Degree Planning


Cognitive Systems offers five degrees (or streams) – 3 offered by the Faculty of Arts and 2 offered by the Faculty of Science:

All courses in the COGS streams are largely composed from those in Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology. Regardless of the stream you choose, all students will complete the following core courses to graduate: COGS 200, 300, 303, 401 and 402.

Students are also required to complete Module Courses chosen from courses offered throughout different departments that are directly relevant to Cognitive Systems.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the program, course planning should be well thought out and should begin in first-year (e.g. make sure you take prerequisite courses for the courses you want to take in third and fourth year!). In addition, we strongly advise against students attempting double majors or attempting a minor.

Steps to Help Plan Your COGS Degree

  1. Start by looking at the degree requirements page and take note of what courses are required for your stream. Slot these into your 4-year plan.
  2. Make sure to look at the faculty-wide requirements for Arts or the faculty-wide requirements for Science. Pay specific attention to prerequisites for upper-level courses and have backup plans in place in case i) you cannot schedule the courses you want because they are full or there is a scheduling conflict, or ii) if you apply to COGS but are not admitted into the program. Not following your faculty requirements can result in graduating later than you had originally planned / not getting promoted to your next year (and potentially leaving UBC as a result). Please review the promotion requirements for Arts and Science.
  3. Declaring your Major (Specialization):
    1. Arts majors (Linguistics/Psychology/Philosophy) declare their major by the end of second year. Students interested in the B.A. specializations in COGS should apply through the online application.
    2. Science majors declare their major before starting second year. For students in the B.Sc. Cognition and Brain stream, they should apply through the coordinated admissions process through the Faculty of Science. Students interested in the B.Sc. Computational Intelligence and Design Stream should talk to the advisors in the Computer Science department.
  4. Beware, the COGS program requires specific first- and second-year courses for each stream. Furthermore, most third- and fourth-year courses have first- and second-year prerequisites other than those specified in the COGS curriculum. Choose your electives wisely and be thinking about your long-range course planning from first year.
  5. Use first- and second-year electives to fulfill the lower-level (100 and 200) university requirements; use third- and fourth-year electives to fulfill the upper-level (300 and above) Faculty/Major requirements. Note: for upper-level Science requirements, consult the UBC Academic Calendar for more information on what courses count as upper-level Science courses.
  6. Regarding taking module courses, have backup plans in place in case you cannot schedule the courses you want because they are full or there is a scheduling conflict. (You will run into at least one of each case.)
  7. Bear in mind the credit exclusion list when registering for courses. Courses in the credit exclusion lists are courses in which there are sufficient overlap that credit may be obtained for only one selection. (This does not imply that courses listed together are interchangeable.) Please consult your home Faculty Advising Office if you are unsure whether you should take one course or another in the same list.


Since degrees in Cognitive Systems already have an interdisciplinary character, we strongly discourage students from attempting to take them as part of a double major. Students should also think carefully before attempting to combine a COGS degree with a minor in another discipline, with particular attention to the following consideration:

The attempt to minor creates considerable logistical difficulties, since there are limits on the overlap between courses that can count towards a major and those that count towards a minor. If there is a lot of overlap between the courses in your major/minor (note: this includes all COGS module courses), there is a limit in the number of credits from the overlapping courses that can count for both specializations. This could mean you need to take additional courses.

Students who wish to attempt such a minor should do so only having first discussed with the COGS Advisor the way in which these difficulties will be negotiated in their particular case, and will also need to speak with Arts or Science Advising to review the potential course overlap between the specializations.