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Cognitive Sciences

Dear prospective graduate student,

The Department of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, ranked as one of the top programs of its kind in the nation, is seeking highly talented, motivated, and creative students for graduate study. You are one of a small group of potential graduate students we have selected to contact because of your excellent GPA/GRE scores and declared area of interest provided to us by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) which administers the GRE.

The department has a tradition of excellence in quantitative and modeling approaches to understanding the brain, perception, cognition and behavior. The department offers Ph.D. training that includes both innovative coursework taught by core faculty and research training in several areas including mathematical psychology and computational approaches to studying cognition, cognitive neuroscience with expertise ranging from auditory and language functions and dysfunctions, to vision and cortical plasticity, attention and memory, and brain-computer interfaces, as well as strong research training in action and sensorimotor control, cognitive development, information processing, and cognitive robotics.

The program leads to the Ph.D. degree in psychology, with an optional degree concentration in cognitive neuroscience. Recent graduates from our department have secured postdoctoral positions at leading academic and research institutions including Yale, UCSF, CMU, UCLA, NIH, and many others.

Research Facilities:
Our state-of-the-art research facilities include several research-dedicated computer laboratories, including high-performance multicore supercomputers for neuro-computational and mathematical research, two multi-million dollar fMRI magnets (3T and 4T), EEG and TMS systems for research on the functional organization of the brain, as well as for the study of cortical dysfunctions and BCI (brain-computer interface), several large anechoic chambers for auditory and multisensory research, and eye/head-tracking systems for research on sensorimotor integration.

The department faculty and affiliated faculty include world-renowned scientists with six members of the National Academy of Sciences, nine fellows and two William James fellows of the American Psychological Society, eight American Psychological Association fellows, five fellows of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and two recipients of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Award given to young scientists. Many have served as editors or editorial board members of leading professional journals and as members of NSF and NIH study panels, and in administrative structures of professional societies (e.g., president of the Society for Mathematical Psychology, president-elect of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, etc.). The department has a strong focus on research, with most of our 23 faculty holding one or more large extramural grants. Cognitive science is an inherently multidisciplinary field, and our faculty are involved in several campuswide research centers including the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, Center for Hearing Research, and Center for Language Research. Our faculty routinely conduct collaborative research with colleagues at other local institutions including Caltech, UCSD, UCLA, and USC, all of which are approximately an hour drive from UCI.

Strong Financial Support:
The program provides strong financial support to admitted students that includes five years of guaranteed TA employment and fee/tuition waivers for all students, guaranteed summer funding for research and living expenses to all students during their first two-years in the program, a number of different competitive fellowships (merit based and diversity), as well as RA support during the academic year and summer from faculty grants.

Living in Irvine, Orange County:
UCI is located 40 miles south of Los Angeles and five miles from the Pacific Ocean near Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. The City of Irvine is a comprehensively planned urban area in Orange County, with the campus located on its southern periphery. Consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in America (Money Magazine), the city is a Southern California center of education, business, technology, and entertainment. The city's recreational park system includes 20 square miles of nature preserves, wilderness parks and regional hiking trails. The climate is beautiful and temperate throughout the year.

How to Apply to the Ph.D. Program:
The department graduate program is highly selective, admitting excellent students with diverse backgrounds in psychology, neuroscience/biology, mathematics, biomedical engineering, computer science and other related fields.

We invite you to take a closer look at our program by visiting:

Our faculty research interests include:

Costs and financial/fellowship support:

You can apply to the program online at:

Once registered online, select the "School of Social Sciences" under degree programs, and under Major/Degree select either "Psychology - Cognitive Sciences Ph.D." or "Cognitive Neuroscience Ph.D.". Training in the latter will lead to the Ph.D. degree in psychology with formal concentration in cognitive neuroscience.

We are now accepting applications for fall 2012. The deadline for applying is December 15, 2011 (late applications from highly qualified candidates will be considered).

Decisions for admission will be made by the end of January 2012. Should you be accepted into the program, the department will invite you for a two-day visit (paid for by the department) to meet with current students and faculty, to visit our exceptional research facilities, and to tour campus housing.