Graduate student already enrolled in a CU Boulder PhD program specified below can earn a combined PhD with cognitive science. Earning such a degree can significantly enhance a student’s academic knowledge and career choices. The program has formal approval from the Graduate School. Upon completion of the requirements, students fill out the Combined PhD Completion Checklist and turn it in at the Institute's main office, after which the PhD program is acknowledged on the student’s diploma.

Apply for ICS Cognitive Science Combined PhD Program by completing the following 3 steps:

Step 1

First be admitted to a CU Boulder graduate program in one
of the following departments/units:

  Architecture and Planning; Computer Science; Information Science;
Integrative Physiology; LinguisticsPhilosophy;
Psychology and Neuroscience; School of Education;
Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences. Students enrolled
in graduate programs from other departments may request
approval to participate.
Step 2 Be in good academic standing in one of the above departments
and units.
Step 3 Apply for admission to the PhD Program in the Institute of
Cognitive Science by submitting the following items to the
ICS office located at UCB 344, MUEN PSYCH Building
D418 University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309:
  Submit an ICS application form
Submit an Unofficial Transcript from your department/unit
Submit a Plan of Study













For more information on becoming a University of Colorado graduate student prior to applying for the ICS graduate programs, contact the following departments/units directly:
     Architecture and Planning
     Computer Science
     Information Science
     Integrative Physiology
     Psychology and Neuroscience
     School of Education
     Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences
     Students enrolled in graduate programs from other departments may request approval
     to participate.

Requirements for the PhD in Cognitive Science

Required Core Courses

  • An introductory course, Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science (3 units). Students should complete this course by the end of the second year of their program. By completing this course, students become eligible to apply for travel grants.
  • Topics in Cognitive Science (1 unit), taken twice (2 semesters)
  • Research Applications Seminar (formerly Cognitive Science Practicum) (2 units), taken twice (2 semesters). This course should be taken as you prepare your dissertation topic proposal or equivalent.

Hours Required

  • A total of 30 hours of cognitive science courses, to include:
    • 9 hours of required cognitive science core courses and
    • 21 hours of other elective cognitive science courses
    • At least 12 of the 21 elective hours must be outside the home department, including courses in at least two different departments outside the home department. *Each course must be at least two credits.

*Up to six units may be transferred from a different accredited institution. Candidate will submit a proposal of course substitutions based on the approved course list which will demonstrate comparable course content. A decision to accept substitute course work is at the discretion of the academic program director and/or curriculum committee based on the available information.

Thesis Requirements

  • The original contributions of the dissertation research should exploit state-of-the-art methods from the perspective of at least two disciplines.
  • Students are encouraged to have their doctoral research co-supervised by two faculty members representing different disciplines.
  • At least one supervisor will be an ICS faculty fellow.
  • The doctoral committee will include at least two ICS faculty fellows from outside the home department.
  • In accordance with the rules of the graduate school, students must take at least 30 hours of dissertation research.

For more information on the Cognitive Science Courses contact:
Donna Caccamise
             Associate Director and Academic Program Director
             Institute of Cognitive Science