Research Opportunities

Researchers in this interdisciplinary field seek to understand such mental phenomena as perception, thought, memory, the acquisition and use of language, learning, concept formation, and consciousness. Some investigators focus on relationships between brain structures and behavior, some work with computer simulation, and others work at more abstract philosophical levels.

Honors Program

Students with a 3.5 GPA in cognitive sciences and 3.3 overall may apply to be accepted into the cognitive sciences honors program. Students in the honors program are expected to conduct an independent research project of either one or two semesters under the guidance of a member of the cognitive sciences faculty. Students who wish to enter this program should consult with prospective advisors during their junior year and submit a proposal by the end of the semester proceeding the initiation of the project (typically this means submitting a proposal by the end of the junior year and beginning the project during the fall of the senior year). Proposals will be reviewed by both the supervisor and the program director. Students who undertake a two-semester project will be allowed to continue into the second semester only if their advisor judges that sufficient progress has been made during the first semester. At the end of a project, honors students are expected to submit a detailed final report to both their advisor and the program director and make an oral presentation. For more details, see the program director.

CSCI 390

Majors may undertake supervised independent research by enrolling in CSCI 390 and may apply up to 6 credits of independent research toward the major. Students who wish to take CSCI 390 must complete a CSCI 390 contract and have it approved by their supervisor and the program director prior to the end of the 1st week of classes. All students taking CSCI 390 also must write a substantive research paper, which is to be submitted to both their advisor and the program director at the end of the semester. (Copies of the contract form and instructions are available on the “forms” section of the cognitive sciences website.)

Distinction in Research & Creative Works

The Distinction in Research & Creative Works is a University award (see the University description here) for select undergraduates, granted at commencement, which appears on the transcript and diploma.

More specifically, in Cognitive Sciences, this award recognizes Rice B.A. recipients who have contributed a substantial research discovery. A formal description of the research (e.g., a submission-ready manuscript, a CSCI 390 final paper) with a detailed accounting of the nominee’s contribution and those of other authors is sufficient. Applicants must also be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 in courses completed at Rice. Note that students who complete a Cognitive Sciences honors thesis (CSCI 481/2) automatically qualify for this distinction although they too must apply for it, in accordance with University policies.

Required Application Materials:

  • Declaration of intention to apply for this distinction.
  • Documentation of research achievement in the form of published papers, theses, pre-publication manuscripts, electronic files of presentations (PowerPoint or poster).
  • A supporting letter from the research advisor which should detail the student’s research accomplishments and intellectual contributions.

Please send all application materials to Michael Dixon.