Cognitive Science Major

George Fox cognitive science majors study at one of the top Christian colleges in the Pacific Northwest.

A number of academic disciplines take an interest in understanding the mind. Cognitive science takes into account these varying interests and refers to a multi-disciplinary study of the mind. The cognitive science major is designed to expose students to those disciplines that help us understand and explain the brain and how the mind works.

The interdisciplinary major, taught through our psychology department, offers the flexibility to explore the aspect of the mind that most interests you (e.g., psychological, physiological, philosophical, computational). Take courses in neuroscience, the history and systems of psychology, and artificial intelligence. We also offer classes that equip you for research such as computer science, research methods and statistical procedures.

Students can explore the cognitive science major in one of three concentrations ...

General Concentration

The general concentration requires students to take courses in a number of disciplines associated with cognitive science. Therefore, students pursuing the general concentration will take courses in psychology, biology, mathematics, computer science, philosophy and anthropology. After completing this concentration, students will have a broad understanding of how different perspectives can enhance our understanding of the human mind.

Neuroscience Concentration

Neuroscience is a growing field focusing on understanding and resolving health problems that affect millions of people. Professionals in neuroscience often interact with physicians, pharmaceutical executives, and health department officials as they attempt to understand and treat neurological conditions.

The neuroscience concentration of the cognitive science major prepares students for this career path. Courses within this concentration are primarily within psychology and biology. Students who complete this concentration will have an excellent understanding of the physiology of the central nervous system, the anatomical structures of the brain, and their corresponding cognitive functions.

Human and Artificial Intelligence Concentration

Attempting to understand the mind raises additional questions about how we solve problems, make decisions, and explain what we know about cognitive processes in a precise manner. The human and artificial intelligence concentration of the cognitive science major examines how cognitive processing can be studied, explained, and simulated using computer science. Courses within this concentration are primarily within psychology and computer science. Students completing this concentration will know how to translate our understanding of the mind into computer applications.

Employment Opportunities

The federal government, colleges and universities, and corporations are the three largest employers of students with cognitive science degrees. Graduates may pursue careers in a wide variety of areas, including …

  • Medical and clinical research
  • Medical writing
  • Biostatistics
  • Medical education
  • Memory and learning functioning
  • Human-computer interaction.

Additional career options include clinical neuropsychology, health and rehabilitation psychology, experimental psychology, neurobiology, psychopharmacology, speech pathology and audiology, physical therapy, nursing, computer animation, and database management. Recent George Fox graduates have earned advanced degrees in medicine, audiology, nutrition and law.


Request more information about the cognitive science major at George Fox University or schedule a visit to begin your education at Oregon's Christian university, ranked as one of the top Christian colleges in the nation by Forbes.

Jobs, Internships and Graduate School

Cognitive Science majors at George Fox study at a top Christian college.

The cognitive science major is perfect preparation for students who plan to go on to graduate programs in cognitive science, neuroscience, educational technology, artificial intelligence, instructional psychology, cognitive psychology, philosophy or cognitive anthropology. Typical employment for recent graduates might be in a technology-related position demanding excellent technical, writing and speaking skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical scientists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, depending on the area of focus.

  • Global Manager – Human Resources Investigations, Veritas Technology
  • Client Tech Analyst, CDK Global
  • Director of Training and Education, GPT Dental
  • Senior Human Resource Analyst, State of Oregon
  • Audiologist, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Bilingual Client Technical Analyst, ADP
  • Pacific University (Audiology)
  • Colorado State University (Nutrition)
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Medicine)
  • University of Washington, Summer Research Program (Genetics)
  • University of Oregon, Summer Research Program (Genetics)
  • Florida Institute of Technology, AMALTHEA REU (Language Processing)
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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

An introduction to the scientific study of human behavior. Major topics include the biological bases of behavior, sensation, perception, thinking, learning, memory, development, emotion, motivation, personality, social interaction, and abnormal behavior. Prerequisite to most other psychology courses.
Applied statistics for the social and behavioral sciences. Emphasis is placed on statistical logic and decision making. Prerequisite: high school algebra or equivalent.
This course provides an overview of the neuropsychological, neuroanatomical, and biochemical basis for mental functions including motor control, object recognition, spatial reasoning, attention, language, memory, and emotion. Methods of neuropsychological research are explored. Recommended: PSYC 220 Biological Psychology.
Traditional areas of study in cognitive psychology will be discussed. These areas include perception, attention, memory, reasoning, problem solving, and language. Traditional views as well as current trends will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
An introduction to methods of psychological research. Explores essential topics for experimental research including research design, reliability, validity, and research ethics. Students also learn how to critically assess research literature, assimilate information from a variety of sources, and interpret data. In addition, students learn how to prepare manuscripts in APA format and to prepare professional research presentations. Prerequisites: PSYC 150 General Psychology and PSYC 240 Statistical Procedures.
Students will explore research design, analyses, and computer applications in the areas of cognition, learning, sensation and perception, and development using a variety of hands-on methods. Prerequisites: PSYC 240 Statistical Procedures and PSYC 391 Research Methods.
This is a capstone course for the major focusing on the integration of Christianity and psychology and the application of psychological principles and findings in every day settings. Required for all psychology majors. Additional course fee required. Prerequisite: senior status.

Concentrations (25-31 hours) - choose one

Choose two of the following:

Students must complete one of the following biology series, either BIOL 211/212 or BIOL 221/222.
An introduction to life science for those majoring in biology and bioscience-related fields. Topics include cellular biology, genetics, systematics, development, ecology, and anatomy and physiology of plants and animals. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
An introduction to life science for those majoring in biology and bioscience-related fields. Topics include cellular biology, genetics, systematics, development, ecology, and anatomy and physiology of plants and animals. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
Structure and function of the human body. Fall semester topics include basic chemistry, body organization, integument, skeleton, muscles, and the nervous system, including special senses. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
Structure and function of the human body. Spring semester topics include cardiovascular, reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, urinary, and digestive systems. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, or permission from instructor. Additional course fee is required.

Complete the following:

An introductory course that provides a basic understanding in the multidisciplinary field of Neuroscience. Major topics covered in this course include neural signaling, neurophysiology, sensation and sensory processing, physical and functional neuroanatomy, movement and its central control, nervous system organization, brain development, complex brain functions and diseases of the nervous system. The course will examine different model organisms that have advanced the field of neuroscience. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
A foundational course for the study of computer science and information systems. The course covers an overview of programming methodology and gives the student an ability to write computer programs using standard style and structure. Programming projects are completed in one or more high-level languages. Prerequisite: high school algebra or equivalent. Additional course fee required.
A foundational course for the study of computer science and information systems. The course covers an overview of programming methodology and gives the student an ability to write computer programs using standard style and structure. Programming projects are completed in one or more high-level languages. Prerequisite: CSIS 201 Introduction to Computer Science I or ENGR 152 Engineering Principles II. Additional course fee required.
This course is designed to introduce students to what it means to think and live philosophically. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different topic through which to explore how philosophy be a tool for interpreting, understanding and interacting with the world. Not only that, we will also examine how philosophy can shape the way in which we live out our lives. Each course includes some reading of Plato and at least one other major philosophy in the tradition. Examples of different variations of this course include: "God, Freedom and Evil", "Simplicity", "Socrates and Plato", "Land and Humans", and "Virtue and Faith".
What kinds of things exist? How do we know they do, if we do? The subject of this course will vary term to term, but can include freewill, theory of knowledge, skepticism, the nature of existence, human nature, the nature of God, personal identity, realism and antirealism, the nature of science and others. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

Choose one of the following:

The class is a study of limits limits of functions, applications of derivatives, and an introduction to integration. Prerequisite: MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics or equivalent.
An introduction to discrete mathematics. Topics covered include sets, functions, math induction, combinatorics, recurrence, graph theory, trees, and networks.

Choose one of the following:

Some of these courses have additional prerequisite courses not included in the major.
A study of the nature of verbal symbols as they function in communication. The course will include phonetic transcription, semantics, modern grammatical theories, history of the English language, and modern English dialects.
This course introduces the student to the basic concepts and techniques of artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, problem solving, and AI search techniques. AI solutions will be developed in an appropriate AI language. Additional course fee required. Prerequisite: CSIS 310 Data Structures and File Processing.
This course is intended to facilitate a smooth transition from lower-level, computation-oriented math courses to upper-level, more theoretical courses. Topics include symbolic logic, methods of proof, and set theory. Prerequisite: MATH 201 Calculus I.
Logic involves a study of Aristotelian forms of deductive reasoning, including the syllogism, inductive reasoning, fallacies, and some aspect of symbolic logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables. Its goal is to facilitate sound thinking that is both creative and critical.
study of physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral development from the prenatal period through late childhood. (Identical to FCSC 311.) Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
A survey of learning theories and the basic research questions being asked in this important field. Special emphasis will be placed on translating experimental theory into practical methods. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
Using psychophysical techniques, students will study sensory systems, including vision, audition, olfaction, taste, touch, and kinesthesis. Classic and current theories of perception and sensation will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
A comparative study of world societies and their ways of life.

