Need Advice: Cognitive Science - UCLA vs. UCSD

<p>I've been doing some research on the major and it seems that the undergraduate curriculum at UCSD is more broad/flexible w/ options (specializations), while the curriculum at UCLA seems to be more focused on traditional psychology courses. </p>

<p>I'm interested in User/Usability Experience (UX) for post-college plans: [Info[/url</a>]</p>

<p>I'm trying to decide which school would be the better choice for Cognitive Science if I decide that I want to try this career field. I know that UCSD has a specialization in Human Computer Interaction which appears to be very much relevant to the UX field and the Cognitive Science department also appears to be the largest among all of the UC campuses. The undergraduate course offerings also seem to incorporate a wider array of CogSci's interdisciplinary topics but seem to have more courses for the artificial intelligence aspect, which is my primary interest in the major. UCLA, on the other hand, offers only one course in Artificial Intelligence, CS 161, for its Cognitive Science major, and appears to be more psych centralized (which lies in my interest for the major as well). The UCLA program, however, does have two required fieldwork courses, which basically involves a research apprenticeship or internship at a private company. UCLA does not have it's own Cognitive Science department as instead the major is given by its reputable Psychology Department. </p>

<p>Links:
[url=<a href="http://www.psych.ucla.edu/undergraduate/advising/majors-minors/cogscitransfers%5DUCLA"&gt;http://www.psych.ucla.edu/undergraduate/advising/majors-minors/cogscitransfers]UCLA&lt;/a> Cognitive Science Requirements](<a href="http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/best-careers/2008/12/11/best-careers-2009-usability-experience-specialist.html?PageNr=1%5DInfo%5B/url"&gt;http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/best-careers/2008/12/11/best-careers-2009-usability-experience-specialist.html?PageNr=1)
UCLA</a> Course Descriptions</p>

<pre><code> UCSD Cognitive Science Requirements
UCSD CogSci Course Descriptions
</code></pre>

<p>Department</a> Rankings</p>

<p>I've considered factors such as school reputation, department rankings, major cirriculum relevance (higher priority) and faculty. Which degree would appear better in the eyes of employers? Would they more likely prioritize curriculum relevance to the job over the school reputation or vice-versa? </p>

<p>Additionally, I haven't been officially accepted into the UCLA major, as I still need to finish some pre-requisites (3-4) to even hope to switch to pre-major status, whereas I was accepted to UCSD as a Cognitive Science major, although I may need to take additional GEs from ERC. </p>

<p>Basically, I'd like to hear any suggestions on which school I should choose for this major.</p>

<p>I would especially appreciate feedback from anyone who may have experience or knowledge in either the UX field or the Cognitive Science program at UCSD or UCLA. Any general comments on making this decision are also welcome. Thanks.</p>

<p>I have a couple friends at UCSD's for CogSci, they say it's a great program, it's rigorous. But it is def. a strong program. I don't know about UCLA's, but that is one of UCSD's strong departments. Good luck!</p>

<p>hii fellow cogsci majoree, im happy that there is more out there..haha</p>

<p>for cogsci department..</p>

<p>ucsd>ucla+cal lol and also its because i like the calm atmosphere rather than hectic ucla or norcal....im not too fond of norcal....i will surely miss the school spirit that is lacking in ucsd</p>

<p>ucla has pre-cogsci i think and cal just have cogsci, as you mentioned ucsd is more developed in this department...although you can help develop the cogsci dept in ucla..</p>

<p>im in sd for cogsci this fall...although i still have no idea what im doing..</p>

<p>Ian,</p>

<p>I wish I could answer more of your questions about the major. Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with the HCI side. I can point you in a few directions, though.</p>

<p>Professor</a> Hollan is our main HCI professor. It looks like his website has some good information, and even advertises some research opportunities. You might also check out his lab page: Dcog-HCI</a> Lab. I know that Professor Hollan in particular has very deep ties to industry, and he made a point of mentioning a few people he has placed. In general, though, I don't know much about placement; I'm planning more on academia than industry. Here's links to the materials for his Cogs 1 presentation: <a href="http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/PapierCraft.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/PapierCraft.pdf&lt;/a>, <a href="http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/CHI2009-Slap.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/CHI2009-Slap.pdf&lt;/a>, <a href="http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/cogsci1-hollan-winter2009.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://hci.ucsd.edu/hollan/cogsci1-hollan-winter2009.pdf&lt;/a> .</p>

