BS in Cognitive Science of Language

Speech and Hearing students sitting in a classroom.

The Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science of Language (CogSci-Language) is a cutting-edge degree program offered by the George Washington University Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Cognitive science of language — also known as psycholinguistics — is the study of the interplay between language and the psychological/brain processes supporting it. CogSci-Language majors learn to use scientific thinking and research skills to generate hypotheses and test predictions about communication and language use, ranging from social habits (including social media) to individual differences in communication and language impairments.

Questions about the major or requirements? Please contact Francys Subiaul.



Cornerstones of the Program

Majors will acquire knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate a fundamental aspect of cultural learning: How we acquire, perceive and produce linguistic and non-verbal forms of communication to understand each other.

  • Linguistics: The features that distinguish language from other modes of communication
  • Social Cognition: How we understand others and make ourselves understood
  • Language Processing: The mechanisms that make communicative signals meaningful
  • Neuroscience: How language is produced and perceived by the brain
  • Communication Disorders: The causes and treatments for communication breakdowns
  • Development: How communication skills vary and are learned 

Related Fields

  • Biology
  • Psychology and Human Development
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Philosophy


Real-World Applications

Graduates will have a desirable set of highly marketable scientific and research skills, including research methods, data analysis/processing and science communication. Majors also gain knowledge in linguistics, neurosciences, psycholinguistics and communication disorders. 

This curriculum combines well with GW’s data science minor and digital technology certificate, opening up many career paths in science and data technology.

Example Career Paths

  • MS and PhD programs in speech, language and hearing sciences, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience and/or biology
  • Clinical programs in medicine, speech-language pathology, public health, nursing and clinical psychology
  • Industries including social media companies, hospitals, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence


Faculty Expertise

The Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences faculty members have a range of multidisciplinary expertise that falls broadly under the cognitive, psycholinguistic and brain sciences. In addition to GW faculty members, the program relies on numerous clinical educators with expertise in communication disorders and differences.

Faculty by Research Area


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

Coursework for the major:

Introductory STEM courses
Biological sciences
The following two courses (8 credits):
BISC 1111Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules
BISC 1112Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms
One or both of the following courses (3 or 6 credits):
MATH 1231Single-Variable Calculus I
MATH 1232Single-Variable Calculus II
Physical sciences
Two courses (8 credits), one in Chemistry (CHEM) and one in Physics (PHYS), selected from the following:
CHEM 1111General Chemistry I
CHEM 1112General Chemistry II
PHYS 1011General Physics I
PHYS 1012General Physics II
PHYS 1021University Physics I
PHYS 1022University Physics II
PHYS 1025University Physics I with Biological Applications
PHYS 1026University Physics II with Biological Applications
Major requirements
Quantitative methods
One or two courses (3 or 6 credits) selected from the following:
CSCI 1012Introduction to Programming with Python
DATS 2102Data Visualization for Data Science
DATS 2103Data Mining for Data Science
DATS 2104Data Warehousing for Data Science
STAT 1053Introduction to Statistics in Social Science
or STAT 1127 Statistics for the Biological Sciences
Gateway courses
The following six courses (18 credits):
ANTH 1004Language in Culture and Society
or SLHS 1071 Foundations of Human Communication
or SLHS 1071W Foundations of Human Communication
DATS 1001Data Science for All
SLHS 2101Research Methods
SLHS 2105Anatomy and Physiology for Speech, Language, and Hearing
SLHS 2107Acoustics
SLHS 2106Neural Substrates of Speech, Language, and Hearing
The following four courses (11 credits):
SLHS 2104WSpeech and Language Disorders
SLHS 3108Introduction to Audiology
SLHS 3131Language Acquisition and Development
SLHS 3136Phonetics
Cognitive neuroscience
One to three courses (3 to 9 credits) selected from the following:
ANTH 3413Evolution of the Human Brain
PSYC 2015Biological Psychology
PSYC 3118Neuropsychology
PSYC 3122The Cognitive Neuroscience
SLHS 3116Brain and Language
Cognitive science
One or two courses (3 or 6 credits) selected from the following:
ANTH 3601Language, Culture, and Cognition
PHIL 2045Introduction to Logic
PSYC 2014Cognitive Psychology
SLHS 1072Culturally Responsive Practices in Human Communication.
SLHS 1084Perspectives in Deaf Culture
SLHS 2135Language: Structure, Meaning, and Use
SLHS 3117Hearing and Perception
SLHS 3133Autism
Advanced electives
One or two courses (3 or 6 credits) selected from the following:
ANTH 3603Psycholinguistics
or LING 3603 Psycholinguistics
or SLHS 3603 Psycholinguistics
PHIL 3121Symbolic Logic
PSYC 3119Cognitive Science in the District
SLHS 3109Auditory Learning and Aural Rehabilitation
Advanced lab or clinical experience
One course (3 credits) selected from the following:
ANTH 3602Ethnographic Analysis of Speech
ANTH 3995Undergraduate Research
PSYC 4106WResearch Lab in Sensation and Perception
PSYC 4107WResearch Lab in Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 4591Independent Research
SLHS 4119Principles and Methods in Speech-Language Pathology
SLHS 4196Independent Study
Capstone seminar (3 credits)
SLHS 4118WSenior Research Seminar in Communication Sciences and Disorders