Complete the following:

A foundational course for the study of computer science and information systems. The course covers an overview of programming methodology and gives the student an ability to write computer programs using standard style and structure. Programming projects are completed in one or more high-level languages. Prerequisite: high school algebra or equivalent. Additional course fee required.
A foundational course for the study of computer science and information systems. The course covers an overview of programming methodology and gives the student an ability to write computer programs using standard style and structure. Programming projects are completed in one or more high-level languages. Prerequisite: CSIS 201 Introduction to Computer Science I or ENGR 152 Engineering Principles II. Additional course fee required.
An introduction to the concepts of information organization, methods of representing information both internally and externally. The course begins with basic structures (stacks, queues, linked lists, and trees) and moves through more complex data structures into the processing of files (sequential, relative, indexed sequential, and others). Programming projects are completed in one or more high-level languages. Additional course fee required. Prerequisites: CSIS 201 Introduction to Computer Science I and CSIS 202 Introduction to Computer Science II.
This course introduces the student to the basic concepts and techniques of artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, problem solving, and AI search techniques. AI solutions will be developed in an appropriate AI language. Additional course fee required. Prerequisite: CSIS 310 Data Structures and File Processing.
The class is a study of limits limits of functions, applications of derivatives, and an introduction to integration. Prerequisite: MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics or equivalent.
An introduction to discrete mathematics. Topics covered include sets, functions, math induction, combinatorics, recurrence, graph theory, trees, and networks.

Choose two of the following:

Structure and function of the human body. Fall semester topics include basic chemistry, body organization, integument, skeleton, muscles, and the nervous system, including special senses. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
An introductory course that provides a basic understanding in the multidisciplinary field of Neuroscience. Major topics covered in this course include neural signaling, neurophysiology, sensation and sensory processing, physical and functional neuroanatomy, movement and its central control, nervous system organization, brain development, complex brain functions and diseases of the nervous system. The course will examine different model organisms that have advanced the field of neuroscience. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
Course is an introduction to the principles and methods with which one builds effective interfaces for users. A basic precept of HCI is that users should be able to focus on solving problems, rather than dealing with the intricacies of complex software. Interfaces must be accessible, meaningful, visually consistent, comprehensive, accurate, and oriented around the tasks that users tend to perform. The course will provide a balance of practical and theoretical knowledge, giving students experience ordinarily not provided by other courses in computer science. Students will also participate in group-projects to design, implement, and evaluate user interfaces. Additional course fee required. Prerequisite: CSIS 201 Intro to Computer Science I.
study of physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral development from the prenatal period through late childhood. (Identical to FCSC 311.) Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
Students will develop skills in understanding and critically evaluating educational and psychological tests (measures of ability, achievement, personality, and vocational interest). Also, modern principles of "psychometrics" - data-based analysis of test items, scores, and interpretations - will be emphasized, particularly the reliability and validity of items and scales. Students will have hands-on experience with various tests and will computer-analyze sample data from test development projects. Prerequisites: PSYC 150 General Psychology and PSYC 240 Statistical Procedures. Recommended: PSYC 391 Research Methods
Using psychophysical techniques, students will study sensory systems, including vision, audition, olfaction, taste, touch, and kinesthesis. Classic and current theories of perception and sensation will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.

Choose two of the following:

Students must complete one of the following biology series, either BIOL 211/212 or BIOL 221/222.
An introduction to life science for those majoring in biology and bioscience-related fields. Topics include cellular biology, genetics, systematics, development, ecology, and anatomy and physiology of plants and animals. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
An introduction to life science for those majoring in biology and bioscience-related fields. Topics include cellular biology, genetics, systematics, development, ecology, and anatomy and physiology of plants and animals. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
Structure and function of the human body. Fall semester topics include basic chemistry, body organization, integument, skeleton, muscles, and the nervous system, including special senses. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required.
Structure and function of the human body. Spring semester topics include cardiovascular, reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, urinary, and digestive systems. The course is designed for nonscience majors. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 221 Human Anatomy and Physiology I, or permission from instructor. Additional course fee is required.

