Ph.D. in
Cognitive Sciences

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  A top 20-ranked program with research strengths in computational and mathematical cognitive modeling, cognitive neuroscience, visual and auditory perception, attention, development, memory, language, and judgment and decision making



Ranked #19 among all public psychology programs in the country (U.S. News & World Report), the UCI graduate program administered by the cognitive sciences department offers students five years of guaranteed funding. Scholars in the department have a proven track record of earning competitive research funding from national agencies - including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health - and from campus-level fellowships.






public university in the U.S.
- U.S. News & World Report


million in external funding
- Academic Year 2016-17


coolest school in ecological sustainability
- Sierra Club Magazine


best psychology program in the U.S.
- U.S. News & World Report



  • Apple
  • Army Research Labs
  • Blizzard Entertainment
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Google
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Mind Research Network
  • Navy Research Labs
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Zurich
  • Yale University


  • Computational and mathematical cognitive modeling
  • Cognitive neuroscience (a concentration is offered in this topic)
  • Visual and auditory perception
  • Attention and representation
  • Learning and development
  • Memory and language
  • Judgment and decision making


hands working with memory variations
  Graduate student Karen Arcos studies working memory variations in visually impaired and sighted individuals [Read Story]


In 2016-17, UCI cognitive scientists brought in $2.7 million in external grant funding.

Faculty in the department publish regularly in the field’s top academic journals, and graduate students have incredible opportunities to publish alongside them.


The cognitive sciences department at UCI uses a combination of innovative approaches with modern tools to study fundamental human abilities including attention, memory, language, decision making, and problem solving.




UCI Aldrich Park


Students work together with faculty advisors who are highly experienced in the use of leading technologies such as EEG, fMRI, and robotics, and of modern research tools such as computational methods, big data, and Bayesian statistics.

And, students have an opportunity to earn a master’s degree while in pursuit of their Ph.D.

Graduate students from UCI’s cognitive sciences program have gone on to work in high-tech and research consultancy companies; government, science, and technology labs; and in professorial posts around the world.

UCI's campus rotates around Aldrich Park, a beautiful 19-acre botanical garden. The campus is located less than 10 miles from Newport Beach, is the #1 university doing the most for the American dream (New York Times College Access Index), and the #7 ranked public university in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report).

"There's really something here for everyone!"

Graduate student ready to surf


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT - Why UCI Cognitive Sciences?


When Tiffany Hwu was thinking about where she wanted to pursue her graduate degree, UC Irvine was at the top of her list.

"What stood out about UCI and the Department of Cognitive Sciences was how supportive they are of students," she says. "The department has a high retention rate and that's a really good sign they take good care of their students. And after being here for a few years, I can tell you it's true - they do."

"There's really something here for everyone," says Tiffany. "The department is extremely multidisciplinary, including researchers from engineering to those more interested in the behavioral and perceptual part of cognition. Students who are interested in any of these can mix and match because there are leading researchers in each of these areas, all in one place."

Scholars in the department - like Tiffany - have a proven track record of earning competitive research funding from national agencies - including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health - and from campus-level fellowships.



If full funding, opportunities to publish, and a proven track record of excellence in the field are what you’re looking for, contact us today to learn more about UCI’s graduate program in cognitive sciences.




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