Inside Rensselaer
Rensselaer Announces New Major in Cognitive Science
Rensselaer has announced the launch of a new undergraduate degree program in cognitive science. The major, approved last month by the New York State Education Department, will equip students with the foundational knowledge and tools required to succeed as leaders in research and industry.
“The new Cognitive Science program is uniquely Rensselaer, and its forward-looking interdisciplinary curriculum will prepare graduates for futures in research, academia, and to fill the growing need for cognitive scientists in industry and government,” said Wayne Gray, acting dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “Students will graduate from the program with a solid grounding in computer science, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychology.”

The new major builds off the growing strength and stature of cognitive science research and graduate studies at Rensselaer. Students enrolled in the cognitive science undergraduate program will work closely with the Institute’s world-leading researchers, who tackle topics ranging from developing artificial intelligence and computational cognitive modeling, to human reasoning, cognitive engineering, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive robotics.

“In an age of super-smartphones with more computational power than yesterday’s supercomputers, power comes from the augmentation of computation with something else: cognition,” said Selmer Bringsjord, head of the Department of Cognitive Science. “Your smartphone — or for that matter an economist’s prediction tool, or NASA’s expedition to Mars, and so on—is only truly useful and truly competitive in our technologized world if it can not only compute, but do so in a way that exploits the power of intelligence. The new bachelor’s degree in cognitive science is for students who want to study computation and cognition at the same time.”

The new cognitive science undergraduate program is the newest major offered by the Department of Cognitive Science. The department’s other majors are Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS), philosophy, and psychology. The department, founded in 2002, also offers master’s and doctoral degrees in cognitive science.

For more information on the new undergraduate cognitive science program, go to
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 1, January 22, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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