Applying to Cognitive Systems

Click here for more information about how to apply to COGS - it depends on what Faculty/Year you are in. Thank you for your interest!

No. The minimum GPA depends on the GPA of everyone who applies (the GPA of the student who gets the 60th 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.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • If you have NO interest in research (or in general, asking why things are the way they are and how things could be / should be), COGS can be an unpleasant experience - especially COGS 402.
  • Some people prefer achieving success by following instructions. Others prefer carving out their own success. People who prefer the latter have a higher likelihood of enjoying COGS (this is not to say either approach is right or wrong).

There is no straightforward answer to this question. For some students, applying for the November 30th deadline makes more sense, and for other students, applying for the May 15th deadline makes more sense. This will depend on when a student satisfies all the admission requirements.

Some students who feel confident that they can get admitted into COGS follow the degree requirements for COGS, and abandon their degree requirements in their current specialization. This is an exercise in risk management, since if the student does not get admitted into COGS, their year promotion could be at risk (i.e. repeating year 2 or year 3). Other students take a hybrid approach where they take courses that overlap between their current specialization and goal specialization so that they are making progress in their degree, regardless of whether it is a COGS degree or not.

If you are unsure, please check with your home Faculty’s Advising Office – especially if you are a transfer student from a different institution (it will depend on how many transfer credits you have).

Yes, students can take CPSC 110 and 121 in year 2 or 3. It is recommended that you take CPSC 110 (or 103 and 107) and 121 as early as possible. It is very strongly recommended that you take at least one CPSC course early on because it will serve as a prerequisite for COGS 300 (the prerequisites are COGS 200 and 3 credits of CPSC). Keep in mind that year 2 course registration takes place after year 1 course registration.

There are 60 seats available across all 3 Arts streams (i.e. not per stream). It is not the case that there are a certain number of seats per stream and if it fills up students need to pick another stream. Your B.A. stream choice does not make a difference in the probability of getting admitted into COGS. Therefore, it is recommended that you submit one application, with your most desired stream (since each stream has unique degree requirements, please review them carefully before making a decision).

Math 12 / Precalc 12 is a prerequisite for CPSC 121, a required course for all COGS streams. The prerequisite cannot be waived by COGS (it is not under the COGS program's jurisdiction).

To apply to / transfer into a B.Sc. COGS stream, you must be in the Faculty of Science first (you need to apply to and get admitted into the Faculty of Science before you can declare a major). It is worth reaching out to Science Advising to see if this is worth your time, effort, and risk.

No. The point of the 3-course-nomination section is to ensure that the applicant knows, through the experience of taking multiple courses in COGS-y areas, what it means to pursue an multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary degree in COGS. This is a separate concept from the GPA calculation.

No, you need to be in the Faculty of Arts or Science first. Please contact Enrolment Services regarding (re-)applying to UBC, into the Faculty of Arts or Science. Please note: the online application for UBC opens in early September and closes January 15th.

Please send an inquiry to the Program Coordinator with the following information: which Faculty you are admitted into (BA or BSc), what major you have declared (if you already have), and what year standing you are admitted to (this should be either 2 or 3). We will take it from there.

No. All applications will be reviewed once the application deadline closes.

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, scroll down 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.

The COGS program does not offer Honours specializations.

Courses and waiting lists

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.

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.

No. More information on Cr/D/F can be found here:

There is one exception - for courses that end in Spring 2020 (amidst the COVID-19 pandemic), we will waive the regulation which says that a course taken on Cr/D/F basis wouldn’t normally be able to satisfy a graduation requirement.

[UPDATE July 14, 2020 re: Deferred Standing for 2019W courses] The Faculty of Arts is offering exceptional grading options for students with 2019W courses deferred to Summer 2020, including accepting the grade (s), withdrawing from the course(s), or requesting Credit/D/Fail (CrDF) standing(s).

This question is interpreted as: "it is time consuming to sift through the long list of courses." Yes, it is time consuming, so here is an alternative way to search for courses using specific criteria which may come in handy immediately or in the future:

  1. Go to the course schedule
  2. On the top menu, click on Search > Courses (note that there's also an "Instructor" search. If you loved taking a course with a particular professor, you can look at all the courses they're teaching.)
  3. You will see some form fields. Some relevant ones are Subject Area (put in the 4-letter course code), Course Number (make use of the wild card search! You can search for 300-level courses by entering 3*), and Status (you can search for courses that have seats available).
  4. Click on the Search for Sections button.

COGS 402

Yes. Students must arrange their research projects BEFORE the start of term. The research collaboration agreement form must be signed by the student and the supervisor and submitted by the end of the week in which the first presentations are given (first presentations typically occur in the second week of classes). It is strongly recommended to look for a supervisor and to scope a COGS 402 project well in advance (a term or two before you plan to do your COGS 402 project).

