Undergraduate Training

Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Training

Cognitive Science-Related Graduate Courses

Graduate Training

The Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences was established in the early 1960's to facilitate research and training in the cognitive sciences. The primary function of the Institute is to serve as an intellectual center for faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars and students whose interests converge on the study of human learning and the nature of the mind.



At the current time, the Institute does not offer a graduate degree granting program in Cognitive Science. Graduate students wishing to specialize in this area pursue their interest by working with an Institute affiliated professor while enrolled in an established academic department (i.e., psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, etc.). Supplementary graduate cognitive science seminars are offered each semester. It is hoped that the success of our new undergraduate program will foster administrative support for a full graduate degree program in the future.

Inquiries regarding graduate admission procedures and deadlines should be directed to the Admissions Office, Graduate Division, 309 Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, (415) 642-7405.


The Training Program: The Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, announces a graduate research training program in Cognitive Neuroscience for students who wish to focus their studies on an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding behavioral neurology and neuropsychology. Between 2000 and 2005, the program will offer support for graduate training In Cognitive Neuroscience.

Support and Eligibility: Trainees must be U.S. citizens or legal residents. Trainees will receive a stipend of $18,156 per year plus tuition and fees. They will be supported for two years, typically their second and third years (but occasionally their third and fourth years), provided they make satisfactory progress within the program.

Application Procedure: Formal application to the NIH Graduate Training Program in Cognitive Neuroscience occurs during the first or second year of study at UC Berkeley. Interested students must submit a formal application to Diana Darab. Because Berkeley does not currently have a graduate degree program in Cognitive Science, students will be accepted into the training program from related departments, such as Computer Science, Education, Linguistics, and Psychology. Each applicant must obtain three letters of recommendation, submit a two-year plan showing how they plan to complete the required coursework, and write a brief research proposal of no more than two double-spaced pages. Application packets are available from Diana Darab, Institute of Cognitive Studies, 608 Barrows, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-3020. All applicants will be notified of their status by May 1. Incoming students who are interested in the training program should apply for admission to the appropriate department. Then, during their first or second year of graduate study they may apply for a Traineeship, as described above.


The training faculty have various backgrounds and areas of interest, but all have the common goal of understanding the relationship between the human brain and cognition. Their training backgrounds include neuropsychology, cognitive and sensory psychology, computer science, linguistics, neurology, electrophysiology, imaging, psychophysics and human neurobiology.

Kathy Baynes, PhD, Department of Neurology, Graduate Program in Neurosciences, VA Martinez UCD Director, Neuropsychology training at UCD Language disorders, hemispheric differences in language and semantic processes.

Karen DeValois, PhD, Department of Psychology, Graduate Program in Neurobiology & Department of Optometry, UCB. Chair, Department of Psychology Spatial vision, psychophysics with spatial emphasis on functioning of human visual cortex.

Russell DeValois, PhD, Department of Psychology and Graduate Program in Neurobiology, UCB Member, National Academy of Science Sensory physiology, color and spatial vision, visual perception with comparisons across human and non-human primates.

Nina Dronkers, PhD, Department of Neurology and Linguistics, & VA, Martinez UCD Chief of Service, Audition and Speech Pathology UCD/VA Investigations of language disorders with a special emphasis on semantic processes.

Mark D'Esposito, MD, Department of Psychology, Graduate Program in Neurobiology & VA, Martinez, UCB Director, Wills Brain Imaging Center Neuroimaging of human cognition with special emphasis on cognitive aspects of frontal lobe function.

Jerome Feldman, PhD, Department Computer Science, UCB Artificial intelligence, neural networks. Jack Gallant, PhD, Department of Psychology & Graduate Program in Neurobiology, UCB Visual neuroscience and attention with emphasis on visual association areas and comparisons across neurological patients and non-human primates.

Ervin Hafter, PhD, Department of Psychology, UCB Auditory perception and psychophysics of attention, neurobiological function of auditory sensory mechanisms.

Rita Hargrave, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, UCD Staff Psychiatrist, VA Emotional and cognitive deficits in depression and schizophrenia.

Stephen Hinshaw, PhD. Department of Psychology, UCB Director, UCB Psychology Clinic Clinical psychology with an emphasis on developmental psychopathology; risk factors for attentional and conduct disorders; child psychopharmacology; multimodal interventions.

Richard Ivry, PhD, Department of Psychology & Graduate Program in Neurobiology, UCB Director, Institute of Cognitive Neurosciences Neural mechanisms of motor control and timing, visual attention and functional hemisphere asymmetries.

