Choosing a Minor as Cognitive Science Students

CSSA at UCSD
4 min readJan 23, 2021

A lot of the time people put a great deal of focus on choosing a major, and for good reason! However, minors can be a great way to explore your interests, expand your knowledge, and even help prepare you for certain careers. Here are some of our top picks for minors that we think go well with the Cognitive Science major:

Computer Science

The Computer Science minor can be a great way to learn more about computing and coding, especially as the field grows more and more prominent! This minor is a bit longer than others, as students must take the same lower division courses as Computer Science majors along with 4 upper division classes for a total of 38 units. Learning more about computer science can be incredibly useful and rewarding for students of any specialization, but especially for Machine Learning students.

Data Science

The field of data science has grown immensely over the past few decades, so the Data Science minor is perfect for those who wish to gain competence in data analysis! People of any specialization can gain a lot through this minor, especially Machine Learning. The minor is notoriously long, with 9 lower division classes and 5 upper division classes, clocking in at 56 units. For that reason, students who want to pursue a Data Science minor must start early and plan classes accordingly. Many students also consider pursuing a double major with Data Science because the minor requirement itself is a lot. Again, starting early is key.

Mathematics

For those interested in working with or in artificial intelligence, a Mathematics minor can help solidify understanding of algorithms and linear algebra! This minor is a great background for those specialized in Machine Learning who are interested in the computational sides of Cognitive Science. It consists of 28 units, and 4 of those classes must be upper division. However, because math courses have to be taken for General Education requirements for most students, it’s easy to cover the necessary lower division courses, and can be a great addition!

Design or Speculative Design

If you’ve always wanted to learn more about how design works, look no further than the Cognitive Science department’s very own Design minor! The minor is a standard 28 units, and is created to give students a well rounded idea of good design and it’s principles. Good design practice can be applicable to a variety of fields, and it is a great option for Design and Interaction specializations.

Similarly, for students who want to learn design but also want to focus more on the artistic side, the Visual Arts department offers a Speculative Design minor. It is also 28 units, and covers topics such as art making and communicative design practices.

Psychology

The Psychology minor at UCSD can be a great way to increase your knowledge on the study of the mind and the analysis of human behavior! This minor goes well with many aspects of the Cognitive Science major, especially for those studying Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Aspects, or even Design and Interaction. At 28 units, it can be an incredibly useful way to learn more about how our minds work.

Sociology

For those interested in learning more about the development, structure, and functioning of human society, getting a minor in Sociology can provide a better understanding of the works and ways of social behavior. The minor is a wonderful addition for anyone who might be interested in learning more about behavior, and could be especially rewarding for those in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience major. It takes 28 units, and students have the option to cover one of their courses through the Study Abroad program!

Biology or Chemistry

Students interested in pursuing future careers in the medical field or the research field can look towards completing a Biology or Chemistry minor! This is a viable option because completing the minor can allow premed students to also complete their necessary prerequisites for medical school. Alternatively, for students who aren’t particularly interested in the medical field but want to gain a better biological understanding of Cognitive Science, a minor in these fields can give them the chance to delve deeper into these subjects and be a great addition for those pursuing either the Clinical Aspects or Neuroscience specialization. Both minors are a standard 28 units.

Linguistics, Language Studies, or Speech and Language Studies

For those interested in learning more about the study of language, the Linguistics department offers 3 different minors for you to choose from! All three are 28 units long, and would be great for a variety of students, especially Language specializations.

First, the General Linguistics minor is very broad, only requiring that students take LIGN 101 and any six linguistics courses of their choosing (minimum 5 upper division classes). Next, the Language Studies minor focuses more on giving students a foundation in linguistics alongside a specific language of their choosing, and it is recommended that students partake in the Study Abroad program. Finally, Speech and Language Sciences is a minor specifically for those interested in speech-language pathology, and provides knowledge on several language disorders.

Any Minor!

Though we have mostly been academically focused throughout this article, remember that these are merely suggestions and that minors can (and should) be taken for fun! With over 100 minors to choose from at UCSD, ranging from humanities to STEM, there is bound to be a minor that fits your interests. Take the opportunity to learn more about the things you’re passionate about, no matter how “minor” they may seem!

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