choosing grad schools

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Michael Sellers

Nov 6, 1986, 12:51:11 PM11/6/86
[Note: This is a new subject. The words "Turing", "Searle", "ducks",
and "categories" do not appear in this posting...okay, so I lied :-)]

There was a little discussion some time ago regarding grad programs
in cognitive science. Well, its that time of year when I begin to
dream about selling the house and going for the old P, h, & D. So: For
those of you who are in doctrate programs (or master's programs, too)
in cognitive science, how did you choose the program you're in? What
do you like/dislike about it? What are your employment prospects when
you're done? What sorts of things drove your decision of what school
to go to? What is your personal situation (single/married x number of
kids, x years work experience, etc)? What I'm hoping to get is an idea
of what the various programs are like from the inside; I can get all the
propoganda I can stomach from various admissions offices.
Thanks for your help. Post or e-mail as you want; if there is a lot
of mail I'll summarize and post it.
Mike Sellers
UUCP: {...your spinal column here...}!tektronix!tekecs!mikes

"In a quiet moment, you can just hear them brain cells a-dyin'"

Donald A. Norman

Nov 7, 1986, 10:34:47 AM11/7/86
(Weird that so many Cognitive Science issues end up in the Cognitive
Engineering and AI newsgroups. Cog-Eng was originally human-computer
interaction (the engineering, applied side of studies of cognition).
As for AI, well, the poart that deals with the understadning and
simulation of thought is a subset of Cognitive Science, so it

Grad schools in Cognitive Science. I would ike to hear a summary
(from knowledgable folks) of what exists. Here is what I know.

There are NO departments of Cognitive Science.

I know of only three places that offer degrees that have the phrase
"Cognitive Science" in them (and 3 more that might, but I am not
sure). The three I know of are Brwon, MIT, and UC San Diego (UCSD).
The three I am not sure about are Rochester, SUNY Buffalo, and UC,
Berkeley (UCB).

Brown has a department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science. MIT has
a department of Brain and Cognitive Science. UCSD has a "program in
Cognitive Science" that offers a degree that reads "PhD in X and
Cogntive Science", where X is one of the particpating departments
(Anthropology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Music, Neuroscience,
Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology)

Rochester, SUNY Buffalo, and UCB have programs that might also offer
some sort of degree, but I am not certain. Many other places have
research programs in Cognitive Science, but as far as I know, no
degree program.

The UCSD program, for example, does not admit students directly into
the program (we can't: we are not a department). Students apply to
and are admitted into one of the coperating departments. At the end
of the first year of stuidy, they apply to and enter the joint program
with Cog Sci. At the end, the degree reads "PhD in X and Cognitive

There is a major debate in the Cognitive Science community over
wwhther or it is is premature to offer PhDs in Cogntiive Science.
There are no departments yet (so no jobs in academia) and most
industry has not heard of the concept. (There are some exceptions in
industry, mostly the major research labs (Xerox PARC, IBM, MCC, Bell
Labs, Bellcore).

UCSD is considering starting a department. The Dean is establishing a
high powered committee to look over the program and make
recommendations. It would take from 2 to 5 years to get a department.
(Establishing a new department in a new field is a major undertaking.
And it requires approval of umpteen campus committees, umpteen
state-wide committees, a state overseeing body for higher education in
general, the regents, and probably the US senate.)

I would appreciatye hearing updates from people associated with other
programs/departments/groups in Cognitive Science.

Donald A. Norman
Institute for Cognitive Science C-015
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093 nor...@ics.ucsd.EDU

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