Applying to Cognitive Systems

Click here for more information about how to apply to COGS. (Thank you for your interest!)

It depends on the GPA of everyone who applies (the GPA of the student who gets the last seat is the minimum GPA). This fluctuates, and meeting past minimums does not guarantee admission. This blog post by the Faculty of Science addresses the GPA question and although they are talking about the Second-Year Application for Science students, COGS B.A. admissions and internal transfer admissions echo their sentiment.

Click here for more information about the skills COGS equips you with and examples of what COGS alumni are pursuing.

Have a look at the degree requirements page and find your stream, as program (and faculty) requirements are different for each stream.

Cognitive Systems courses are listed here. There are currently 5 COGS courses - COGS 200, COGS 300, COGS 303, COGS 401 and COGS 402 (COGS 402 is a project that requires preparation before the start of the term. If you would like to know more about how to prepare, go on and read the COGS 402-related Q&A's below.)


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 (and this could delay your graduation).

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 and/or Science Advising to review the potential course overlap between the specializations.

The COGS program does not offer minor specializations.

Courses and waiting lists

Q1: Is the course/section full?

  • Yes: The section is at full capacity. Please register for the waiting list (if there is one). You will be moved in as seats open up. There can be a lot of movement in the first two weeks of the term - you can add/drop courses without a "W" standing before the add/drop deadline. Other tactics are listed here.
  • No: Proceed to question 2.
  • It says "blocked": Proceed to question 3.

Q2: Do you meet the prerequisites / co-requisites?

  • Yes: Please let the Program Coordinator know so that your student record can be looked at. You may be referred to better sources once the issue has been identified or narrowed down.
  • No: Please contact your COGS course instructor to obtain permission to take the course. (The instructor could say no.)

Q3: Did you register for the waiting list already?

  • Yes: If you are on the waiting list and you see that a section is "blocked" that means the section did reach full capacity at one point. Students on the waiting list will be moved into the course section one by one as seats become available, but there can be a time lag between when a student drops a course and when a student on the waiting list is moved into the section (and this is when you will see a section that is "blocked" but have seats available). Thank you for your patience.

Unfortunately, it is not under the COGS Program’s purview to change a student’s registration status after the add/drop deadline.

There is no system of switching course (and lab) sections. If you plan to drop a section with the intent of switching sections, please refer to the Q&A below.

If you drop a course after it is blocked, you will risk losing your seat. If there are many students on the waiting list for that section, the probability of losing your seat is high. Students on the waiting list will be moved into the course section as seats open up. There is no guarantee to get back into the course.

Unfortunately, this is not in the COGS Program's jurisdiction. Please contact the course instructor (and definitely get on the waiting list if there is one). Note: Computer science has information available regarding waiting list management.

There is no answer to this, as there are simply too many variables to accurately predict the odds. It depends on the course, how much demand there is, and how many students drop the course once the term starts.

This is one of the reasons why students are encouraged to have back-up work lists.

  • If x = a COGS course, we may have the answer although it is not 100% guaranteed until the schedule is released (typically in mid-April).
  • If x = a non-COGS course, the COGS Program is not the right place to reach out to. The respective department may have the answer, although (again) it is not guaranteed until the schedule is released.

COGS 402

  1. Start by introspection. What areas of research interest you? Do you have someone in mind who you'd love to work with?
  2. To find inspiration, see what Computer Science, Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology are up to. Note that your COGS 402 does not necessarily need to be in your stream. For example, a student in the computational intelligence and design stream could do a COGS 402 project at a psychology lab. A student in the language stream could do a COGS 402 project under a supervisor in philosophy. There may also be labs or other research environments in Applied Science, Music, Visual Arts, Public Health, Medicine, Kinesiology, etc. that you could do a COGS-related 402 project in.
  3. Reach out! Send an email (remember to do some research beforehand - what project(s) would you be interested in working on and why?) and/or say hello in person. In case the lab or supervisor is not familiar with what a COGS 402 is, have the information handy (it can be found here).
  • For some labs, there may be an "onboarding period" (a time period when you get trained up on how to run studies) before you become eligible to do a COGS 402 project. This onboarding period varies across labs (some labs may have no onboarding period), but it could take 1 full term. This is one of the reasons why students are encouraged to start looking for a project supervisor well in advance.
  • Not sure if a project is suitable for COGS 402? Do not hesitate to contact your COGS 402 instructor.
  • Interested in doing a COGS 402 project with labs outside of UBC or with industry? It is possible, but it can be trickier to arrange. When in doubt, contact your COGS 402 instructor.
  • Things to consider when scoping a COGS 402 project:
    • Is the project feasible in 3 months?
    • Are there any potential roadblocks that can kill your project? How can you minimize that risk?
    • The final deliverable is a write-up. Think of what your final deliverable will look like. If you have no idea what that would look like, you might suffer at the end of the term.
    • You need to be the one who comes up with a research question, think of ways to answer that question, and to try it out. In other words, you need to be a cognitive agent throughout the project.
  • For more information on how to prepare for your COGS 402 project, it is recommended to attend "Gearing Up for 402" hosted by the Cognitive Systems Society (CSS). Students who have completed their 402 projects will be there to offer insight.

