5 Reasons why you should consider Cognitive Science for your degree at Edinburgh

In my lower sixth form year, I was very intent on doing Linguistics for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t know that Cognitive Science existed then. On one of my uni tours, I met with someone at the University of Edinburgh who recommend Cognitive Science to me! After I got accepted by the uni, I decided to ask them to change me from MA Linguistics to MA Cognitive Science. And I didn’t regret it at all. It’s such a diverse and interesting degree that I really want to share this and encourage you to consider doing Cognitive Science for your four years at Edinburgh!

1. You can always do all subjects in the school

Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary subject, integrating humanities and hard science study into the human mind.

At Edinburgh, you can either do MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) or BSc Cognitive Science (Informatics).

In MA Cognitive Science, you can take almost any course from Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics offered at the School of PPLS. As many as you wish, even more flexible than most students on a specific degree. Things are more restrictive for the BSc though: you mostly do maths, computer coding and AI.

While students of any course at Edinburgh are allowed to take a few courses outside their degree, this is only possible at first and second years only. In contrast, Cog Sci students are allowed to design their own degree throughout their four years at Edinburgh.

In my case, for my 3rd and 4th year, I’m only required to take at least one course each from Philosophy, Psychology and Linguistics. I’m mostly interested in Psychology but very weak in Philosophy, so I take only one Philosophy, one Linguistics and the rest of my courses in Psychology. I have even more freedom than students on a single-degree and a dual-degree!

2. You have access to the facilities and services of all departments in the School

Being a member of such a multifaceted subject, you are allowed to use facilities not just in one department but all three departments at the School of PPLS. This includes department libraries, tutorials at the PPLS writing centres, seminars and even social outings (and even research facilities for your dissertation project!). You have access to all while single or dual subject sometimes have limited access to only their department’s facilities.

3. You can almost always change your degree

Four-year degrees at Edinburgh allow you more freedom than 3-year English degrees, but you can only change before you enter third year. You also need to take enough credits in previous years to be on a par with other people on that degree you want to change to, which can be very difficult.

With Cognitive Science, you are required to take all compulsory courses of Psychology, Linguistics and Philosophy students combined in the first two years. This might sound overwhelming, but you will appreciate it in your last two years, as you have more required credits than other students. You should be able change to the other three subjects without any problems.

4. You can do your dissertation with any department

While usually if you are, say, a Psychology student, you must do a Psychology dissertation. If you are a Cognitive Science student, however, you can choose from doing a dissertation in Psychology, Linguistics or Philosophy, regardless of what you have taken before.

5. You know everyone in the course!

University of Edinburgh is such a big place – the Psychology programme in the first year would already have 200+ people. Cognitive Science, however, is an unusual and relatively unknown programme at Edinburgh, so there are not many people despite all these amazing benefits! In my year, there were around 20 of us! We are so close and chummy that we had our own Facebook group chat even before uni started. People can ask each other questions or concerns, have a Cog Sci night out, a Cog Sci coffee break or a Cog Sci party after exams all the time! We are so lucky to be part of this special community that is very rare in a university setting.

Interested in Cognitive Science now? Check out this!

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