What is Honors in the Major?

The honors program allows highly motivated undergraduate cognitive science majors to receive additional mentoring, professional development, and research supervision. To graduate with honors in the major, students must have a 3.5 major GPA at the time of graduation, and have completed either COGS 308 (Advanced Research Workshop I, usually offered in the fall) OR COGS 309 (Advanced Research Workshop II, usually offered in the spring) with a final grade of A. In both courses, students will develop a research topic (theoretical or empirical), and work on it with the input of other workshop members to produce final papers. Only 5-8 undergraduate students are permitted to enroll in these courses each semester. To register for the course, use SIS to request permission (COGS 308 and 309 are enrollment via instructor permission only).


1. Will honors show up on my diploma? No. Departmental honors appear in the graduation program and on your transcript. Only Latin honors (cum laude, etc.) appear on the diploma.

2. How is the honors program different from a capstone? The capstone is a SAGES requirement that all undergraduates must fulfill in order to graduate. COGS majors can do a capstone in any department. 308/309 does NOT replace the capstone–honors students must take 308 or 309 and complete a capstone in some department. The work students do for 308/309 must be new work, but students can work on a topic related to their capstone work. For example, a student might write a theoretical paper summarizing an area of research and proposing an empirical study to fulfill the requirements of 308/309, then carry out that study for her capstone research.

3. Can I do the honors program and the capstone at the same time? Yes. Students who are doing the two in the same semester can work with the 308/309 instructor and their capstone supervisor to figure out how to best use the student’s time. You can work on related or entirely different topics for the two requirements.

4. What happens if I’ve taken COGS 308 or 309 and earned an A, but don’t have a 3.5 GPA when I graduate? You will not be awarded honors in the major.

5. Do COGS 308 or 309 fulfill any requirements? These courses count as general COGS electives or general social science electives.

6. Can I take COGS 308 or 309 if I don’t want to be in the honors program? Yes. You will receive honors if you meet the requirements, so if there’s some reason (excessive modesty?) you don’t want that notation, let the instructor know.

7. Can I take both COGS 308 and 309? Yes.

8. When should I take COGS 308 or 309? The optimal time is junior or senior year, after you have acquired a solid background in cognitive science. We also strongly encourage students to take 308 or 309 before the capstone, so that the course can be used to produce a higher quality capstone. However, there are no prerequisites for 308 or 309, which means that you can take the course at any time.