It is never too early to start planning for your COGS 402 project.

For example, if you plan to do your COGS 402 at term 2 of your 4th year at UBC:

  • In your 1st/2nd years, start paying attention to the research topics that excite you. What area would you like to contribute to?
  • In your 3rd year, start looking into which labs or research groups you might want to join, and who you might wish to have as your supervisor. Keep paying attention to your own research interests too, in case they change (you may get inspired to do something at a recent guest lecture for instance). It is not too early to start reaching out to places you're interested in and start volunteering at a lab or other research environment. Attend "Gearing Up for 402" hosted by the Cognitive Systems Society (CSS).
  • When you reach 4th year, start generating research question candidates for your COGS 402 project. If you take COGS 401 in term 1, you may find additional inspiration there.

  • Signed research collaboration agreement: submit online (log in with your CWL credentials) or to cogs.advising {at} ubc.ca by 5:00pm on Friday of when the beginning-of-term presentations occur
  • Final write-up: send or hand in to your COGS402 instructor directly by 5:00pm on Friday of the week AFTER final presentations (presentations take place during the last week of classes, not exams)
  • Research supervisor's evaluation: the supervisor sends to the COGS402 instructor directly

Academic advising

What is it that I can help you with? Visit the Advising page to ensure that your question can be answered.

Your degree requirements are bound to the year that you have declared your major, not the current year (it will be the requirements that show up in your degree navigator by default that your Faculty will do graduation checks on). The new curriculum is for new students declaring COGS majors this coming year.

The degree navigator version you should be using is the year that you have declared your major, not the current year (it will be the requirements that show up in your degree navigator by default that your Faculty will do graduation checks on). Make sure that your courses are categorized correctly in the degree navigator version that shows up by default.

Thank you for catching this! This happens occasionally in degree navigator, especially if a course is new (e.g. PHIL351 is one of the newer courses). Please send your student number and the course in question to the Program Coordinator so the issue can be examined (and resolved).


All graduating students must apply to graduate via the SSC, regardless of the intent to attend/skip the ceremony. More information is available here.

See information on the upcoming ceremony here. See information on future ceremonies here.

Graduation photos are organized by the Cognitive Systems Society, but photo sessions are booked via the studio (Artona) directly. Photos typically take place in the Spring (February-March). Even if you are graduating in November you might want to get your photos taken early.

Other questions

(It is somewhat of a tradition for COGS spaces to be in hidden locations.) We are based in the Iona Building (6000 Iona Drive)'s basement. The trick is to NOT use the main entrance. Use the Iona Building's "Residence" entrance and take the elevator to level "R" (or the stairs to the right of the elevator with the card reader beside it), and turn right.

  • Become a member of the Cognitive Systems Society (CSS) and attend/volunteer at their events! The CSS hosts various workshops and social events over the course of the year in addition to the annual larger events e.g. Welcome back BBQ, Alumni Night, Robot Party. Learn more about the CSS here.
  • Start volunteering at a research lab in UBC! (This will also prepare you for your COGS 402.)

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a TA and what the responsibilities and expectations are, contact the Program Coordinator. To apply for becoming a COGS TA, go here (log in with your CWL). TA applications open in January and close at the beginning of March.

Tuition for undergraduate students is calculated on a per credit basis. For more information, click here.

Click here to find out more about awards and financial assistance. If you would like to apply for funding from one of the university’s undergraduate research competitions, the appropriate competition will depend on your faculty of study, on whether you are an international or domestic student, and on the area of your project. Information for Arts students can be found here, and information for Science students can be found here, but these sites do not exhaustively list the possible sources of funding.