Jul 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

Cognitive Science M.S.

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The Cognitive Science Department offers a Master of Science degree in Cognitive Science. The degree is open to three groups of students. The first group is those admitted to Rensselaer as doctoral students in the Cognitive Science doctoral program.  Second, are doctoral students in other doctoral programs (e.g., Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems, Computer Science, and so on) who seek to acquire expertise in cognitive science research methods and domain theories which complement those in their home discipline. These students must have the consent of their advisors in their home doctoral program. The third group is those Rensselaer undergraduates who have been admitted to the five-year Co-Terminal Cognitive Science program.

Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

The successful student in the Master of Science in Cognitive Science program will:

  • cultivate a mentor-mentee relationship with a faculty member in that faculty’s area of expertise.
  • demonstrate mastery of the research literature most relevant to the topic.
  • demonstrate understanding of the methodological approaches most appropriate to the topic as well as the threats to the reliability and validity of these approaches.
  • complete either Master’s Thesis (but not necessarily a Masters project or terminal Master’s degree) requires some combination of problem analysis, data collection, data analysis, and/or modeling (as appropriate to the research question of interest) under the guidance of the faculty adviser.
  • produce a thesis (required for all Cognitive Science doctoral students who seek the Master’s Thesis) or project (an option for Co-Term students and other terminal master’s students).

Graduation Requirements

  • Thirty (30) credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
  • At least half of the total credit hours must contain the course numbers 6000-7999
  • Must be registered for at least two terms and complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of resident instruction
  • Individual course requirements can be waived or substituted -in exceptional circumstances -by the Department without decreasing the total number of credits required for the degree.
  • All Master’s Thesis students (includingCo-Terminal students who, with the consent of their advisor, elect the Master’s Thesis option) must complete and orally defend the Master’s Thesis.




  • COGS 696X - Research Problems in Cognitive Science Credit Hours: 2
    Required to be taken every semester)
  • COGS 696X - Professional Seminar Credit Hours: 4
    (Typically offered and taken once a year (usually in the fall))


  • 4000- or 6000- level Electives 2

    Includes Independent Study (494X / 694X) and can be taken any semester


  1. No more than 15 credits at the 4000-level are to be allowed. Additionally, credit(s) from 1000-and 2000-level coursework cannot be applied to the Plan of Study.
  2. All course selections must be made in consultation with the faculty advisor.

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