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Graduate Calendar Archives: 2007 / 2008

Cognitive Science


Institute of Cognitive Science
Dunton Tower 2201
Telephone: 613-520-2368
Fax: 613-520-3985

The Institute

Director of the Institute: Andrew Brook
Director of the Cognitive Science Doctoral Program: Andrew Brook

The Institute of Cognitive Science offers a program of study and research leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science.

The Schools of Computer Science and Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, and the Departments of Psychology and Philosophy participate in the doctoral program.

Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human and artificial cognition. It integrates research from experimental psychology, theoretical and computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, and other related areas to address questions about learning, knowing, and thinking. Students in the Cognitive Science Ph.D. program are expected to draw on work from at least three of the contributing disciplines. The researchers who are involved in Carleton's program in Cognitive Science have strengths in areas such as consciousness, cognitive development, mathematical cognition, cognitive and computational modelling, human performance, applied cognition, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of mind and language, intelligent information systems, knowledge representation, natural language understanding, swarm and collective intelligence, evolutionary computing, and some areas of experimental and computational neuroscience. The program also involves researchers from industry, government agencies, and other post-secondary institutions.

Members of the Cognitive Science Doctoral Program

  • Leopoldo Bertossi, Database systems, intelligent information systems, knowledge representation, logic programming
  • Andrew Brook, Philosophy of mind and language, Kant, history of cognitive science
  • Murray Clarke, Philosophy of mind (Concordia - Adjunct)
  • Jean-Pierre Corriveau, Natural language processing, time-constrained memory and text comprehension
  • Steven Davis, Philosophy of language
  • Bruno Emond, Artificial intelligence (NRC - Adjunct)
  • Babak Esfandiari, Agent-based systems, symbolic machine learning, algorithms and heuristics
  • Helen Goodluck, Language acquisition and processing (Ottawa - Adjunct)
  • Chris Herdman, Human attention and performance, aviation psychology, human factors
  • Marie-Odile Junker, Cognitive semantics, general linguistics
  • Deepthi Kamawar, Children's representational development
  • J.B. Kelly, Sensory neuroscience and related issues in the biological foundations of cognition
  • Ann Laubstein, Speech-production models, phonology, speech recognition algorithms
  •  Jo-Anne LeFevre,  Mathematical cognition, development of numeracy and literacy
  • John Logan, Spoken language perception, history of cognitive science
  • Heidi Maibom, Theory of mind, psychopathology, moral psychology, tacit knowledge, nature of theories, emotions
  • Stephen Marsh, Distributed artificial intelligence (NRC - Adjunct)
  • Stanislas Matwin, Symbolic machine learning (0ttawa - Adjunct)
  • Martin Montminy, Philosophy of mind, philosophy of language (Ottawa - Adjunct)
  • Kumiko Murasugi, Syntax, morphology, Inuit languages, neurolinguistics
  • Franz Oppacher, Genetic approaches to cognition, genetic algorithms, natural language and knowledge-based systems, machine learning, computational linguistics
  • W.M. Petrusic, Psychophysics of cognition science
  • Charles Reiss, Linguistics (Concordia - Adjunct)
  • Monique SÚnÚchal, Literacy acquisition and language development
  • Robert Stainton, Philosophy of language and linguistics, pragmatics and semantics (University of Western Ontario - Adjunct)
  • Lew Stelmach, Vision and attention (Communication Research Centre - Adjunct)
  • Stanislas Szpakowicz, Computational linguistics, knowledge acquisition, decision support systems (Ottawa - Adjunct)
  • Andre Vellino, Artificial intelligence (Adjunct)
  • Robert West, Cognitive modeling, human-computer interface
  • Helmut Zobl, Knowledge representation, second-language acquisition and processing

Admission Requirements

The requirements for admission into the Ph.D. program is a master's degree (or the equivalent) from one of the participating disciplines, an Honours degree from a participating discipline, a combined Honours degree (or the equivalent) from two of the participating disciplines or an Honours degree in cognitive science. Students with an Honours bachelor's degree from another discipline with a significant focus on cognition may also apply. An average of at least A- in courses in cognition is normally required.

Applicants with a master's degree are normally admitted to a 10.0-credit program while applicants with a bachelor's degree are admitted to a 15.0 credit program.

Students eligible for admission to the 10.0 -credit program but with deficiencies may be required to take additional courses. In some circumstances, these students will be admitted to the 15.0-credit program. Students admitted to the 15.0-credit program may have some requirements waived based on courses in cognition already completed.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate a fluent knowledge of English. This is normally satisfied by passing a TOEFL test with a score of 580 or better, or 70 on the CAEL. (See the Proficiency in English section in the General Regulations of this Calendar.)

To be admitted, a candidate must submit a description of his or her proposed area of thesis research and a member of the core faculty must indicate in writing that he or she is willing to supervise the student.

