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Cognitive Science is the study of the human mind and how it shapes and is shaped by our experiences and interactions.

About the programme
Quota 1 2020: 11 (Standby: 10.6)   |   Quota 2 2020: 10.7 (Standby: 10.6)  
: English | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: Week 35


In the cognitive science programme, you are introduced to fundamental theories of cognition. Besides, you learn how to design and carry out your own investigations of the human mind, brain and behaviour. Among other things, you learn about the statistical analysis of the data and computer programming, which will enable you to carry out your own experimental studies, as well as be critical of experimental studies, which have already been carried out.

Studying cognitive science

Courses consist of lectures and classroom instruction, where you participate in discussions, make presentations and work with your study group. You will also be doing practical lab exercises where you analyse data from brain scans, behavioural experiments and large text databases. The programme  introduces you to experimental design and statistics, cognitive neuroscience as well as cognitive approaches to communication and culture. The degree programme is conducted in English to promote an international study environment and prepare students for an international labour market.

Can you measure a thought?

In the course of your studies, you learn about the fundamental cognitive processes that underlie our conscious and unconscious perceptions and actions. You learn about how humans make decisions, and how we use language to communicate, share feelings and interact with others. This requires knowledge about relevant scientific theories as well as specific practical tools. You will thus learn computer programming (e.g. Python) and advanced tools for statistical data analysis (e.g. R and MatLab) which you will use in your own experimental investigations of human cognition and behavior.

Career opportunities

With a Bachelor’s degree in cognitive science, you can choose among a wide range of Master’s degree programmes, including cognitive Science, Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (Beijing) or Information Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme along with its focus on concrete data collection and analysis skills means that graduates of the programme are attractive to prospective employers from a variety of sectors, including IT, product design and neuroscience research.

“The programme is just what we need out here in the real world. There’s an enormous unmet need for graduates who are able to combine behaviour, data and cognition, which will be fundamental elements in many business models in the future.” Henrik Dresbøll, CEO Cosmographic and WeLearn.


Check if Cognitive Science is for you

Admission requirements

Admissions area number: 22419

To be eligible for admission to this degree programme, you must fulfil the following requirements:

qualifying examination as well as the following specific admission requirements (A, B and C refers to the subject level in the Danish upper secondary school with A being the highest level possible):

  • English B with an average grade of 3.0 on the Danish 7-point scale
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Social Science B or Contemporary History B
  • Mathematics B

If there are any subjects you have not completed at the required level, you can take them as supplementary courses or as a summer supplementary course (conditional Admission).

The admission requirements must be met and documented by 5 July in the year of application unless you apply for conditional admission.

Quota 2

Like quota 1 applicants, quota 2 applicants must have passed a qualifying examination, and they must also fulfil the specific admission requirements above.

Quota 2 applicants are individually evaluated on the basis of: 

  1. Average of particularly relevant subjects (Quota 2 subjects), listed below
  2. other particularly relevant documented qualifications.

Read more about Aarhus University's quota 2 criteria.

Quota 2 subjects:

  • English B with an average grade of 3.0 on the Danish 7-point scale
  • Mathematics B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B or Social Science B

Programme structure

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations, you can read more about the content of the individual course, the structure of the degree programme and the demands the programme places on you as a student. You can also read about the types of exams and the exam requirements.

The diagram below shows you how the programme is structured. You can click on the different courses to read the course descriptions.

Student life

Academic student life on the Cognitive Science programme

The Bachelor’s degree programme in Cognitive Science is based on lectures, practical exercises in e.g. programming and statistics, group discussions, independent study and experimental projects. At lectures, you learn about the central issues, theories and methodologies in the field of cognitive science. In connection with practical exercises, you apply this knowledge in connection with classroom discussions, data analysis and modelling exercises, as well as in designing and carrying out your own research projects. As a university student you will be spending a large part of your studies on independent reading, preparation and exercises in e.g. programming and statistics. You will also be part of a study group, where you will work on presentations and projects together and discuss your subject. 

