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Undergraduate Programs

Example Track Themes

Four upper-level electives (the “track”) are required for the brain and cognitive science (BCS) major. A track theme should be identified and at least three of the four electives should relate to that theme.

The following are examples of common themes for grouping upper-level electives, along with suggestions for related allied field courses for students completing the BS degree. Other track themes and combinations of existing tracks are acceptable with approval of your faculty advisor. No more than one 100-level course may be used as part of your track.

BCS course descriptions can be found on the BCS course page, non-BCS courses can be found on the CDCS site.




Computation and Artificial Intelligence Track

The track in computation and artificial intelligence focuses on the design of computer simulations that mimic how people create and manipulate mental and neural representations. A variety of topics can be explored within the context of this track, including the use of mental and neural representations for the purposes of sensory perception, motor action, linguistic communication, and reasoning and decision making. This track is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in cognitive science, computational neuroscience, or artificial intelligence.

BCS Electives

BCS 229: Computer Models of Human Perception and Cognition
BCS 232: Artificial Intelligence
BCS 233: Statistical Speech and Language Processing
BCS 235: Natural Language Processing
BCS 236: Machine Vision
BCS 247: Topics in Computational Neuroscience

Recommended Allied Field Electives

CSC 172: Science of Data Structures
CSC 212: Human Computer Interaction
CSC 244: Logical Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
CSC 246: Machine Learning
MTH 150: Discrete Mathematics
MTH 162: Calculus IIA
MTH 164: Multidimensional Calculus
MTH 165: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations
MTH 201: Introduction to Probability
LIN 260: Syntactic Theory
LIN 261: Phrase Structure Grammars
LIN 265: Formal Semantics
STT 203: Introduction to Mathematical Statistics

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Language and Psycholinguistics Track

The track in language and psycholinguistics focuses on how people produce and understand spoken and signed languages, and how children learn language. A variety of topics can be explored within the context of this track, including:

  • Perception and production of speech
  • Development of language in children
  • Natural language processing
  • Formal structure of language and computer models of language

This track is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in cognitive science, psycholinguistics, linguistics and computational linguistics, or in more applied fields such as speech sciences and communication disorders.

BCS Electives

BCS 172: Development of Mind and Brain
BCS 221: Auditory Perception
BCS 233: Statistical Speech and Language Processing
BCS 235: Natural Language Processing
BCS 259: Language Development
BCS 261: Language Use and Understanding
BCS 264: Signed Language Structure
BCS 265: Language and the Brain

Recommended Allied Field Electives

LIN 210: Introduction to Language Sound Systems
LIN 220: Introduction to Grammatical Systems
LIN 226: Morphology
LIN 227: Topics in Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 250: Data Science for Linguistics
LIN 265: Formal Semantics
LIN 266: Pragmatics
CSC 172: Science of Data Structures
CSC 242: Artificial Intelligence
PHL 110: Intro to Logic
PHL 244: Philosophy of Mind
PHL 247: Philosophy of Language

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Music Cognition Track

The track in music cognition focuses on the scientific study of musical perception, experience, and behavior. A variety of topics can be explored within the context of this track, including:

  • Auditory perception
  • Music-language connections
  • Computational modeling of music
  • Music theory

To support these topics of interest, allied field electives typically are chosen from music theory, computer science, linguistics, and philosophy. This track is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing advanced graduate study in music cognition or other fields of music research.

BCS Electives

BCS 260: Music and the Mind (required for this track)
BCS 221: Auditory Perception (required for this track)
BCS 259: Language Development
BCS 261: Language Use and Understanding
BCS 265: Language and the Brain

Recommended Allied Field Electives

MUR 111: Theory I
MUR 112: Theory II
MUR 211: Theory III
MUR 212: Theory IV
TH 212: Acoustics
CSC 263: Computational Models of Music
AME 191: Art and Tech of Recording
AME 192: Listening and Audio Production
LIN 210: Introduction to Language Sound Systems
LIN 220: Introduction to Grammatical Systems
LIN 226: Morphology
PHL 244: Philosophy of Mind
PHL 247: Philosophy of Language

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Neurobiology and Neuropsychology Track

The track in neurobiology and neuropsychology focuses on the biology of the nervous system with special emphasis on biological mechanisms of cognitive behavior. A variety of topics can be explored within the context of this track, including the:

  • Physiological foundations of sensory perception and motor behavior
  • Relationships between brain dysfunction and cognitive/behavioral deficits
  • Cellular and molecular processes that influence the development of brain and behavior

This track is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in neuroscience, neuropsychology, or medicine.

BCS Electives 

BCS 185: Social Cognition
BCS 240: Basic Neurobiology
BCS 242: Neuropsychology
BCS 243: Neurochemical Foundations of Behavior
BCS 244: Neuroethology
BCS 245: Sensory and Motor Neuroscience
BCS 246: Biology of Mental Disorders
BCS 248: Neuroeconomics
BCS 249: Developmental Neurobiology

Recommended Allied Field Electives

BIO 111: Principles of Biology II
BIO 198: Principles of Genetics
BIO 204: Mammalian Physiology
BIO 217: Mammalian Anatomy
BIO 222: Biology of Aging
BIO 226: Developmental Biology
BIO 250: Biochemistry
CHM 131: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices I
CHM 132: Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices II
CHM 203: Organic Chemistry I
CHM 204: Organic Chemistry II
PHL 312: Neuroethics
BME 101: Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
BME 201: Fundamentals of Biomechanics
BME 260: Quantitative Physiology

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Perception and Action Track

The track in perception and action focuses on sensory systems and how humans and animals use sensory information to perceive the world and guide actions. Topics that can be studied in this track include:

  • How our eyes, ears and other sensory organs work
  • How the brain interprets information from the senses for perception and action
  • How to construct artificial sensory and robotic systems

This track is suited for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in cognitive science, neuroscience or artificial intelligence, or more applied degrees in fields such as physical therapy, optometry, or audiology.

BCS Electives

BCS 221: Auditory Perception
BCS 223: Vision and the Eye
BCS 227: Theory of Perception
BCS 229: Computer Models of Human Perception and Cognition
BCS 236: Machine Vision
BCS 245: Sensory and Motor Neuroscience
BCS 248: Neuroeconomics

Recommended Allied Field Electives

MTH 162: Calculus IIA
MTH 164: Multidimensional Calculus
MTH 165: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations
MTH 201: Introduction to Probability
BIO 204: Mammalian Physiology
BIO 217: Mammalian Anatomy
CSC 172: Science of Data Structures
CSC 242: Artificial Intelligence
OPT 101: Introduction to Optics
OPT 241: Geometrical Optics
OPT 261: Interference and Diffraction
PHY 121: Mechanics
PHY 122: Electricity and Magnetism
PHY 123: Waves and Modern Physics
BME 230: BME Signals, Systems, and Imaging
AME 191: Art and Tech of Recording
AME 192: Listening and Audio Production

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