University of Waterloo
Cognitive Science Option
Frequently Asked Questions

Paul Thagard, pthagard@watarts.uwaterloo.ca

Why should I be interested in this program?


If you are interested in the nature of mind and intelligence, this program provides a way of surveying the different disciplines that study how the human mind works. The option does not immediately translate into any particular employment opportunities, but understanding of the nature of human and machine intelligence is useful for many careers, from managment to education to engineering.

Do I need to apply to the program in order to satisfy the option?


No. If you have satisfied all the requirements of the option, you can list it on the request to graduate form you fill out before graduating.

Then why should I apply to the program?


Several of the required courses are normally restricted to majors, for example Linguistics to English majors. The various departments involved have agreed to give students enrolled in the Cognitive Science Option the same special access to required courses that is normally provided to their majors.
That is why we can only admit 6 students per year. Fortunately, Phil/Psych 256 is not restricted to majors in any department, and ENGL 306A (Linguistics) can be taken by correspondence.

How can I apply?


Send a 1-page statement of your interest in the study of mind along with a transcript of marks to Paul Thagard, Philosophy Department, by December 1. Include your email address for notification by December 15. Students in any year can apply.

How hard is it to get in?

The program is new, so it is hard to say. In 1995, all six students admitted had averages above 75%. No first year students were admitted. In 1996, all six students admitted were in second or third year and had averages above 80%. Remember (see the second question above) that you can still take the option without being previously admitted.

Are there any other available elective courses besides the ones listed?


Yes. The list of electives will be revised in the fall and will likely include PSYCH 306 and SY DE 548. For the required courses, E&CE 457 is an acceptable alternative to SY DE 422 and CS 486.
Other courses may be acceptable.