Follow the academic activities at the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics.  

A world of knowledge

You study cognitive science because you are curious! The degree programme is anchored in a vibrant research environment. Almost every day, you get to participate in research seminars and learn about fascinating new discoveries. For example, is it possible to tell if someone is depressed based on their tone of voice? And can computer games help teach autistic children to talk?

Here is an example of a typical week in the first semester of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Cognitive Science. As you can see, you will be spending much of your time preparing for classes and lectures, and meeting with your study group. This is why cognitive Science is a full-time degree programme, even though you don’t necessarily have scheduled classes every day.

9:00- 11:00 Lecture: Experimental Methods I
11:00 - 13:00 Project work
13:00 - 15:00 Practical exercises, Experimental Methods I
15:00 - 17:00 Independent study and practising programming

9:00 - 11:00  Independent study and practising programming
11:00 - 13:00 Lecture by guest professor
13:00-16:00 Independent study

10:00-12:00 Meeting in study group
12:00 - 14:00 Lecture: Introduction to Cognitive Science
14:00 - 16:00 Classroom instruction, Cognitive Science (presentation)
16:00-17:00 Independent study

10:00-12:00 Meeting in study group
12:00 - 14:00 Lecture: Cognition and Communication
14:00 - 16:00 Classroom instruction: Cognition and Communication 
16:00-17:00 Independent study

9:00 - 15:00 Work on independent project
16:00 - ?? Friday bar

Social life on the cognitive science programme

Your life as a student doesn’t end when you close your books. As a cognitive science student, you will spend much of your time in the Nobel Park along with students from programmes such as cognitive semiotics, linguistics and English.

The students at Cognitive Science arrange their own Friday bar on selected Fridays. Furthermore, a group of students have started The Neural Network, an e-newsletter for students and others with an interest in cognitive science. 

Studying abroad

While studying Cognitive Science, you have the option of taking a semester abroad, which allows you to develop your language skills while gaining a new perspective on your subject, for example by studying artificial intelligence or communication. During the last year of your bachelor's programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

Commencement of studies

Your time at Aarhus University will begin with an introductory week in week 35 (the last week of August). During this week, you will get an introduction to IT systems, exam forms and degree programme structure and opportunities as well as meeting your teachers. You can read more about your commencement of studies and the introductory week here. On this page, you will also find tips and good advice for new students at Aarhus University.

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Your career opportunities as graduate of the BSc programme depend on what supplementary subjects you take as well as what Master’s degree programme you choose later on.

The broad, interdisciplinary nature of the programme along with its focus on concrete data collection and analysis skills means that graduates of the programme are interesting to prospective employers from a variety of sectors, including IT, product design and neuroscience research.

As a graduate of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Cognitive Science, you understand how the brain works, which gives you a unique understanding of how human beings interpret and relate to objects in their world, how they are affected by social situations and how they make decisions. This prepares you for a career in design or the analysis of consumer behaviour and markets. As a cognitive scientist, you also understand how data systems work, and you acquire concrete skills in computer programming which qualify you to work with information technology. On the Cognitive Science programme, you also learn to design experiments and process large data sets. This gives you skills in advanced data analysis and modelling.

Supplementary subjects

In the last year of the Bachelor’s degree programme, you must choose a supplementary subject. You have the opportunity to choose a wide variety of subject, such as:

  • Contemporary Communication in English
  • Social Minds
  • Cultural Data Science
  • Critical Data Studies

Master’s degree programmes

After completing the Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science, you are qualified for admission to many different Master’s degree programmes. However, you should be aware that admission to some programmes requires specific supplementary subjects. Here are some of the options: 

  • The Master’s degree in Cognitive Science, where you develop a theoretical understanding of the human brain and human cognitive function, and learn how to use this understanding to solve real world problems.
  • The Master’s degree programme in neuroscience and neuroimaging (Beijing), where you learn to combine several scientific fields to conduct interdisciplinary research on the brain.