The little department that does

by Marta Kutas

9 September 2010

Cognitive Science is a relatively small department chock-full-of internationally renowned researchers and scholars who are here to teach YOU what they know – and that’s a lot!

There are many virtues to being a member of a small department of academics and researchers. To list a few:

There’s a higher probability that you will get to know your professors and that they will get to know you. Talk to them, go to office hours, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

There’s a higher probability that a substantial number of your exams will be not be true/false and/or multiple choice. This may not seem like a good thing, but believe me life in the real world rarely comes with a choice palette including the right answer.

There’s a higher probability that you will be asked to write, write, and write some more, and that you will receive feedback on your writing. There’s no profession in which clarity of expression isn’t a plus if not a necessity.

There’s a higher probability that you will take upper division courses with relatively few students and thus get more individual attention. Moreover, what you learn from these classes is in your – presumably active -- hands.

There’s a higher probability that you will be assigned projects in small-group, collaborative environments. The business world of today is sustained and propelled by groups of collaborative teams (sometimes across the globe).

There’s a higher probability that you can get hands-on involvement in ongoing, state-of-the-art research, and sometimes a business internship.

There’s a higher probability that you will leave knowing more than you now know but also more aware of how much there is not only to know but to find out. As uneasy as you might feel to have the depths of your ignorance available for you to see, it’s even worse to be unaware of all that you don’t know. Come, challenge yourself!

In sum, there’s a higher probability that you will get the kind of education that you need to be a success in whatever career you choose, not to mention a better more effective citizen of the world. As a cognitive science major, you will learn how to think, to problem solve, to observe and infer, to sift wisely through massive amounts of information, to communicate – both written and oral, to collaborate with others as well as to work individually, to understand why people perceive what they do, think what they do, act the way they do, use the world as they do. Whatever direction you may wish to go, as a UCSD student and alum of the cognitive science department, you will have honed these skills essential for making your way through an ever-changing, global world. What you make of it is in your hands, and you definitely shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Read UCSD’s formal evaluation of our undergraduate cognitive science program.