Career options for cognitive science majors vary widely and are partly determined by whether or not the candidate has an advanced degree. Researchers in cognitive science work in a variety of areas ranging from artificial intelligence and neurophysiology to cognitive psychology and the philosophy of mind.
A list of additional career paths includes work in:
- Biomechanical engineering
- Cognitive ergonomics
- Educational technology
- Human factors and usability testing
- Information technology
- Laboratory management
- Military applications
- Software engineering
- Web development, and
- Video game design.
Often, but not always, cognitive scientists work as university professors or are employed in some form of research and development, whether in a university environment or in the private sector.
Class of 2009
As a freshman at UE, Michael Zlatkovsky did not realize that enrolling in the Introduction to Cognitive Science course would alter his focus. "I had always been interested in computers and programming, so I knew that computer programming was my area of study at college. Then Professor Beavers' enthusiasm for cognitive science, as well as the cutting-edge nature of the field, convinced me to also pursue cognitive science."
Michael is now a full-time graduate student and research assistant at Indiana University's Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory and knows that his UE classes were instrumental in preparing him for his studies. "Dr. Beavers and my computer programming professors encouraged me to gain experience through the National Science Foundation's REU program." Michael also studied at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. "My time at Harlaxton was both remarkably fun and culturally enriching, exposing me to philosophy, history, and art. I really enjoyed studying and traveling in Europe and experiencing European art and culture — things I would not have had a chance to experience otherwise."
For the long-term, Michael is working toward a dual PhD in cognitive science and computer science and is interested in working in robotics, human-computer interaction, as a programmer for supporting research, or as a professor. "Ultimately, I want to make certain that my work — beyond being exciting to me — contributes to worthwhile human endeavors or enriches the lives of people. Part of my interest in human-computer interaction is the hope to utilize technology for the betterment of peoples' lives. Whatever I work on, I hope that it can contribute to fulfilling people's happiness and needs."