Cognitive Science PhD Program


The PhD program in Cognitive Science at METU Informatics Institute provides extensive interdisciplinary training as it enables students to enroll in courses from various disciplines. Some of the courses offered in various tracks are:

  • Computing track: Computational Models of Mind, Computational Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence for Cognitive Science, Neuroimaging: Anatomy, Physiology and Function of the Human Brain
  • Linguistics track: Theoretical Linguistics, Lexical Semantics, Language and Cognition, Language Acquisition, Syntax, Semantics and Computation: Combinatory Categorial Grammar
  • Psychology track: Cognitive Development, Human Memory, Cognition, Perception and Action, Statistics and Research Methods
  • Philosophy track: Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Meaning and Logic, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophical Logic, Topics in Epistemology


The program requires students to decide on an interdisciplinary area of interest. In order to complete the PhD program, students should take a total of 8 courses (24 credits), the must courses, where necessary, one seminar course and write a PhD Thesis. Upon the completion of course requirements, PhD candidates are required to pass a written and an oral exam on their specialization areas. The successful candidates spend the rest of their candidacy period focusing on their research area and completing their thesis work. Throughout the PhD program students are encouraged to participate in research activities, present papers and posters at national and international conferences, make publications and thus become productive and independent researchers in Cognitive Science.


PhD Degree Requirements


  • Courses
    • 3 must courses (if not taken in the M.S. or exempted): COGS501 (3 credits), COGS502 (3 credits), COGS503 (1 credit)
    • 1 seminar course: COGS690 lectures and seminar presentation (no credit)
    • At least 24 credits of elective courses (8 courses x 3 credits = 24 course credits). The students should take elective courses according to the multiple constraints stated below:
      • At least one philosophy course should be taken
      • At least four courses should have the COGS course code
      • If a student does not have a previous degree in Cognitive Science,
        then 4 COGS courses must be taken, one from each track
      • At least five courses should be selected from the master course list
      • At most two courses may be taken from another department (those courses can be taken from any department at METU or from another university, upon approval of the advisor)
  • PhD Qualifier Exam: The students should pass the written and oral PhD qualifier exam
  • PhD thesis (non-credit)


Must Courses:


Students must take:

  • COGS 501 - Linguistics and Formal Languages,
  • COGS 502 - Logic and Programming and
  • COGS 503 - Introduction to Cognitive Science

courses in addition to the regular course load of the PhD program, if they have not taken them or equivalent courses before. In the later case, students do not have to take any other course to replace the exempted course(s).


Qualifying Exam:


Upon the completion of course requirements, the PhD candidate takes a written and oral exam on his/her (major and minor) specialization areas. The PhD candidates should identify their (major and minor) specialization areas and inform the Informatics Institute Secretary in writing. This should be done in the add-drop period of the semester the student will take the exams. The latest qualifying exams can be obtained from the secretary.


For the PhD qualifier exam, each student should select one of the interdisciplinary tracks below and reply all five questions on that track:

  • Linguistics & Computing
  • Computing & Psychology
  • Psychology & Linguistics

Every student must attempt the question from philosophy.


You can find the Reading List for PhD Qualifying Exams in this page.