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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.
Weinberg Cognitive Science Study Abroad Award
Because Study Abroad is such an enriching and valuable experience, we are introducing the Weinberg Cognitive Science Study Abroad Award! Students may apply to potentially receive up to $1000 as needed (and as the budget allows) for a one-time flight reimbursement for a study abroad experience. Funds can only be used for flight reimbursement. To be eligible to apply, students must meet all of the following criteria:
Have a 3.0 grade point average or higher.
Be declared as a Cog Sci major;
Be participating in a credit-bearing international experience (including CGIS or self-organized study abroad) and;
Be taking at least one course for Cog Sci credit as part of their study abroad program.
Submit an application here through InfoReady, answering all questions and including the following information:
Proof of acceptance to Study Abroad program
A 1-3 paragraph statement on how your study abroad plans relate to your Cog Sci studies
Indication of your willingness to share your study abroad experience with other students and/or other Cog Sci stakeholders such as donors
Scholarship Terms and Deadlines
This scholarship may ONLY be used for paying for round-trip, outbound and/or return flights for a CogSci study abroad experience, and is a one-time award.
Reimbursement is not available for any mode of transportation used after arriving at the destination/return airport (excludes trains, busses, rideshares, taxis, mileage, etc)
Students’ flights must meet U-M-approved travel criteria:
University policy limits airfare to coach/economy for most flights unless traveling internationally on a flight of eight or more hours, for which business class is allowable.
Air reservations should be booked at least 14 days in advance when possible.
Travelers should select the lowest-price fare within the bounds of the most logical schedule.
Federal regulations require that US carriers be used for both foreign and domestic travel unless one is not available.
Students must register their travel with U-M in accordance with university policy.
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!”