Stan Klein, PhD, School of Optometry & Graduate Program in Vision Sciences UCB Psychophysical methods with emphasis on vision test design, non-linear analyses of visual processes and electrophysiology

Robert Knight, MD, Department of Psychology, Graduate Program in Neurobiology & VA Martinez, UCB Psychophysiological study of the role of neural systems involved in attention and memory with emphasis on patients with focal lesions.

George Lakeoff, PhD, Department of Linguistics, UCB Cognitive linguistics, especially the neural theory of language, conceptual systems, conceptual metaphor, syntax-semantics-pragmatics.

Steve Palmer, PhD, Department of Psychology UCB Past Director, Institute of Cognitive Sciences Cognition with an emphasis on visual sciences and perceptual organization.

Lynn Robertson, PhD, Department of Psychology, VA, Martinez UCB Cognitive neuropsychology with and emphasis on spatial cognition and attention, neuropsychological deficits, hemisphere differences

Arthur Shimamura, PhD, Department of Psychology & Graduate Program in Neurobiology, UCB Studies of implicit and explicit memory and the role of frontal lobes in memory and inhibition. Dan Slobin, PhD, Department of Psychology, UCB Psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, language and cognitive development, sign language, cross-cultural linguistics, spatial representations and language

Diane Swick, PhD, Department of Neurology, VA, Martinez UCD Cognitive electrophysiology with an emphasis on language and semantic processing David Woods, PhD, Department of Neurology, VA, Martinez UCD Psychophysical investigations employing electrophysiological and imaging methods with an emphasis on visual and auditory attention.

Upon selection as a trainee, students will enter a program that consists of intensive training of four types: 1) basic lecture courses on fundamental issues in human cognitive neuroscience, 2) advanced seminars on relevant topics, 3) research training in at least two laboratories of the training faculty (i.e., a semester rotation through the secondary laboratory), 4) independent research. Finally, all trainees will have many opportunities to exchange ideas with investigators from other disciplines and other institutions. For example, there is a poplular monthly "Omni" meeting at the VA in Martinez where Davis and Berkeley faculty and students come together to participate in case presentations, rounds, and to exchange information through talks given by cognitive neuroscience students and faculty. There are also opportunities to rotate through laboratories of UCD training faculty at the VA and to attend behavioral clinics. In addition, cognitive therapy and rehabilitation methods can be observed and discussed.

There are several venues on the Berkeley campus that trainees, UCB and UCD faculty attend. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences have a weekly invited colloquium that includes outside lecturers as well as student and faculty presentations. All students within the group are required to attend but students and faculty from optometry, computer science and linguistic are often present. A unique event is a yearly mini-conference between Stanford and Berkeley psychology departments where students must present their research at least once during their graduate training.

Other relevant colloquia and presentation opportunities abound across the UCB campus. For instance, Vision Sciences offers a weekly invited lecture series focused on both lower and higher visual processing There is a weekly presentation at the Ear Club which is the auditory equivalent of the vision science series. There is also a weekly joint colloquium between Cognitive Sciences and the Institute of Personality and Social Psychology which often includes relevant topics . Other lecture series that include relevant information are sponsored by the Institute of Human Development and Neurosciences Graduate Program.


Example of training

Because the training will be somewhat different depending on the students interests and home department, and because more psychology faculty are members of the present proposal, a "typical" training regimen for a psychology trainee is described in this section.

The Psychology Department at UCB is divided into 4 graduate training groups: clinical, development, social/personality and cognitive/behavioral neuroscience (cognitive and behavioral neuroscience have merged to form CBN due to the overlap of interests in cognitive neuroscience). The increased faculty and wider course offerings available through this merging has increased the graduate student slots each year for the combined program to 16. Given the interest in an area within cognitive neurosciences, an estimate of 8 of these students being candidates for trainees on the proposed grant is conservative.

Because each trainee will be supported for 2 years and because students studying with training faculty in other departments will also apply (Feldman, Klein, Lakeoff) this means only about 3 of the CBN students who enter the program each year would receive support from the grant sometime during their training. The example student described below represents one of these.

