Graduate Division

Cognitive Sciences Ph.D.

Section 1


  • Students have the option to obtain an MS in Statistics as part of the program
  • All programs prepare students for research and teaching careers in academia, industry, and government
  • We emphasize modern techniques of experimentation and theory construction
  • Our research is highly interdisciplinary, with many links to biomedical engineering, computer science, mathematics, philosophy of science, neurobiology, statistics
  • Special attention is given to providing hands-on research experience and equipping students with sophisticated mathematical and computing skills

What Sets Us Apart?

  • More than 20 diverse labs study the information processing functions of the mind from a natural-science perspective
  • We are a global leader in highly technical, modern scientific methods to study the mind and brain
  • Our faculty include multiple members of the National Academy of Sciences and fellows of the American Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association, the Psychonomic Society, and the Society for Experimental Psychology
  • The graduate program strongly emphasizes quantitative training
  • Our graduates pursue careers in academia as professors and researchers at universities, hospitals, and national research laboratories.
  • Our graduates pursue careers in the gaming industry, medical device industry, social media, information technology, and technical positions in other large industries.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

5 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

All applicants for the PhD programs must apply online using the UCI Online Application for Graduate Admissions. Paper applications are not accepted.

Applications will be accepted beginning September 4. The deadline to submit your online application is December 2. Admissions decisions are made in March.
The following items are required as part of the graduate application:

  • Application Fee (subject to change) - Current fee is $105 for U.S. Citizens and lawful U.S. Permanent Residents, and $125 for all other applicants beginning for the Fall '17 quarter of admission.
    • NOTE: Application fee waivers are available to qualifying US citizens and permanent residents. Fee waivers are not available to international applicants.
  • GRE scores - please choose institution code 4859.
  • TOEFL or IELTS - please choose institution code 4859.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts

For further information about these requirements, please click here.

In addition to meeting the above requirements, we strongly encourage applicants to have the following:

  •     A background in mathematics equivalent to at least one year of calculus
  •     Advanced coursework in some of the following fields: psychology, computer science, mathematics, physical sciences, engineering, biology, logic, and linguistics

If you have further questions, please visit our FAQ page or contact the Graduate Admissions Office at or (949) 824-7352.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE Test Score is required for students planning to apply to our program. We cannot waive this requirement even when the applicant has completed an advanced degree at another college or university in the United States.

We cannot accept GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT scores in place of the GREs. We do not require that applicants file scores from any of the various GRE (subject) tests available.

GRE test results are not valid for more than five years. Applicants should register for either the October or December test dates to ensure the timely receipt of their score results for admission consideration. At the time of test registration, students must notify the Educational Testing Service to report scores directly to UCI. Scores reported by a student cannot be accepted.

Further information about the GRE can be found at:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Applicants whose primary language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English for admission consideration. A student may receive a waiver to the requirement for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based Test (iBT) or a paper-based test (PBT) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if they completed all the requirements for their high school diploma, bachelor's degree, or an advanced degree in a country where the primary and/or dominant language is English and English was the language of instruction of the school where the requirements were completed.

For a list of countries where English is considered the primary or dominant language, as approved by the UC Irvine Graduate Council, please visit:

Note: For financial support consideration, the following minimum scores are required:
  • 26/30 on the speaking component of the TOEFL-ibT; or
  • 8/9 on the Speaking module of the IELTS exam.

Financial Support

All applications for PhD admission are considered also for financial support, and all admission offers to Cognitive Sciences currently include five years of funding. Applicants are not required to apply separately for admission and financial support.

Our competitive, merit-based funding packages include annual registration fees and comprehensive student health insurance; a combination of TA or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointment with individual members of faculty, and fellowship quarters in lieu of employment. Summer support and, in limited amounts, graduate student research and travel funding are also available.

All offers to non-residents of California, including non-US citizen international students, include nonresident tuition in the first year or two of study.

Financial assistance based on need (loans, primarily) is available to qualifying student applicants, through UCI Financial Aid & Scholarships:

All students applying for need-based financial aid are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

International students who are not US citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply for federal need-based financial aid aid.

Further information on assistantships and funding resources can be found here.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Bruce G. Berg, Ph.D. Indiana University, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences (audition, auditory attention, psychophysics of complex sounds, computational models of hearing)

Alyssa Brewer, Ph.D. Stanford University, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Linguistics (neuroimaging of visual perception, visual deficits, neurological disorders)

Charles F. Chubb, Ph.D. New York University, Professor of Cognitive Sciences (visual perception, mathematical modeling, histogram contrast analysis)

Thomas M. D'Zmura, Ph.D. University of Rochester, Professor of Cognitive Sciences (vision, hearing, language, brain-computer interfaces)

Barbara A. Dosher, Ph.D. University of Oregon, UCI Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Sciences (human information processing, memory retrieval, attention, visual perception)

Emily D. Grossman, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences (visual perception, neuroimaging)

Gregory S. Hickok, Ph.D. Brandeis University, Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Linguistics (neuroanatomy of language, neural plasticity, neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience)

Donald D. Hoffman, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Logic and Philosophy of Science (machine and human vision, visual recognition, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, consciousness and cognition, shape from motion)

Jeffrey L. Krichmar, Ph.D. George Mason University, Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Computer Science (computational neuroscience, robotics)

Michael D. Lee, Ph.D. University of Adelaide, Professor of Cognitive Sciences (mathematical and computational models of stimulus representation, categorization, memory, decision-making, problem solving)

Mimi Liljeholm, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Assistant Professor of Cognitive Sciences (neural and computational bases of cognition, perception, and action)

Louis E. Narens, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Logic and Philosophy of Science (measurement, logic, metacognition)

Emre Neftci, Ph.D. University of Zurich, Assistant Professor of Cognitive Sciences (computational neuroscience, neuromorphic engineering, machine learning)

Lisa Pearl, Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Linguistics; Logic and Philosophy of Science (linguistics, computational linguistics, language development, language change, Bayesian models)

Virginia Richards, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Cognitive Sciences (auditory perception and cognition, human psychophysics)

Kourosh Saberi, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Cognitive Sciences (signal detection, psychophysics, cortical neuroscience, sensory genetics)

Barbara W. Sarnecka, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Logic and Philosophy of Science (cognitive development, language development, number concepts, conceptual change, individual cognitive development, historical development of science and mathematics)

George Sperling, Ph.D. Harvard University, UCI Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Neurobiology and Behavior (empirical studies of human information processing: short-term visual memory systems, attention, visual perception, 3-D object recognition; mathematical, computational, and neural models of visual processes: light adaptation, temporal sensitivity, contrast-D)

Ramesh Srinivasan, Ph.D. Tulane University, Department Chair and Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Biomedical Engineering (cognitive neuroscience, brain development, consciousness, perception, EEG, brain dynamics)

Mark Steyvers, Ph.D. Indiana University, Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Computer Science; Psychology and Social Behavior (higher-order cognition, cognitive neuroscience, computational modeling, collective intelligence)

Joachim S. Vandekerckhove, Ph.D. University of Leuven, Assistant Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Statistics (response time modeling, model fitting, computational statistics, psychometrics, Bayesian statistics)

Charles E. Wright, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences (cognitive psychology, human motor control, fitts task, aimed movements, handwriting, immersive virtual reality, 1/f noise, quantitative models)

Academic Data

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Career Outcomes

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