Career Planning

A COGS degree offers you the flexibility to determine your own career paths as you determine your own stream or specialization, module courses and research activities.  The multi-disciplinary approach will give you the ability to work across disciplines and prepare you for entry into many fields of academia and industry.

Your COGS Degree is an experience determined by your own individual motivation and self-initiative! Check out the information at “What Can I Do With My Major?“, on our Get Involved page, and below for just some of your options during your degree and following graduation!

Make sure to also visit the “Centre for Student Involvement & Careers”. They are here to help, and welcome you to their  Centre for career development, student engagement, and leadership development as they are a campus-wide student services department.

Here are some areas of industry currently related to cognitive systems:


If you want to pursue a graduate degree and go the academic route, you’ll have many options available to you with a COGS degree. You have the opportunity in COGS to work with leading researchers and innovators of today, designing the tools of tomorrow.


Cognitive Systems has a wide range of applications in the world of engineering, but is especially applicable to aerospace engineering. An important component of any aerospace system is the control: how systems make decisions, determining best controllers, and designing human-computer interactions.

Artificial Intelligence/Robotics:

To a robot, the world is an unforgiving and confusing place. Programming a robot to deal with the ambiguity and inconsistency of the world is a challenge. Harder still is determining how much information the robot should actually extract from the world – does it need to use a full video camera to “see”, or will sonar suffice?

If you’re interested in designing mathematical algorithms to extract information from the world, this field will interest you. This industry is heavily involved in computational intelligence in classifying data, recognizing file-types, and even computer vision. If you decide to learn more about robotics and artificial intelligence through COGS as UBC, you’ll find many experts already working in this area.

Biotechnology/Medical Technology:

Developments in cognitive systems affect many areas of biotechnology for the medical industry.

For example, surgeons can now access robotic controls that allow them to manipulate surgical devices more accurately and precisely than ever before. The challenge is to help combine tactile feedback systems that stimulate the sense of touch, with computer screens to give visual feedback, and even audio streams to let the surgeon hear what she’s doing.

Scientists in physiology and neuroscience also use brain-imaging techniques to find the regions of the brain that are most active when doing certain tasks. If scientists can understand how the neurons in the brain help keep other neurons in check, they may be able to design smart microchips that could replace dysfunctional neurons and treat ailments like Parkinson’s or seizures.

The domain of prosthetic limbs enjoys the developments of cognitive systems. The research opportunities through the study of cognitive systems are endless.


The multidisciplinary nature of cognitive systems teaches students to connect disparate ideas together to identify practical applications of those ideas. Students thus gain an extremely valuable, transferable skill: problem solving. Depending on your particular topic of interest, students develop the potential to consult on an endless number of avenues for firms, including usability problems with programs, teaching employees, and systems analysis.

Customer/Technical Support:

Problem solving is a key component for working in people care and/or technical support. There are plenty of opportunities to work in IT and/or customer care with a degree in Cognitive Systems.


Organizing, sorting, and retrieving data efficiently and easily is an essential part of any company’s operations. In COGS, solutions to such problems are approached from multiple angles. You will be challenged to find algorithmic solutions for sorting data sets, designing user interfaces, or customizing search processes.

Human-Computer Interaction:

In recent years, people have started using computers in most areas of their lives. The potential for designing and marketing human-computer interfaces are endless as technologies develop and lifestyles adapt to these changing technologies.

Human Factors/Usability Testing:

Closely related to human-computer interaction, understanding the human cognitive system plays an important role in determining usability. Training in cognitive systems prepares you to approach complex human factors in computational design.  This includes consumer perception, control schemes and controlling for intuition.

The employment opportunities are endless…

The advantage of a Cognitive Systems degree is career flexibility. While you will be prepared to work in the specific stream you choose, you will also have exposure to the other disciplines. This makes COGS graduates highly sought by industry and academia.

The most frequent job placements are in the areas of: cognitive engineering (human factors), human-computer interface design, artificial intelligence, neural network applications, software design and development, and Internet startups. There is also a growing demand in neuroscience, biotech, and pharmaceuticals.