Complete the following:

An introductory course that provides a basic understanding in the multidisciplinary field of Neuroscience. Major topics covered in this course include neural signaling, neurophysiology, sensation and sensory processing, physical and functional neuroanatomy, movement and its central control, nervous system organization, brain development, complex brain functions and diseases of the nervous system. The course will examine different model organisms that have advanced the field of neuroscience. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
This course covers fundamental chemical principles, reactions, and mode theories. Special emphasis is given to the role of chemistry in everyday life. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: A math SAT score of at least 500 (test taken prior to March 2016) or a math SAT score of at least 530 (test taken March 2016 or later), or successful completion of MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics (or equivalent).
This course covers fundamental chemical principles, reactions, and mode theories. Special emphasis is given to the role of chemistry in everyday life. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: CHEM 211 General Chemistry I.

Choose two of the following:

Some of these courses have additional prerequisite courses not included in the major.
Investigation of physiological principles in animals, with 4 hours. A majors-level course is intended to meet the physiology requirement of graduate/professional programs in health-care fields. Investigation of physiological principles in humans/mammals, with emphasis on mechanisms of integration and homeostasis at cellular, organ, and system levels. Topics include muscular, neural, vascular, excretory, and endocrine interactions. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II.
This course includes the study of cell physiology, energetics, neurobiology, muscle biology, and cell signaling. Other topics that will be discussed are cancer and immunology at the cellular level. Laboratory will focus on current cell culturing and analysis techniques. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I and BIOL 212 General Biology II or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II, and CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I. Recommended: CHEM 341 Biochemistry I.
A majors-level course intended to meet the anatomy requirement of graduate/professional programs in health-care fields. A course presenting a systemic approach to the study of the human body. Lecture presentations begin with an introduction of anatomical terminology, tissue classification, and developmental origins to systems. Body structure will be studied by organ systems and will include histology. Laboratory work will follow a regional gross anatomy of the human body through cadaver dissection, human skeletal collections and preserved specimens. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: BIOL 211 General Biology I, BIOL 212 General Biology II and BIOL 333 Advanced Physiology; or BIOL 221 Human Anatomy & Physiology I, BIOL 222 Human Anatomy & Physiology II and BIOL 333 Advanced Physiology, or instructor's permission.
A systematic and theoretical study of the biochemical activities of living cells. Topics to be covered will include: the structure, properties, and molecular interactions of biomolecules, metabolic pathways, bioenergetics, and metabolism of biomolecules, and RNA, DNA, and protein synthesis. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II.
study of physical, intellectual, personality, social, and moral development from the prenatal period through late childhood. (Identical to FCSC 311.) Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
A survey of learning theories and the basic research questions being asked in this important field. Special emphasis will be placed on translating experimental theory into practical methods. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.
Using psychophysical techniques, students will study sensory systems, including vision, audition, olfaction, taste, touch, and kinesthesis. Classic and current theories of perception and sensation will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 General Psychology.

Student Experiences

Jennifer Salame

"The cognitive science program gave me a well-balanced education in the biological and psychological elements of the human mind. I am grateful for my undergraduate education because it provided me with a diverse foundation to understand a variety of elements pertinent to the human experience. This breadth of knowledge has allowed me to pursue my present endeavor, the study of medicine, with great confidence."

- Jennifer Salame

Benjamin Gowan

“The cognitive science program at George Fox is a remarkable interdisciplinary science experience. Computer science, biology and communications (with options to include yet other areas of interest) are tied together cohesively with a core of cognitive psychology courses. I was prepared at graduation to go directly into a role as a marketing research analyst, performing statistical analyses of branding perceptions and awareness in survey and focus groups studies.”

- Benjamin Gowan

Tina Amela

“My cognitive science degree has provided me the tools to evaluate human behavior from multiple angles and perspectives. This has proven to be an invaluable skill in the marketplace. In business it allows me to assess executives/business leaders to determine the best ways to present data and recommendations to gain agreement and compliance quickly. As an investigator, I have relied on my cognitive science background to evaluate human behavior during investigative interviews.”

- Tina Amela

Points of Distinction

  • George Fox is one of the few universities in the Northwest with a cognitive science program, as well as one of a small number of Christian universities in the country to offer this program.
  • Students develop a variety of research and technical skills that are valued by graduate schools and employers.
  • Students engage in learning about the brain and how it works from a biblical worldview.
  • Students enhance their critical thinking skills by exploring how multiple disciplines address a single issue.

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you'll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country.