topic, and write a final research paper on the human condition in the age of AI.

Instructor(s): Eugene Yu Ji     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 35000, COGS 35000, FNDL 25004, KNOW 35002, MAPS 35000, KNOW 25002

COGS 25001. Foundations of Neurolinguistics. 100 Units.

This course will explore the cognitive and neural bases underlying language comprehension and production. Class topics will draw on historic and contemporary research invoking a range of neuroimaging techniques to examine how sound, meaning, and structure are processed in the brain. Students will also explore how theories about the computations and representations underlying human language can inform, and be informed by, the biological constraints imposed by the nervous system. Prior knowledge of neuroscience is not required, but familiarity with linguistic and psychological concepts may be beneficial.

Instructor(s): Lai, Melinh     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 25001



Program Director
Prof. Chris Kennedy
Rosenwald 205E

Administrative Contact

Program Coordinator
Melinh Lai


Shekinah Thornton
Rosenwald 203