<p>I'm currently in one of the machine learning classes. The material there is very quantitative. Here's our current course website: Natural</a> Computation II - COGS 118B - Spring 2009 ?(CogSci 118b Spring 2009)? . The site explains what's going on pretty well. Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with the other core series yet. The further you get from neurons and math, the looser the science becomes. I feel like the science is well rooted in general, but it does tend out towards psychology a bit in some areas.</p>

<p>The faculty are great. It's a young field, and I think it shows in the openness and (general) youth of the faculty. Research experience seems pretty easy to get, particularly in neuro-imaging and behavioral labs. HCI might be a bit more difficult to land, I really just have no contact with that side of things.</p>

<p>Work load is fine, particularly if you're interested in summer session. It's possible--in the sense of managing pre-reqs and such, and also in terms of scheduling--to finish half of your core series requirements in the first year.</p>

<p>As for who I'd recommend the major to, we do have a good HCI program. I also think it's good for anyone with a diffuse interest in brain function/development, or interested in applying mathematical models/machine learning to a specific area of brain science.</p>

<p>From your interest, it sounds like you might enjoy pursuing a double in Comp Sci, EE, or Mech E. I hope I've answered all your questions. I gave it to you shotgun style, and I'd be happy to clear up anything else you might be wondering about. And let me know if I forgot about anything. (:</p>

<p>Also, will you be attending transfer admit day? I'll be attending the Tribe of Muir Transfers (TMT) booth if you're around.</p>

<p>I understand that UCSD has diversity in its specializations. However, as far goes the potential diversity of courses from which you could choose as you complete your undergrad education, here is what UCLA gives you the option to take:</p>

<p>Cognitive</a> Science Curriculum at UCLA</p>

<p>Furthermore, as an undergrad cognitive science student who chose UCLA, **what you actually would want from UCSD is in their Ph.D. program.<a href="This%20is%20my%20goal:%20to%20work%20with%20the%20Churchlands%20or%20Sejnowski.">/b</a> That graduate program is, in my opinion, the best in the country for cognitive science. Thus, if I had a choice between undergrad and grad at UCSD, my bet would wholeheartedly be on graduate. It will make your career, and I don't mean that in some sort of money-hungry way. The big problem is that UCSD does not like taking students into its grad school that studied as undergrads in their cog sci department. Look at their graduate student profiles at UCSD: Not one single student is from UCSD (at least two are from UCLA).</p>

<p>@Alexikoma: if i want to go to graduate school from a UCSD undergrates program... is there some graduate schools i can think about?</p>

<p>My boyfriend and I have compiled lists of graduate schools to look into (we both are ultimately going to end up in very, very similar fields), and this is what we've got so far (in no particular order):</p>

<p>*Brown University
*Carnegie Mellon
Cornell
Georgetown
*Johns Hopkins
MIT
Northwestern
*UC Berkeley
*UCSD
Penn
University of Virginia
*Yale
*Harvard
University of Toronto
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute</p>

<p>*strongly encouraged to investigate</p>

<p>This is my list, though, and my specializations are very similar to Paul and Patricia Churchland, if you're familiar with them. This is why Columbia and Stanford didn't make my list, but you should consider them and other schools that are conspicuously not listed. My absolute #1 goal is UCSD's grad program. They have so much flexibility with joint Ph.D.s--that is, you can receive a Ph.D. in "cog sci and ____." There are about 6-7 different options for what you conjoin your cog sci research with, and one of them is philosophy (some other obvious ones are neuroscience or linguistics). Philosophy and cognitive science are exactly what I want to do, but that's because I'm fervently interested in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. At UCSD there basically is no difference between how the more scientific philosophers do neuroscience and cog sci and how the scientists do it themselves.</p>

<p>my two cents: from what i've heard (from my cogsci major friend), cogsci at SD is the among the best and the first. berkeley & LA's cogsci programs are still being developed and being taught by psych professors.</p>