MBB - Cognitive Science

The Cognitive Science track in Psychology is one of the options available in the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, which was formed to create an "interdisciplinary community of investigators whose research aims to elucidate the structure, function, evolution, development, and pathology of the nervous system in relation to human behavior and mental life." In psychology, this could take many forms, including studying the development of language in infants, the way in which our neurons process information and how this may be modeled by computer systems, or how we come to be aware of what we know. MBB is an honors-eligible only track, and requires an application for admission, a 3.5 College GPA at time of application, and a senior honors thesis.

This track allows students to combine coursework in psychology with a few common courses in the MBB curriculum that focus on neuroscience and behavior (MCB 80, an MBB seminar) and MBB symposiums and programs that bring together students from the various concentrations that participate in MBB. In many cases, students also take full advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of MBB to combine their psychology and MBB coursework with coursework in a related MBB area, such as computer science, linguistics, philosophy, or history and science. This track differs from the Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology track (formerly Social and Cognitive Neuroscience) in the Life Sciences in that it counts a smaller total number of biology-related courses toward concentration requirements, but allows a broader range of related coursework to be integrated and count toward requirements. In short, it is less strictly a neuroscience track and is more interdisciplinary beyond the life sciences.

Course Sequence Recommendations
For Students Considering the Cognitive Science MBB Track

Complete requirements can be found in the requirements chart. Below is a chart of recommended courses for the first two years. Students should consult with a Pre-Concentration Adviser or a Concentration Adviser for more guidance beyond the second year or for more detailed advising.

Students who are strongly considering this track should plan on enrolling in the following during their first two years

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

Science of Living Systems 20
( see requirements chart for more details)

Psychology 971 (fall or spring)


Basic Methods (fall or spring)
-choose from Stat 101 or Psy 1900-

At least one of the following Foundational Courses during first two years:
PSY 14, Psy 15, Psy 16, Psy 18, or MCB 80/MCB 81


  • Ideally, freshmen will take the Introductory Course by the end of their freshman year, and should complete at least one Foundational Course no later than the end of the sophomore year. MCB 80 (or MCB 81) and one other Foundational Course are required courses. Students may choose from the following Foundational Courses: Psy 14, Cognitive Neuroscience; Psy 15, Social Psychology; Psy 16, Developmental Psychology (or SLS 15 if taken previously); or Psy 18, Abnormal Psychology.
  • In the third or fourth semester, students ordinarily enroll in Psy 971: Contemporary Issues in Psychology (Sophomore Tutorial) and the required Basic Methods course (either Psy 1900: Intro to Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences or Stat 101: Intro to Quantitative Methods).
  • As part of the Research Methods requirement (Psy 1901 and a lab course), students must take a lab course. Students are encouraged to get involved in research as early as possible, and may want to complete the lab course component of the Research Methods requirement before the end of their sophomore year.
  • In addition to completing the course requirements for the Cognitive Science Track in psychology, students also complete MBB program-wide requirements, including participating in a non-credit junior symposium and a non-credit senior research workshop (see MBB Certificate website for details).
MBB Track Application39 KB