Cognitive Neuroscience Program

This program is designed to offer a unique opportunity for undergraduate students in the Five Colleges to deepen their understanding of cognitive neuroscience, through both theoretical and empirical training.

Cognitive neuroscience is the study of the mind as it is manifested in the human brain. Cognitive neuroscientists combine psychophysical and brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and event-related potentials to examine the brain function underlying cognitive abilities in human beings.

This program is designed for students interested in gaining experience within the field of cognitive neuroscience.

On This Page


CJ Gill

Certificate Requirements

The Five College Certificate in Cognitive Neuroscience is currently available to students enrolled at Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges.

To complete the certificate, students must complete at least one course in each of these areas of study:

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    Rationale: A broad outlook of issues related to cognitive neuroscience.
  2. Scientific Foundations (Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Biology)
    Rationale: A greater coverage of a topic supporting the cognitive neuroscience framework. To be determined under the guidance of the student's Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate faculty advisor. It is recommended that this be in an area outside the student's major.
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    Rationale: The methodological foundation needed to understand, interpret and conduct basic research.
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    Rationale: The fundamental philosophical insights to the mind-body problem, a key issue in the field of cognitive neuroscience.
  5. Neuroscience (Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology)
    Rationale: The basics in brain anatomy and function.
  6. Advanced Topics
    Rationale: A more in-depth coverage of empirical and theoretical issues central to cognitive processes.
  7. Independent Research
    The student must also complete at least one semester of independent research through a thesis, course project or special study. The course project may be completed in conjunction with one of the classes listed under the Research Methods areas. An adviser approved summer research project would also meet the research requirement.


Many courses in addition to those listed below may be appropriate to fulfill the requirements of the Five College Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate. Students are encouraged to consult a Cognitive Neuroscience Program campus advisor to identify courses that are appropriate for their interests.

Amherst College Approved Courses

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    PSYC 233 Cognitive Psychology
    PSYC 234 Memory
  2. Scientific Foundations
    PHYS 117 Introductory Physics II: Electromagnetism and Optics
    COMP 112 Introduction to Computer Science II
    CHEM 151 Fundamental Principles of Chemistry
    BIOL 191 Molecules, Genes, and Cells
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    PSYC 122 Statistics and Experimental Design
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    PHIL 333 Philosophy of Mind
  5. Neuroscience
    PSYC 226 Introduction to Neuroscience (cross-listed as NEUR 226)
  6. Advanced Topics
    PSYC 366 Music Cognition
    PSYC 368 Autobiographical Memory

Hampshire College Approved Courses

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    CS 128 Cognitive Science: An Introduction Through Vision
    CS 218 Birth of Mind: Biological Foundations of Psychological Development
    CS 230 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
  2. Scientific Foundations
    CS 205 Introduction to Computer Science
    CS 121 Programming Artificial Life
    CS 216 Data Structures and Algorithms
    NS 2xx Endocrinology
    NS 220 Physiology
    NS 234 Molecular Biology
    NS 247 Cell Biology
    NS 262 Biochemistry
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    CS 246 Cognitive Psychology
    CS 313 Electrophysiological Methodologies
    CS 212 Brain and Cognition II
    And various courses in statistics
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    CS 132 Minds, Brains, & Machines
    CS Consciousness Reconsidered
    CS 202 Philosophy of Mind
  5. Neuroscience
    CS 134 Brain and Cognition I
    CS/NS 269 The Plastic Brain: Culture, Experience & Environment in Mind/Brain Development
    NS 244 Neuroendocrinology
    NS3xx Neurophysiological Mechanisms
  6. Advanced Topics
    CS 272 Emotions and the Brain
    CS/NS 278 Sex on the brain: Gender, Sex & Biology
    CS/NS 158/358 Evolution of Behavior
    CS 228 Music: Brain and Development
    CS 274 Bioacoustics
    CS 278 Evolution of Neurally-Controlled Robots
    CS 254 Genetic Programming
    CS 287 Evolving Artificial Neural Networks
    CS 370 Brain, Mind, and Culture
    CS 338 Current Issues in Cognitive Science

Mount Holyoke College Approved Courses

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    PSYCH 241 Cognitive Psychology
    PSYCH 246 Cognitive Psychology
  2. Scientific Foundations (Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Biology)
    CHEM 150/160
    BIO 145/160
    PHYS 100/110
    COMSC 151
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    PSYCH 204
    NEURO 221
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    PSYCH 249CN/PHIL 250CN: Consciousness
    PHIL 289: Advanced Studies in Philosophy: Advanced Studies in Philosophy of the Mind
    PHIL 309: Philosophy and Science of Emotion
  5. Neuroscience (Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology)
    NEURO 100
    PSYCH/NEURO 246: Cognitive Neuroscience
  6. Advanced Topics
    PSYCH 256: Hormones and Behavior
    PSYCH 340 (various topics)
    PSYCH 349 (various topics)
    PSYCH 350 (various topics)
    PSYCH 359 (various topics)
    NEURO 309 (various topics)
    NEURO 324: Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
    NEURO 336: Systems Neuroscience
    PSYCH/NEURO 254: Psychopharmacology

Smith College Approved Courses

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    PSY 120 Introduction to Cognitive Science
    PSY 218 Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 209 Philosophy and History of Psychology
  2. Scientific Foundations
    PHY 117 Introductory Physics I
    CSC 111 Computer Science I
    CHM 111 Chemistry I
    BIO 132 Cells, Physiology & Development
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    PSY 202 Introduction to Research Methods
    NSC 230 Experimental Methods in Neuroscience
    SDS 220 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    PHI 100 Thinking about Thinking
    PHI 234 Philosophy and Human Nature: Theories of the Self
  5. Neuroscience
    NSC 210 Introduction to Neuroscience
    PSY 130 Clinical Neuroscience
    BIO 300 Neurophysiology
  6. Advanced Topics
    PSY 313 Research Seminar in Psycholinguistics
    PSY 314 Seminar in Foundations of Behavior
    PSY 315 Autism Spectrum Disorders
    PSY 327 Seminar in Mind and Brain

UMass Amherst Approved Courses

  1. Overview of Cognitive Science
    PSYCH 404 History and Systems in Psychology
    PSYCH 315 Cognitive Psychology
  2. Scientific Foundations
    Physics - Various courses
    Chemistry - Various courses
    Biology - Various courses
    COMPSCI 121 Introduction to Problem Solving with computers
  3. Research Methods, Design and Analysis
    PSYCH 240 Statistics in Psychology
    PSYCH 241 Methods of Inquiry in Psychology
  4. Philosophy of Mind
    PHIL 383 Philosophy of Psychology
  5. Neuroscience
    PSYCH 330 Behavioral Neuroscience
    PSYCH 305 Brain, Mind, and Behavior
  6. Advanced Topics
    PSYCH xxx Cognitive Neuroscience
    PSYCH 391 Seminar: Scientific Studies of Consciousness
    PSYCH 530 Human Neuropsychology
    PSYCH 535 Drugs and Behavior
    PSYCH 335 Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
    PSYCH 591 Seminar: Primate Behavior
    LINGUIST 411 Introduction to Psycholinguistics
    LINGUIST 412 Language Processing and the Brain
    PSYCH 318 Psychology of Language

Contact Us

Program Co-Chairs:

Kathy Binder, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Mount Holyoke College

Mara Breen, Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, Mount Holyoke College

Cynthia Gill, Associate Professor of Physiology, Hampshire College

Maryjane Wraga, Professor of Psychology, Smith College

Five College Staff Liaison

Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs