Permanent Status Program Review of Cognitive Science B.S. degree

Dr. Beth Morling, Psychology Department,and member, Undergraduate Studies Committee of the Faculty Senate

Dr. Jennifer Vu, Human Development and Family Studies


After reading the excellent and thorough self-study prepared by the Cognitive Science and Linguistics Department, we recommend permanent status for the Cognitive Science (CGSC) major.

Strengths of the program: The CGSC major has a great many strengths. The curriculum is rigorous and programmatic. The CGSC major is clearly growing in demand at UD and it attracts some of UDís strongest academic students.It is the only one offered in Delaware, and one of few offered in the region for undergraduate students. It has an applied focus and interdisciplinary scope. The department offers excellent advising for students, both at the course level and pre-professional advising. The size of the major allows faculty to be involved in undergraduate teaching and advising; one gets the sense that CGSC faculty really know their students well. We see no weaknesses in the curriculum or program.

Learning goals.The learning goals for the major, outlined in the departmentís assessment materials, are clear and appropriate for college level work. The goals are clearly compatible with UDís ten goals for undergraduate education, and thus consistent with the universityís academic priorities. The departmentís own assessment (based on analysis of course content) indicate that the courses in this major are designed to meet its stated goals and objectives.

Student Outcomes. As evidenced in the self-study, the CGSC department has an exceptional rate of graduate student placement. The primary goal of many of the students, per the self-study, is getting into graduate school, and the placement information available indicates that the majority of graduates do indeed continue on with graduate-level coursework in similar or related fields.

Future outlook. As more students become interested in this program, there may be a greater interest in undergraduate research. Itís unclear currently how many Cognitive Science majors currently participate in research activities, both within the department and outside of the department, and whether there is sufficient opportunity for students to participate in research if so desired. One caution is that as the program grows, it will be important to continue the demonstrated strong advising support currently underway. As stated the by the self-evaluation, there is need for increased assistance with the administrative aspect of managing the program.

Conclusion. The demand is growing, the curriculum is excellent, and the outcomes canít be argued with. There certainly appears to be sufficient demand for this major to warrant granting it permanent status. Given the programís many strengths, we highly recommend permanent status for this major.