Upon matriculation as a trainee in her second year of graduate training she would have COMPLETED several formal requirements including the following:

205A and 205B (Data Analysis Keppel, Zedick). Advanced statistical methods 2 semesters, 3 hours
292A and 292B (Introduction to the Profession of Psychology). Includes topics in professional development, professional and scientific ethics, scientific writing, journal and grant proposal writing and reviewing process, special issues facing women and minorities 2 semesters, 2 hours /wk 2 of 4 required proseminars, 1 semester, 3 hours/wk (selected from the following): 210A Human Cognitive Neuroscience (Knight, Ivry, D'Espisito) required of all students entering the Cognitive Neuroscience program
210C Sensory Systems (Hafter, DeValois) covers the biological and functional properties of sensory vision and audition with an emphasis on psychophysical studies.
220C Human Learning and Memory (Shimamura) covers cognitive and neuropsychological theories of human learning and memory including studies of amnesia, dementia and the neurobiology of memory dysfunction.
220D Problem Solving and Understanding (Ranney) focuses on the cognitive science perspective of problem solving in children and adults
220E Perception (Palmer) covers theoretical and methodological investigations of visual and auditory perception including color, space, shape, motion, pattern recognition, representation and attention
240D Language Development (Slobin) emphasizes child language development including phonology, grammar, semantic and sociolinguistics
229 (CBN Seminar) lectures in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience areas, 2 semesters, 1 hour/wk .

She would also be encouraged to complete the 2 semester requirement to act as a graduate teaching instructor and would submit a first year paper on a research topic, either a comprehensive review and critique or an experimental or empirical investigation completed with a faculty member.

At the start of her NIMH training award period she would be in her second year of graduate study and would be required to take

245 Functional Neuroanatomy, 1 semester, 2 hours/wk (Integrative Neuroscience)
245L Laboratory, 6 hours/wk. Includes gross dissection of the human brain and histological examination of the human nervous system
2 additional selections from the above list of proseminars 293A-293B Second Year Research Seminar. Includes topics of academic and non-academic careers, the job search, building a resume also includes social and biological methodology, literature reviews and practice with oral presentation.
298 Directed Study (in a selected faculty member's laboratory) Research projects are presented at the end of the year in a mini-conference gathering of faculty and students.

In addition, she would be expected to participate in UCB/UCD joint meetings in cognitive neuroscience at the VA in Martinez. She would also take classes selected from the following electives: (this list is also relevant for years 3-5).

107 Introduction to Imaging (Nuclear Engineering) currently offered as an undergraduate course (to be replaced or augmented by the next course)
210X a course in neuroimaging methods is being developed by Mark D'Espisito and will be offered starting in 2002 (Psychology)
217 Drugs and Behavior (Psychology)
218 Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience (Psychology)
220A Cognition (Psychology)
220B Consciousness (Psychology)
220F Graduate Issues in Cognitive Science (Psychology)
222 Application of Visual Psychophysics to Clinical Disorders (Vision Sciences)
225 Seminar in Motor Control (Integrative Biology)
232 Cognitive, behavioral and emotional assessment of children (Psychology)
231B Clinical Issues in Neuropsychology (Psychology)
236 Brain-Behavior Relationships in Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders (Psychology)
240A Biological and Perceptual Development (Psychology)
247 Seminar on Controversies in Comparative Physiology (Integrative Biology)
257 Current Topics on Behavioral Physiology (Integrative Biology)
265 Human Evolution (Integrative Biology)
281 Machine Learning (Computer Science)
C216A Spatial Aspects of Vision (Psychology)
C216B Color Vision (Psychology)
C182 The neural basis of thought and Language (Computer Science)
C280 Computer Vision (Computer Science)
212C Spatial Vision and Machine Vision (Vision Sciences)
IDS 271 Seminar in Neuropsychology (Psychology)
Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (Psychology)
290 Seminars in Special Topics (Psychology) can occur both on and off campus
299 Research (Independent research toward the dissertation)

290 seminars vary from year to year, but some examples of relevant seminars offered this past year are clinical psychopharmacology; the cerebellum and cognition; functional MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); language and cognition of space and motion; acquisition of sign language by deaf children; cognitive development in deaf, blind and deaf-blind children; spatial vision.

In the third year of training trainees will be expected to complete the qualifying examinations which includes evidence, both written and oral, of expertise within a broad range of topics in cognitive neuroscience. Five faculty members are selected to act as the evaluating committee. When the qualifying examinations are successfully completed, the student advances to candidacy.

The dissertation proposal is expected to be presented at the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th year of study to a committee composed of the student's advisor and two additional faculty chosen by the student and approved by the home department. Once the proposal has been approved by the committee, the student embarks on the dissertation work. An exit presentation to all faculty and students is required when the dissertation has been completed.

