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 - 86 of them), 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.

Getting into courses

Q1: Is the course/section full?

  • Yes: The section is at full capacity. Please register for the waitlist (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 waitlist already?

  • Yes: If you are on the waitlist and you see that a section is "blocked" that means the section did reach full capacity. Students on the waitlist 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 waitlist 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, this is not in the COGS Program's purview. Please contact the course instructor (and definitely get on the waiting list if there is one!).

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 in Applied Science that you can 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 or the COGS Program Coordinator.
  • Interested in doing a COGS 402 project with labs outside of UBC or with industry? It is possible, but it is trickier to arrange - proceed with caution. When in doubt, contact your COGS 402 instructor or the COGS Program Coordinator.
  • 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.

Academic advising

Questions regarding the following topics can be dealt with by the COGS Program Coordinator:

If you have a question that the COGS Program Coordinator can answer, please feel free to contact the Program Coordinator. Please include your student number in your email, and ask the question in the body of the email.

For appointment requests:

  1. Please indicate what your question is in order to minimize cases where you go to an appointment only to find out that the question was actually not answerable by the COGS Program (e.g. the question needs to be answered at the Faculty level, not the Program level; the question needs to be answered by Computer Science, not COGS).
  2. If your question is something that can be addressed and resolved via email, no appointment will be scheduled.

Questions regarding the following topics CANNOT be dealt with by the COGS Program Coordinator directly:

  • Hardships/extenuating circumstances → Access & Diversity (Centre for Accessibility) is your best resource, speak to them first!
  • Admission to UBC → Admissions Office
  • Transferring into the COGS B.Sc. Computational Intelligence and Design stream → Computer Science Advising
  • Actually, everything related to the B.Sc. Computational Intelligence and Design stream → Computer Science Advising
  • Faculty requirements (e.g. Language requirements, literature requirements, first-year science credits, 30 upper-level science credits) → Arts Advising or Science Advising
  • Switching faculties
  • Transfer credits (from transferring or exchange) → Transfer/Admissions Office
  • Applying for graduationArts Advising or Science Advising. To calculate faculty requirements in Science, please see the checklists here. Arts students should check Degree Navigator (through the SSC) and/or request a Graduation Checkto ensure their faculty requirements are on track.
  • Credits (other than COGS courses or module courses) not appearing correctly on Degree Navigator → Arts Advisingor Science Advising
  • Course registration blocked (and you actually do not satisfy one or more of the prerequisites) → Speak to the course instructor because the instructor decides whether or not you can join the course.
  • Any course-specific questions (e.g. where to submit labs) → Speak to the course instructor or the TA. They know much, much more!

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.

Other questions

  • 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, contact the Program Coordinator. To apply for becoming a COGS TA, go here (log in with your CWL) TA applications open in mid-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.