Program structure and requirements

Matriculated graduate students (PhD or Masters level) in the Departments of Communication Disorders, Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst can complete the requirements of the Graduate Certificate Program in Cognitive Science and receive formal recognition of such completion. Matriculated graduate students in other departments may petition the Cognitive Science Certificate Steering Committee for admission to the Program. The requirements for the Certificate are:

A) The student must take 15 credits of approved graduate courses in one or more departments other than his/her major degree department, selected from the offerings of the Departments of Communication Disorders, Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology listed below. A student may appeal to the Cognitive Science Certificate Steering Committee to substitute up to six credits of courses for courses on this list. Such appeal must be accompanied by a persuasive rationale for the substitution and must be approved by a majority of the Steering Committee.

B) Up to six of the 15 credits may be earned for conducting original research outside the student’s major department.

C) A student must submit a plan of study to the Cognitive Science Certificate Steering Committee as early as possible in the student’s graduate career. The student must have completed no more than nine credits of coursework toward the Certificate when the plan of study is submitted. The plan of study must specify a cohesive package of courses to be taken and provide a rationale for the particular selection of courses by demonstrating how the courses constitute a coherent approach to cognitive science. The plan of study must also designate a member of the graduate faculty as a Certificate Advisor, and the advisor must indicate his or her approval of the plan of study.

D) The Cognitive Science Certificate Steering Committee must review each student’s accomplishments at or before the time that the student receives his or her terminal degree and, if the student has fulfilled the requirements of the Certificate, vote to award the certificate.

E) The courses listed below can be chosen to fulfill the requirements of the Certificate Program. In each case, the student should consult the course instructor prior to registering in the course to determine whether he or she has the necessary background knowledge for the course.


1. The Cognitive Science Certificate will be awarded only at the time the student receives his or her terminal degree in his or her major department.

2. The policies that have been established in each department for course registration and enrollment remain in effect for those courses that contribute to the Cognitive Science Certificate. A student’s participation in the Cognitive Science Certificate program does not guarantee admission to a course.


ComDis 580 Cognitive Bases of Language 3 cr
ComDis 610 Phonological Disorders 3 cr
ComDis 613 Language Disorders in Adults I 3 cr
ComDis 614 Language Disorders in Adults II 3 cr
ComDis 631 Language Disorders in Children I 3 cr
ComDis 632 Language Disorders in Children II 3 cr
ComDis 645 Theories of Hearing 3 cr
ComDis 896 Independent Study Variable


Cmpsci 503 (591C) Embedded Systems 3 cr
Cmpsci 572 Neurobiology 3 cr
Cmpsci 585 Natural Language Processing 3 cr
Cmpsci 587 (591B) Computing with Artificial Neural Networks 3 cr
Cmpsci 589 Machine Learning 3 cr
Cmpsci 603 Robotics 3 cr
Cmpsci 646 Information Systems 3 cr
Cmpsci 670 Computer Vision 3 cr
Cmpsci 681 Multi-agent Problem Solving 3 cr
Cmpsci 683/383 Artificial Intelligence 3 cr
Cmpsci 691O Tools for Exploratory and Tutoring Systems 3 cr


Ling 601 Introduction to Transformational Grammar 4 cr
Ling 603 Generative Phonology 4 cr
Ling 610 Semantics and Generative Grammar 4 cr
Ling 611 Psychological Background to Linguistic Theory 3 cr
Ling 614 Introduction to Phonetic Theory 3 cr
Ling 620 Formal Semantics 3 cr
Ling 711 Language Acquisition 3 cr
Ling 712 Perception of Linguistic Form 3 cr
Ling 740-748 Structure of Language Courses (Field Methods) 3 cr


Phil  542/742 Epistemology 3 cr
Phil 751 Theory of Knowledge 3 cr
Phil 584/784 Philosophy of Language 3 cr
Phil 553/753 Philosophy of Science 3 cr
Phil 555/755 Philosophy of Mind 3 cr
Phil 791-795 Seminars (when topic is appropriate; e.g., a seminar on Foundations of Cognitive Science)


Psych 530 Human Neuropsychology 3 cr
Psych 617 Cognitive Psychology 3 cr
Psych 618 Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience 3 cr
Psych 751 Cognitive Development: Foundations of Mind 3 cr
Psych 791A Human Development 3 cr
Psych 891-893 Seminar (when appropriate to Cognitive Science) 3 cr
Psych 896-897 Independent Study, Special Topics variable