All trainees will be encouraged to attend at least one major conference per year (e.g. Society for Neurosciences, Psychonomics Society, Society for Cognitive Neuroscience, Society for Cognitive Science). They will also be expected to apply for summer training at least once during their traineeship (e.g. Summer Institute for Cognitive Neurosciences, Cold Springs Harbor).

In sum, the student given as an example here would be well versed in functional human neuroanatomy, methods and theory within behavioral neurosciences and cognitive psychology, statistics, research methods and ethics. If her interests are in language, she will take proseminars in language development, electing to take proseminars in perhaps sensation and problem solving; completing 107, 118, 231B, 236 and C182 as well as a course through UCD/VA taught be Professor Dronkers (The biological basis of language). She will choose several seminars in topic areas in her area of interest. Examples of seminars that will potentially be offered include aphasia, developmental language disorders, language and perception, clinical neuroscience, and human brain dysfunction. She will attend neurology rounds with a neurologist, radiological readings with clinical staff and UCB/UCD joint seminar meetings at the VA in Martinez. She might complete her second year research project with Professor Dronkers on semantic processing in aphasic stroke patients which may lead to a dissertation including imaging measures with Professors D'Espisito, Dronkers and Slobin as her dissertation committee. By the time she graduates she will have attended major conferences and a summer institute or workshop relevant to her area of interest, taught as a graduate instructor in at least two undergraduate courses and presented her research both orally and written. She will have met other graduate students, both within and outside UC, who will be her former colleagues and she will have interacted extensively with both clinical and academic professionals.

Another trainee from say computer science or linguistics would have a different but related experience. Although the specific courses and topics would change, the translational and interactive components of the training should be quite similar. Given the breadth of human cognitive neuroscience, there are many scenarios, but for all trainees the goal will be to give them the opportunity to learn first hand how their own basic research can translate to real world cognitive problems.


All Trainees

All trainees will be involved in informal training such as symposia series and colloquia. Both UCD/VA and UCB offer a large number of seminars to choose from that are relevant to cognitive neuroscience for examples). These include speakers in various aspects of neurobiology and cognition. There are several active journal clubs as well, and joint laboratory meetings between various faculty.

Trainees will participate in several neurological and psychiatric training activities including rounds and behavioral clinics. These activities provide broad exposure to the spectrum of sensory, cognitive, and behavioral disorders including primary sensory deficits, higher order perceptual and attentional deficits (e.g., hemineglect, associative or integrative agnosia), language and speech disorders (e.g., fluent aphasia, speech dysarthria) executive dysfunction (e.g., frontal lobe syndromes), Parkinson's disease, amnesic syndromes, dementia of various types, behavioral disorientation and attentional disorders including those accompanying stroke, head injury, or schizophrenia or other psychoses, patients with primary and secondary motor deficits, etc. They will also have the opportunity to observe instances of rare or less frequently seen syndromes such as Balint's syndrome, prosopagnosia, allesthesia, anasognosia, global amnesia, and so forth.

Each trainee will be encouraged to present their data at scientific meetings, and can apply for travel funds for such purposes. This will give each trainee the experience of presenting their work before a knowledgeable audience of professionals outside the UC system and to exchange ideas with other investigators across the breadth of the field.



Every effort is made to instill the highest ethical principles and scientific integrity in every student. During a trainees initiation into laboratories, they are taught the need for scrupulous recording and organization of each experiment including meeting regulations governing human subjects. They also are required to take a year long class during their first year on scientific ethics, responsibility, human subjects guidelines, data reporting, and general professional values and conduct. Ethical violations will be met with harsh rebuke. Trainees who test patients will also be required to be fully knowledgeable about responsibilities for medical practice and be CPR certified. A course on medical ethics is taught through UCD, and students who are not familiar with medical practice and ethics will be required to take this course. It is the responsibility of every training faculty member to ensure that students comply with these standards.



The procedure for accepting graduate students varies across departments. By appointing trainees in their second year of study, there will be ample time for first year students to solidify their interests, in essence making sure cognitive and behavioral neurosciences research is the avenue they wish to pursue. It also gives training faculty a better indication of potential success than through the usual measures of recommendations, GPA and GRE scores. In addition to these indices there will be the opportunity to evaluate a student within the intellectual environment in which training occurs. Trainees will be chosen by the steering committee with the assistance of faculty recommendations. Appointments will be based on excellence and scholarly record as well as overall potential for success as a scientist.

Each trainee will receive two years of support (typically beginning in their second year) by the end of which they should be advanced to candidacy and have submitted an extramural grant proposal for dissertation funding (likely an individual NRSA, but possibly to private foundations or other funding agencies).