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) to hear from students who have completed their COGS 402 projects.
  • 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.

  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.
  • Depending on how many research assistants, volunteers and directed studies students a lab already has, a lab can be at capacity and cannot take on additional students. It may be advantageous to pursue multiple threads.
  • 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.

Your supervisor can send the evaluation form 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 1) student number, 2) the course in question, and 3) which version of Degree Navigator you are using (e.g. 2018W) to the Program Coordinator so the issue can be examined (and resolved).

Maybe, depending on how strong your case is. Courses not on the module list may still be granted module credit by-request with permission of the Program Chair (Sending a request does not guarantee approval. Hence it is advised that students not plan their degree around the assumption that module credit will be granted for courses not on the module list). Please send requests for consideration via the Module Credit Request for Consideration form. Please do keep in mind that module courses should be taken from the list published on this website, unless there are clear reasons for making an exception.

    1. Log in with your CWL credentials
    2. Enter all required information
    3. Provide a detailed rationale for the inclusion of said course
    4. Attach the syllabus and reading list of said course

Maybe, but keep in mind that you will not know until much later because there are many layers in the transfer credit evaluation process:

As for whether a course can be approved for module credit specifically, feel free to submit the course via the Module Credit Request for Consideration form. However, chances are you will not get a straightforward answer right away because the course code and year level must be determined by UBC first.

According to Go Global:

"It can take up to 16 weeks for courses to be evaluated by your faculty and department*. Final transcripts from partner institutions are usually available about 2-3 months after the program ends. Check with the partner university to make sure you have completed any exit requirements needed for your transcript to be released without delays. Once your final transcript has been uploaded to your portal account, the transfer credit will be added to your UBC academic record. This may take up to three additional weeks."

*If you request credit for "COGS3RD" for example, there is no guarantee that all COGS3RD requests will be evaluated by the COGS Program - it will depend on the nature of the course you have taken abroad.

In short: proceed with caution.

Learn more about how the transfer credit evaluation works.

Switching into the B.Sc. Computational Intelligence and Design stream of COGS is handled by the Computer Science Department. Please contact the Computer Science Advising Office directly: https://www.cs.ubc.ca/students/undergrad/resources/academic-advising

It is true that the Cognition and Brain stream of COGS is supervised under the Psychology department at UBC. Some COGS alumni have pursued graduate studies in Psychology / Neuroscience after graduating with a B.A./B.Sc. Cognition and Brain degree. However, due to the multidisciplinary nature of the COGS program and how much a COGS degree can be customized, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It is up to the discretion of the program you wish to apply for.

If you 100% know that you are pursuing graduate studies and dislike uncertainty, a Psychology / Psychology honors degree may be more aligned with your interests.


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.

Yes. Cognitive Systems will appear TWICE in the ceremony schedule. One will be under B.A., and the other will be under B.Sc.

The wording is deceptive; although it is a Program Completion Letter, it is issued by your Faculty (not the COGS Program). The process depends on which Faculty you are in.

  • If you are an Arts student, your degree completion letter will be accessible from your SSC once your graduation application has been approved (details here, under the "Access your program completion letter" section).
  • If you are a Science student, there is a form that you can fill out and send to Science Advising. The form is available here.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to the changes in end-of-term grading for 2019 Winter Term 2 (Late Withdrawal / Cr/D/F options available at the end of the term), there can be delays in graduation processing.

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) and the composite deadline is typically at the end of March. Even if you are graduating in November you may wish to get your photos taken early.

Book a session here: https://artona.com/schools/UBC-COGS/programs/graduation

Please reach out to the studio directly if you have questions: https://artona.com/contact

Other questions

COGS is a program (not a department or Faculty).

The four (technically five) streams of the Cognitive Systems program at UBC are offered through four (technically five) departments (Psychology (B.A.) / Behavioural Neuroscience (B.Sc.), Computer Science (B.Sc.), Linguistics (B.A.), and Philosophy (B.A.)) across two Faculties (Arts and Science).

If you are advised to speak to the "Faculty," that typically refers to the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Science's advising office. If you are advised to go to the "Department" offering a course, that could mean the COGS program if the course in question is a COGS course, but for example if the course in question is a PSYC course (e.g. PSYC217), the department would be Psychology. If you are advised to speak to the "Program," that refers to the COGS program.

(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 volunteer at their events! Even better - become an executive member of the CSS! The CSS hosts board game nights, movie nights, study nights, and various workshops over the course of the year in addition to the annual larger events e.g. Welcome-back party, Careers Night, Alumni Night, End-of-year 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.