The Certificate

The Certificate in the Cognitive Science of Language is an add-on to a PhD in one of the four core disciplines: Psychology, Linguistics, Communication Sciences & Disorders, or Neuroscience. Students must be admitted to one of these departments, then apply to the Cognitive Science of Language Certificate Program. Students from other programs may also be eligible for the certificate. Contact the director for information.

To earn the certificate, students must complete all of the requirements (coursework, comprehensive or qualifying exams, dissertation, etc.) of their primary program of study, with additional requirements for the Cognitive Science of Language Certificate. These include:

  • The Cognitive Science of Language Proseminar. This two-semester course gives a survey of the major five disciplines within the language sciences: psycholinguistics, formal linguistics, neuroscience, communication disorders and computational approaches. This 3 s.h. course will be cross-listed among the departments participating in the Certificate program. It will feature guest lectures and seminars from faculty throughout the program and aims to represent different disciplines within the language sciences and multiple domains of language (e.g. speech perception, speech production, syntax, the lexicon).
  • Additional coursework. At least three additional approved courses (see Approved Courses, below) must be taken. These courses must be offered by a participating department that is not the student’s primary department. The aim is to expose the student to the study of language from the perspective of a different discipline. To qualify for the Certificate, students are required to take at least three courses in addition to the proseminar, which collectively add up to a minimum of 12 semester hours. Students will submit a plan of study to the Governing Committee each year, outlining their proposed courses and the courses they have already taken. This can be updated as new courses become available, or as the student’s interests change.
  • Comprehensive Exams. Students will take comprehensive exam(s) through their primary program of study according to that program’s procedures. However, some portion of the work must reflect an interdisciplinary perspective, and at least one member of the evaluating committee should be a member of the Cognitive Science of Language faculty from outside the student's primary program of study. Students' comprehensive examinations do not necessarily need to address a topic outside of their own discipline, or even a truly interdisciplinary topic. However, they must be able to write about their topic in a way that explains the implications of their work for other fields within the cognitive science of language.
  • The dissertation. Dissertations will also be written in accordance with the procedures of the student's pirimary program of study. However, similar to the comps, they are expected to reflect some degree of interdisciplinarity, and the dissertation committee must consist of at least one member of the Cognitive Science of Language faculty from outside their primary program of study


When students are admitted to the program, the governing committee will assign them an advisor from among the participating faculty. This advisor may be from the same department, or may even be the student's advisor. This person will help the student select courses and develop a plan of study, select outside members for their comprehensive exams and dissertation committees, and generally ensure that certificate requirements are being met.


A number of currently available courses may fulfill the requirements of the certificate. (This list may change as new courses are added or courses are discontinued, and other courses not listed here may also satisfy the requirements of the certificate.)

Many of the most useful courses for students in the Certificate program will be graduate-level seminars. These are offered in most of the core departments and often rotate through several topics (many of which are relevant to the certificate). For example, in the last two years, seminars in Psychology have been offered on speech perception, sentence comprehension, and statistical learning; seminars in Communication Sciences and Disorders have been offered on the cognitive underpinnings of language processing, language change in aging, developmental language disorders, and the efficacy of language interventions. Because the topic changes, seminars must be approved by the Governing Committee to quality for the Certificate.

Graduate seminars ranging from 2 to 4 s.h. will count towards the course number requirement of the certificate. Seminars with the same course number may be taken for program credit twice if they cover different topics, and both topics are relevant to the Certificate program.

Note that 3000-level (100-level in the legacy numbering system) courses outside of a student’s primary program of study can be counted for graduate credit and may be suitable as an introduction to a new discipline for students in the certificate.

