(Some) Questions and answers

What coursework should I expect?

Start reading about our course offerings and teaching here.

How does mentoring and advising work?

Read about our mentoring and advising policies here.

What kinds of background knowledge or experience do you expect of us?

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission, applicants should have acquired a background in mathematics equivalent to at least one year of calculus and have some knowledge of computer programming. Advanced course work in some of the following fields is highly desirable: psychology, computer science, mathematics, physical sciences, engineering, biology, logic, and linguistics.

What is the overall mission of your program?

The Ph.D. degree programs prepare students for research and teaching careers in academia, industry, and government. The emphasis is on modern techniques of experimentation and theory construction. Special attention is given to providing hands-on research experience and equipping students with sophisticated mathematical and computing skills.

When is the application deadline?

To receive full consideration for fellowship and assistantship awards, applications must be received by December 1. Admissions decisions are made in March.

Do you admit international students?

Absolutely. International students are considered for admission under the same criteria as domestic students, with one exception: International applicants whose primary language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English.

The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 80, and you need a Speaking subscore of 26 to qualify for our standard funding package. UCI is very strict about these requirements. Other schools sometimes waive these requirements, but UCI does not.

We are aware that the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for some to take the TOEFL test. Unfortunately, we are not able to waive it.

What does it cost?

To you, nothing. In fact, you get paid to be a graduate student at our department.

Graduate students at the UCI Department of Cognitive Sciences are expected to focus on their studies and their research. To make that easier, we ensure that all students have a reliable and sufficient source of income. All incoming students are guaranteed 15 academic quarters of support, most commonly through part-time employment as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or some other relevant function.

This employment comes with various perks, including a full tuition waiver, health insurance including dental and vision, and a guarantee of subsidized on-campus housing. You can find current salary amounts here.

During the summer of the first and second year, our students receive stipends so they can optimally focus on reaching the program's educational milestones. During the third and fourth summers, students often work as research assistants in the lab or do research internships off campus.

Where can I find general information for prospective students coming to UCI?

Here! Note this is very general, and not specific to graduate students.

Where can I read about diversity at UC Irvine?

UCI has explicit Principles of Community that speak to its commitments to tolerance and diversity as a critical social good:

UCI is a multicultural community of people from diverse backgrounds. We are enriched by our mutual respect for one another, and we strive to learn from our differences in an atmosphere of positive engagement. Universities exist to provide the conditions for hard thought and difficult debate so that individuals can develop the capacity for independent judgment. For that reason, tolerance, civility and respect for diversity of background, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation and physical abilities are crucially important for our campus community to thrive.

To read about our commitment to diversity and anti-racism at the Department of Cognitive Sciences—and at the School of Social Sciences of which we are a part—see the page on Anti-Racism Initiatives.

A major initiative at UC Irvine is DECADE, a UCI community whose goal is to improve inclusive excellence throughout campus. DECADE has many successful programs, including the excellent Competitive Edge Summer Research Program. The School of Social Sciences and the Department of Cognitive Sciences both contribute to DECADE, with multiple faculty and graduate volunteers involved. If you would like to contact our DECADE volunteers, you can just send them an email (Karen Arcos ; Nidhi Banavar ). or you can contact the DECADE faculty mentor (Prof. Emily Grossman ).

Should graduate students vote?

Yes, all graduate students are encouraged to vote in every election for which they are eligible. If you are eligible to vote in the US, check out these tools.

What if my question isn't on here?

If you have any questions at all, you can contact the graduate director directly (click here: ).

You can also sign up for an informal meeting session via the RSVP button on the front page.