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The Cognitive Science Honors Program provides student majors with the in-depth research experience of writing an Honors Thesis under the close supervision of a faculty mentor. Majors who are considering graduate study are strongly encouraged to participate. Students working on an empirical thesis are strongly encouraged to take STATS 250 or equivalent.

Timeline and Submission Deadlines

Junior Year

By end of Winter Semester:

--Find faculty supervisor and identify a proposed title of your project

--Register for COGSCI 497 for Fall Term (optional, see “Honors and Course Credit” below)

Senior Year

Nov 1:                        

--Deadline to submit the Honors Thesis Application (below)

By the end of Fall Semester:

--Register for COGSCI 499 for Winter Term (optional, see “Honors and Course Credit” below)

April 1:

--Deadline to submit thesis to guarantee consideration for the following awards:

  • Marshall M. Weinberg Award for exceptional Cognitive Science Honors Thesis (see below for details)
  • LSA Honors Awards

May 1:

--Final deadline to submit thesis and reader’s reports to


Honors and Course Credit

Students writing an Honors Thesis may, but are not required to, register for one or two special independent study courses (COGSCI 497 and COSCI 499, non-repeatable). These do count toward the limit of 6 independent study credits allowed for the Cognitive Science major.

Honors Awards

  • LSA Honors Awards. The LSA Honors Program awards several scholarships and prizes to thesis-writing students. Please see their website for details.

  • Marshall M. Weinberg Award. In recognition of the contributions made by Marshall M. Weinberg to the field of Cognitive Science and the University of Michigan, an annual prize of $1,000 may be awarded to an exemplary submitted Honors Thesis paper (written by a declared Cognitive Science student) in recognition of outstanding research performance in the field of Cognitive Science.

Demystifying Honors at U-M

What is Honors in Cognitive Science vs. the LSA Honors Program vs. University Honors vs. Degrees with Distinction?

  • Honors in Cognitive Science. The requirements for receiving honors in Cognitive Science are being a declared Cognitive Science major, having a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4, and submitting an approved thesis via the process outline above. Registration in the COGSCI Independent Study Courses (497 and 499) is optional. Students may pursue Honors in Cognitive Science without previous affiliation with the LSA Honors Program.

  • LSA Honors Program. The LSA Honors Program is a four-year academic program to which students apply as high school applicants or as first-year students. To graduate from the Honors Program, students are required complete the Honors core curriculum as well as completing a senior thesis. Students do not need to be enrolled in the Honors Program in order to receive LSA Honors Awards.

  • University Honors. The University Honors designation is awarded on a term-by-term basis to students who earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher during a given term (at least 14 credits must have been elected that term, at least 12 of which were elected on a graded basis).

  • Degrees with Distinction. At graduation, degrees with distinction are awarded based on class ranking. Students who have been approved for graduation, have completed at least 45 graded in-residence credits, and rank in the top 3% of their class will receive a degree "with Highest Distinction." Those who rank in the top 10% of their class but not in the top 3% will receive a degree "with High Distinction." Those who rank in the top 25% of their class but not in the top 10% will receive a degree "with Distinction." Distinction levels are noted on the diploma and the official transcript. Degrees with Distinction may be awarded with or without Honors designation.

Honors Thesis Application