Communication Sciences and Disorders
003:116 (CSD:3116) Basic Neuroscience for Speech & Hearing (3 s.h.)
003:118 (CSD:3118) Language Acquisition (1, 2, 3 s.h.)
003:122 (CSD:3122) Speech Production: Anatomy & Physiology (4 s.h.)
003:145 (CSD:4145) Developmental Speech & Language Disorders (3 s.h.)
003:146 (CSD:4146) Neurogenic Disorders of Language (3 s.h.)
003:206 (CSD:5206) Language Disorders in Children 0-18 Yrs (3 s.h.)
003:218 (CSD:6218) Psycholinguistics (3 s.h.)
003:222 (CSD:5222) Speech and Hearing Anatomy (2 s.h.)
003:224 (CSD:6230) Advanced Hearing Science (2 s.h.)
003:233 (CSD:5233) Aphasia (2 s.h.)
003:282 (CSD:5282) Phonological Development & Disorders (2 s.h.)
003:256 (CSD:5256) Anatomy & Physiology of Hearing (3-4 s.h.)
003:520 (CSD:6520) Seminar: MA Language (2 s.h.)
003:522 (CSD:6522) Clinical Speech Physiology (2 s.h.)
003:538 (CSD:6538) Seminar: Hearing Science (2 s.h.)
103:156 (LING:3030) Child Language-Linguistic Perspectives (3 s.h.)
103:161 (LING:4090) Practical Phonetics (3 s.h.)
103:201 (LING:5010) Introduction to Syntax (3 s.h.) Must be taken concurrently with 103:200 (LING:5000, 1.s.h), which does not count as a second class toward the certificate.
103:203 (LING:5020) Introduction to Phonology (3 s.h.)
103:211 (LING:6080) Generative Second Language Acquisition (3 s.h.)
103:216 (LING:7080) Topics in Second Language Acquisition (3 s.h.)
103:217 (LING:6050) Language Universals Linguistic Typology (3 s.h.)
103:312 (LING:7090) Seminar: Problems in Linguistics (2, 3 s.h.)
123:240 (NSCI:6240) Seminar: Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience (3 s.h.)
031:122 (PSY:3085) Language Development (3 s.h.)
031:137 (PSY:3670) Language Processes (3 s.h.)
031:214 (PSY:6450) Processes of Language Acquisition (3 s.h.)
031:216 (PSY:6490) Dynamic Systems and Development (3 s.h.)
PSY:6620 Computational Modeling of Cognition (3 s.h.)
031:318 (PSY:7430) Seminar: Cognitive Development (0, 1, 2, 3 s.h.)
031:330 (PSY:7610) Seminar: Cognitive Psychology (2 s.h.)
031:335 (PSY:7020) Seminar: Cognitive Neuroscience (0, 1, 2 s.h.)
Division of World Language, Literatures and Cultures
035:186 (SPAN:4150) Introduction to Spanish Syntax (3 s.h.)
035:189 (SPAN:4100) Introduction to Spanish Phonology (3 s.h.)
013:256 (GRMN:6750) Modern German Syntax (3 s.h.)
013:258 (GRMN:6600) Modern German Phonetics and Phonology (3 s.h.)
035:206 (SPAN:6150) Topics in Spanish Language Acquisition (3 s.h.)
035:209 (SPAN:6110) Spanish Phonology (3 s.h.)
035:210 (SPAN:6120) Spanish Syntax (3 s.h.)
013:257 (GRMN:6700) Morphology [German] (3 s.h.)
Computer Science
22C:146 (CS:4460) Introduction to Computational Linguistics (3 s.h.)
(cross listed as 103:140 / LING:4030)
Second Language Acquisition / FLARE (Foreign Language Acquisition Research and Education)
164:201 (SLA:6901) Second Language Acquisition Research and Theory I (3 s.h.)
164:202 (SLA:6902) Second Language Acquisition Research and Theory II (3 s.h.)

Example Programs of Study

Case study #1: A psychology student interested in language acquisition.

A psychology student interested in how children acquire the grammars of their native language should have a good understanding of how grammar works and how it breaks down in disordered language, as well as the neural basis of this ability (in addition to the solid background in development they will get from their primary program of study). This student would likely be enrolled in the Developmental Science program in Psychology and take all of the usual course requirements of this program. As the first year course requirements are fairly demanding in Psychology, they may opt to postpone the Cognitive Science of Language Seminar (which is a full year) until their second year. However, in the spring semester of their first year they may take a seminar in Communication Sciences and Disorders on child language disorders (003:520). Then in their second year, they take Introduction to Syntax (103:201) from the linguistics department. Finally, during their third year, they may take a class on aphasia (003:233).

Case study #2: A linguistics student with a focus on phonetics.

A linguistics student studying phonetics (the articulatory and acoustic make-up of language) will focus their work beyond the foundational courses in Linguistics on phonetics, phonology and experimental phonology. However, they will also need to understand how listeners perceive the acoustic properties of language and how they produce them, domains falling outside traditional linguistics. In their first year, they may take the Cognitive Science of Language seminar. In the fall semester of their second year, they tmay take Language Processes in Psychology (031:137), and follow that up in the spring with a seminar (e.g. 031:330) on Speech Perception. In their third year, they may then take Advanced Hearing Science (003:224) in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Case study #3: A Communication Sciences and Disorders student with an interest in stuttering.

A communication sciences and disorders student interested in stuttering will want to understand the basic properties of the speech production system, how speech is articulated, and computational models of motor control. Such a student would take the Cognitive Science of Language seminar in their first year. During the second year, they may take practical phonetics (103:161) in the Department of Linguistics and Language Processes in the Department of Psychology (031:137). During the first semester of their third year they will follow that up with Dynamic Systems and Development (031:216) in the Department of Psychology.