*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Technical Writers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
In most cases, a Bachelors in Cognitive Science degree requires 120 credits. As a full-time student, you can complete 30 credits per year, meaning you would earn your degree over the course of four years. If you are a motivated student, there are a few options available to help you earn your degree sooner.
Some schools have accelerated Cognitive Science programs that put students on the fast track to earning their degree. This can reduce the four-year time frame by up to 30%. If an accelerated program is too much to handle, you may be able to benefit from year-round learning. Year-round learning is continuous schooling all year long, with no summer break. This type of education allows you to finish your degree earlier and get started in your career faster. If you took AP courses in high school, you may be able to count them toward your college credits, which can in turn, reduce your time and the costs of schooling.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
In general, you can begin your career as a computer resource specialist, legal research analyst, marketing assistant or research technician by earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Cognitive Science, but in many cases for the position you are seeking you may need to obtain a master's degree in Cognitive Science. Furthermore, there are numerous specializations and subfields associated with a major in Cognitive Science. You will want to research the college or university to determine if they have the major you are considering.
This is a very important question to ask yourself. Your major should play a big part in the schools you are considering. Not every college may offer the major of your choice, so doing your homework is the first step of the selection process.
Before you declare a major in Cognitive Science, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you’re looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelor's (B.S. or B.A.) degree in Cognitive Science, you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master’s degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Some of the coursework you will find in a typical Cognitive Science degree are:
These days fewer and fewer students graduate in four years. In fact, the government now sets the bar at a six-year term from starting a degree to graduation. Accredited programs in Cognitive Science, on the other hand, are more likely to graduate in 4-5 years. That is because those programs are more competitive, and studies have shown that students in highly competitive programs have more success with graduating in four years (or less.) Keep it mind there are also other determining factors that play a role in how long it takes to graduate like full time vs part time, funding for college, working at the same time (can potentially decrease how many credit hours you can take) etc. A good goal to shoot for is to graduate within 4 to 6 years.
Your school's accreditation is an important aspect of getting your B.S. in Cognitive Science degree. The two most common forms of accreditation are regional and national.
Regional accreditation is the most recognized and most prestigious available. Because of this label, these colleges often have higher tuition and have more competitive admission standards. Regional accreditation accounts for over 85% of colleges across the United States. There are 6 different regions, including:
MSA (Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools)
NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges)
NCA (North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
NAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission)
SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)
WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges)
National accreditation is less common. National accreditation agencies oversee the accreditation process for career, vocational, and trade schools across the United States. As a result, these schools tend to be less expensive, require less general coursework, and feature a more practical, career-oriented curriculum. Because it is less structured, schools are only reviewed every 3-5 years to ensure that they still meet accreditation requirements.
Accreditation is an important part of the selection process. It adds value to a B.S. in Cognitive Science degree by offering wider acceptance than degrees from non-accredited schools receive. Accreditation ensures employers and other reviewers of your educational background that you have a quality education in Cognitive Science. It informs potential employers that the graduate has the expected level of education and knowledge to perform work in today’s high-paced, technology-driven environments.
The Department of Education designates regional and national accreditation agencies. It is also through this department that educational loans and grants are provided to college students. The federal policy is to limit student loans to schools and colleges with acceptable accreditation. Which means that, if your school isn’t accredited, you will likely not be eligible to receive any financial aid. For many students, accreditation is key to getting funds to pay for the substantial costs of a degree in Cognitive Science.
The cost will depend on several factors. Are you pursuing your B.S. in Cognitive Science degree online or in a traditional setting? If you attend your courses on campus, you will also need to pay for food, room and board, and other fees. This can increase the cost of your Cognitive Science education significantly unless you have a plan in place to keep these costs low. If you attend a public, state school, it will depend on whether or not you are a resident. In-state students usually pay much lower rates than out-of-state students. However, this can be overcome by attending classes online, as most institutions charge in-state rates for all online courses. Either way, you need to research the costs for each Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science program you are considering applying to, as each institution will have their own rates.
If your university offers career and/or placement services, you’ll be able to take advantage of both as a student or graduate. You can receive career counseling, career assessments, and resume reviews, where you’ll learn how to spruce your resume up. It is important to research if your potential college has post career placement assistance. This demonstrates that the college or university Cognitive Science program is with you from start to finish.