Program Requirements

Program requirements for the Ph.D. degree are outlined in the General Regulations section of this Calendar.

The requirements of the doctoral program are:

  • CGSC 6001 Theory and Methods of Cognitive Science (0.5 credit)
  • CGSC 6800 Proseminar (1.0 cred it)
  • CGSC 6905 Methodology Rotation (1.0 credit)
  • CGSC 6909 Prospectus and Thesis (equivalent to 5.0 credits).
    The prospectus must be defended at an oral comprehensive examination on the subject-matter of the thesis. The thesis must also be defended at an oral examination.
  • 2.5 credits in cognition from three different cognitive disciplines, including at least 0.5 credit in neuroscience if not already completed.
  • Preparation in first year of a research paper for presentation at the Cognitive Science Ph.D Conference (see below). Usually prepared as an assignment for one of a student's graduate courses in cognition.
  • Preparation in second year of a research paper for presentation at the Cognitive Science Ph.D. Conference (see below). Usually prepared as an assignment for one of a student's graduate courses in cognition.

Program to be selected in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Each year in April or May a student Cognitive Science Ph.D. Conference takes place. The Conference is devoted to new student research done during the year. All 1st and 2nd year students must present. Other students may present if they have new research and there is room on the program.

In addition, students in the 15.0-credit doctoral program in cognitive science must successfully complete:

  • CGSC 5001, CGSC 5002, CGSC 5003 and CGSC 5004 (2.0 credits);
  • A course in neuroscience (0.5 credit);
  • 2.5 credits in courses on cognition offered by at least three different participating academic units.

Students with a strong background in any of these required areas may apply to be exempted.

Any student planning a dissertation with an applied cognitive emphasis is required to work for at least one term at a facility approved by the student's research supervisor and the Director of the Cognitive Science Program. Such a facility may include any institution, governmental laboratory, corporation, hospital or educational centre conducting research in the area of the student's specialization. Students should complete this work while registered in either the Methodology Rotation (CGSC 6905) or the Ph.D. Thesis (CGSC 6909).

Methodology Rotation

The methodology rotation consists of three parts. Students spend one term each in three laboratories or other research venues using three different methods for studying cognition (behavioural, linguistic-theoretic, computational, conceptual, neuroscientific).

The purpose of the methodology rotation is to give students sufficient background in three different approaches to cognition to allow the student to use work from these approaches in his or her own research.

Assignments will be as specified by each rotation supervisor. Each rotation will be graded separately by the supervisor, Passed with Distinction (PWD)/Satisfactory(S)/Unsatisfactory (U). The grade for the course will be the most frequent passing grade. In the event of a grade of U the student may repeat a rotation only once.

Prospectus, Comprehensive Examination, Thesis and Defense

When a student is ready to begin work on a thesis (dissertation), the Director of Graduate Studies appoints a dissertation committee which must have at least three members from two different approaches to cognition, including the advisor or co-advisors plus the Director of the Cognitive Science doctoral program ex officio. Preparation of the thesis has two stages. First the student prepares a prospectus, which is examined at a comprehensive examination on the subject matter of the thesis. Then the student prepares the thesis, which is defended at a public oral examination.


The prospectus must describe the proposed research and review the relevant literature in the field of the research. The research proposal must be sufficiently detailed to allow the examining committee to judge the likelihood of a successful dissertation ensuing from it. Preparation of the prospectus will follow the practices common in the advisor's area of research. The committee may add further requirements.
Comprehensive Examination
The prospectus is examined orally by a board consisting of the members of the dissertation committee. The committee may add further examiners. The examination is a comprehensive examination of the thesis subject matter, to ensure that the student has a sound understanding of the context of his or her proposed research, and of appropriate methods, ethical considerations, and so on. The examining board will also consider the research that the student is proposing, which must be of sufficiently high quality and described in sufficient detail to allow the committee to judge whether, if completed successfully, it would be likely that the student would be awarded the degree. Should a student fail the comprehensive exam or his or her prospectus is unacceptable, the student may resubmit the prospectus and be reexamined once.
The completed thesis is examined orally by an examining board consisting at minimum of the dissertation committee, an examiner at arm's length to the project from within Carleton (the 'internal external') and an examiner from another university who is at arm's length to the student and the committee and who is a recognized expert in the area of the dissertation. All university regulations apply.

Residence Requirement

All Ph.D. candidates must be registered full-time in a minimum of six terms to satisfy the residence requirement (nine terms in the case of a 15.0- credit program).

Language Requirement

A second language is required when relevant to the student's program of research. Whether a second language is required and the level of proficiency expected is determined at the time of admission, based on the student's description of his or her proposed area of thesis research.

