Cogs PhD


The objective of our graduate programs is to offer students with different backgrounds breadth of knowledge and research techniques in a wide range of areas in Cognitive Science, but not restricted to the areas of expertise of our staff.

The Cognitive Science Program at METU Informatics Institute brings together the research and teaching of academicians in computer engineering, psychology, philosophy and linguistics. It aims to extend its interdisciplinary links to as many parts of METU as possible, as well as to other universities in Turkey and abroad. It aims to develop a collaborative atmosphere that attracts researchers and postgraduate students interested in all aspects of cognition.

The training we offer in Cognitive Science is theoretically and methodologically oriented. It is interdisciplinary and includes a whole range of applications, as manifested by our various research activities and labs. Four disciplines are represented in the graduate programs of Cognitive Science at METU. Cognitive Psychology studies deal with cognitive processes such as memory, attention, perception, action and reasoning through empirical research on human behavior. Linguistics investigates the nature of human language and its manifestation as a mental ability. Computer Science creates computational models of cognitive processes for purposes of understanding similar abilities in humans and designing intelligent systems. Philosophy addresses questions about the essential nature of mind, knowledge, representation, and language. These traditional tracks have recently been complemented by cognitive neuroscience research.

Program Aims

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.

Program Structure

Courses are grouped into four tracks. These are computer science, linguistics, psychology, and philosophy. Each term, the courses offered under each track are announced in the course list.

  • 3 must courses (if not taken in the M.S. or exempted): COGS501 (3 credits), COGS502 (3 credits), COGS503 (1 credit), if the student has not taken them or equivalent courses before. In the latter case, students do not have to take any other course to replace the exempted course(s).
  • 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
  • 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.
  • PhD thesis (non-credit)

Admission Requirements

The Cognitive Science Department at METU Informatics Institute welcomes students from various backgrounds and so far has admitted students from departments such as Computer Science and Engineering, Psychology, Philosophy, Foreign Language Education, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Computer Education and Instructional Technology.

The Cognitive Science Program at METU Informatics Institute brings together the research and teaching of academicians in computer engineering, psychology, philosophy and linguistics. It aims to extend its interdisciplinary links to as many parts of METU as possible, as well as to other universities in Turkey and abroad. It aims to develop a collaborative atmosphere that attracts researchers and postgraduate students interested in all aspects of cognition.

  • Minimum requirements for your application to be considered are ALES (EA or SAY) 75 (or equivalent; e.g. GRE Quantitative), BSc GPA 2.0 or MSc GPA 3.0, METU EPE 75 (or equivalent; e.g. TOEFL).
  • Two reference letters.
  • Letter of intent (in English).
  • A maximum of 4-pages long summary of an assignment, project, thesis, conference paper or a single/joint-authored publication.

(For detailed information about applying to the Informatics Institute, please refer to "Application" page in the main menu.)

Career Prospects

Language technology, innovative uses of computers, man-machine interfaces, academic track on Cognitive Science or related disciplines, such as Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, Philosophy.


All students are expected to take the following must courses, preferably in their first semester:

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

Core courses offered under the computing track are as follows:

  • COGS 511 Computational Models of Mind
  • COGS 512 Cognitive Algorithms
  • COGS 514 Cognition and Machine Learning
  • COGS 515 Artificial Intelligence for Cognitive Science
  • COGS 542 Grammars, Combinators and Cognition
  • COGS 555 Connectionism and Human Behavior

Core courses offered under the psychology track are as follows:

  • COGS 519 The Grounding of Language and Cognition in Perception
  • COGS 524 Linguistic and Cognitive Aspects of Sign Language
  • COGS 533 Functional Neuroanatomy
  • COGS 534 Cognition Perception and Action
  • COGS 535 Cognitive Development
  • COGS 536 Methods and Statistics for Cognitive Science
  • COGS 537 Dynamical Approaches to Cognitive Science
  • COGS 551 Human Memory
  • COGS 552 Thought and Language Processes
  • COGS 553 Psychology of Reading
  • COGS 554 Auditory Cognition
  • COGS 556 Visual Cognition
  • COGS 557 Situated & Distributed Cognition
  • COGS 558 Thinking, reasoning, problem solving
  • COGS 595 Affective Neuroscience and Computing
  • COGS 757 Neurogenetics of Learning and Memory
  • COGS 758 Time and Cognition

Core courses offered under the linguistics track are as follows:

  • COGS 522 Lexical Semantics
  • COGS 523 Using Corpora for Language Research
  • COGS 525 Cognitive Semantics
  • COGS 528 Discourse Mechanisms
  • COGS 530 Modern Theories of Grammar
  • COGS 531 Language & Cognition
  • COGS 532 Theoretical Linguistics
  • COGS 541 Language Acquisition

Core courses offered under the philosophy track are as follows:

  • COGS 517 Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  • COGS 526 Meaning and Logic
  • COGS 527 Dynamic Semantics

Students can also choose among a list of approved non-departmental courses as electives. Some of the courses above and there are counted as multi-track. Please refer to the department for further details.


From the Head of The Department and Information on Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Colloquia are held throughout the year and consist of seminars/talks given by invited speakers from various universities, as well as seminars by the METU staff or our own PhD students:

As part of the METU Informatics Institute Seminar Series, Cognitive Science faculty invites nationally and internationally renowned speakers and organizes seminars on Cognitive Science and related fields.

Important inks for the current student:

Contact for Admissions

Mr. Hakan Güler | Admissions Office | Tel: 03122103743 | email: