Many Cognitive Science students from all tracks participate in a study abroad experience. This is often a great way for Cog Sci students to earn credit toward their elective requirements (or even core requirements), as well as explore cognitive science in an international context!
Study abroad also provides a unique opportunity to live and study in another country while earning
U-M in-residence credits that will keep students on track for graduation. Programs can range anywhere from three weeks to an entire academic year. Depending on the type of experience students are hoping to have, U-M offers a variety of programs including custom, faculty-led programs, internships, university exchange, and more!
Academic Credit for Cognitive Science Courses
Courses taken through CGIS will receive U-M in-residence credits. Courses taken from non-CGIS study abroad programs and/or external institutions must be transferable into the University of Michigan and approved by the Weinberg Institute in order to count coursework to the Cognitive Science major. Students may transfer up to 20 non-LSA credits, which may be used toward the graduation minimum of 120. Please reference the LSA Transfer Credit process. This guide from the International Center about Academic Credit from abroad is also a useful resource.
Prior to departure, students should select potential courses at their host institution that they believe have relevant CogSci content. One you have done this please check the list of “Previously Petitioned Study Abroad Courses” to see if it has already been approved. If not, you will need to submit a “Cognitive Science Study Abroad Course Petition”. If you need help with this course selection process, you may also make an appointment with a CogSci advisor.
Finding a Program
Because of U-M’s commitment to international education, there are many resources available to assist students who are looking for an international experience, including country-specific tips, funding, navigating identities abroad, and more. The offices listed below offer comprehensive information and periodic workshops to help students plan for their time abroad.
The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) has a number of programs that are well suited to students wishing to take Cog Sci courses abroad. CGIS requires all students wishing to go abroad through their programs to attend a "First Steps" information session, followed by an individual advising appointment with a CGIS advisor. After this, you can begin to apply to a CGIS program.
Study Abroad Student Profile: Tess Tobin
Cognitive Science student Tess Tobin (Class of 2019) attended Hertford College at the University of Oxford in the U.K. from January through June 2018.
Decision and Cognition
While at Oxford, Tess took four courses: Knowledge and Reality, Modern British Dramas, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, and Formal Modeling of Decisions, three of which counted toward her Cognitive Science degree. To make this happen, Tess worked closely with both her Michigan and Oxford advisors when selecting courses so that it would be a seamless transition. As for the structure of the courses, Tess explains, Oxford is unique in that classes are taught through the tutorial system requiring weekly one-on-one meetings with professors as opposed to traditional lectures or seminars.
Inspiration for Study-Abroad Location
It’s not always easy to choose a study-abroad location. For Tess, the choice was less about the geographic location and more about the program: “Oxford just seemed so mythical; I wanted to know what it was like to go there.”
“Living in Oxford is otherworldly,” says Tess. “It's more beautiful than you can possibly imagine. And it was also pretty amazing to experience another pedagogical style—their way of teaching, and their way of life, is completely different from here.”
Yet, Tess admits, she probably had the most fun while traveling, when students had six weeks off between terms. “My two favorite places were Salzburg, Austria and Bergen, Norway," says Tess. "I also enjoyed taking casual day trips around England, particularly in London and the Cotswolds.” Tess was also fortunate to spend time in Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Genoa, Turin, Venice, and Vienna!
Advice for Fellow Study-Abroad Students
For students considering a study-abroad opportunity, Tess has some practical tips to ensure the best experience:
“One--talk to your department advisors before choosing courses so you know they'll count. And two--buy a portable battery. When you're alone in a country where you don't speak the language, you don't want to worry that your phone will die.”