Guidelines for Completion of the

Ph.D. Degree

Whether in the 15.0-credit or 10.0-credit program, students admitted in the same year enrol in CGSC 6800 Proseminar and CGSC 6001 Theories and Methods of Cognitive Science together in their first year. The research requirements in first and second year apply to all students. Students in the 10.0-credit program must make substantial progress on the methodology rotations in their second year, students in the 15.0-credit program in their third year. Students should allow two to three years to prepare their dissertation after all course work and the methodology rotations are complete. Thus, students in the 10.0-credit program can expect to take five years to finish, students in the 15.0-credit program, six years.

Graduate Courses

Not all of the following courses are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings and to determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at:

Area Seminars

The purpose of an area seminar is to offer an advanced survey of one of the four participating disciplines.

CGSC 5001 [0.5 credit]
Cognition and Artificial Cognitive Systems
An introduction to the contribution of artificial intelligence and computer modeling of cognitive processes to cognitive science.
CGSC 5002 [0.5 credit]
Experimental Research in Cognition
An introduction to the contribution of experimental psychology and neuroscience to cognitive science.
CGSC 5003 [0.5 credit]
Cognition and Language
An introduction to the contribution of theoretical linguistics and linguistic research to cognitive science.
CGSC 5004 [0.5 credit]
Cognition and Conceptual Issues
An introduction to the contribution of philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and other conceptual investigations to cognitive science.
CGSC 5900 [0.5 credit]
Special Topics in Cognitive Science
Seminar course on a topic of interest to students in Cognitive Science. The topics of this course will vary from year to year.
Lectures three hours per week.

Core Seminars

CGSC 6001 [0.5 credit]
Theory and Methods of Cognitive Science
Introduction to the main epistemological issues in cognitive science and to the diverse methods that researchers use to study cognition.
CGSC 6501 [0.5 credit]
Special Topics in Cognitive Science
Seminar course on a topic of interest to students in Cognitive Science. The topics of this course will vary from year to year.
Lectures three hours per week.
CGSC 6800 [1.0 credit]
Proseminar in Cognitive Science
An intensive survey of the central problems and issues of natural and artificial cognition and a brief examination of contemporary neuroscience. Compulsory in the first year of registration.
CGSC 6901 [0.5 credit]
Directed Studies in Cognitive Science I
CGSC 6902 [0.5 credit]
Directed Studies in Cognitive Science II
CGSC 6905 [1.0 credit]
Methodology Rotation
Students spend one term each in three laboratories or other research venues using three different methods for studying cognition (behavioural, linguistic-theoretic, computational, conceptual, neuroscientific). Assignments will be as specified by each rotation supervisor. Each rotation will be graded separately by the supervisor.
CGSC 6909
Ph.D. Thesis

Selection of Courses in Related Disciplines

Students may register in courses in the area of cognition offered by any of the participating departments, including Computer Science, Psychology, Linguistics, and Philosophy. Students may also register in courses offered by the University of Ottawa, subject to the General Regulations. Please note that not all courses are offered every year and some courses have limited enrolment. Students are advised to consult the Institute for scheduling details.

Courses with a four-letter prefix are Carleton University courses; those with a three-letter prefix are University of Ottawa courses.

Computer Science

COMP 5005 (CSI 5390) COMP 5006 (CSI 5306) COMP 5100 (CSI 5180) COMP 5206 (CSI 5183) COMP 5807 (CSI 5104) COMP 6604 (CSI 7162) COMP 6901 (CSI 7901)
COMP 5601 (CSI 5101)
Formal Models of Computational Systems
CSI 5162 (COMP 5702)
Order: Its Algorithms and Graphical Data Structures
CSI 5181 (COMP 5705)
Artificial Intelligence in Software Engineering
CSI 5184 (COMP 5804)
Logic Programming
CSI 5304 (COMP 5602)
Knowledge Engineering
CSI 5386 (COMP 5505)
Natural Language Processing
CSI 5387 (COMP 5706)
Data Mining and Concept Learning
CSI 5388 (COMP 5801)
Topics in Machine Learning
CSI 5510 (COMP 5707)
Formal Principles of Software Development
CSI 5580 (COMP 5100)
Subject in Artificial Intelligence


Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 5106, PSYC 5300, PSYC 5301, PSYC 5403, PSYC 5407, PSYC 5700, PSYC 5703, PSYC 5704, PSYC 6601, PSYC 6602, PSYC 6603, PSYC 6700
PSYC 5200, PSYC 6200, PSYC 6204, PSYC 6604

Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

LALS 5405, LALS 5601, LALS 5604, LALS 5701, LALS 5902, LALS 5907
LIN 5915 Phonology I
LIN 5917 Syntax I
LIN 5918 Semantics I
LIN 6915 Phonology II
LIN 6917 Syntax II: Verb Syntax, Cases and Clitics
LIN 7901 Psycholinguistics I
LIN 7951 Topics in Applied Linguistics


PHIL 5200, PHIL 5104, PHIL 5105, PHIL 5204, PHIL 5205, PHIL 5304, PHIL 5305
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