Can I double-major in cognitive science and _________?

Yes, some students do end up double-majoring in cognitive science and other disciplines – both related disciplines (e.g. Philosophy) and mostly-unrelated disciplines (e.g. Art). However:

  • Keep in mind that double majors (of any variety) must always complete two distinct senior projects, except in exceptional circumstances (when a single project is truly interdisciplinary and is twice as involved as usual, which is vanishingly rare). This is a significant constraint, since I have never met a student who overestimated the amount of time and work that their senior project would require! As a result, many senior double-majors end up dropping one or the other at the last minute – often with some regrets (e.g. having taken courses in the dropped major that they otherwise wouldn’t have pursued).
  • Also keep in mind that there are constraints built into the regulations of Yale College on how many courses can overlap between two majors. To quote these regulations:

Each major must be completed independently of the other, with no more than two term courses overlapping. Prerequisites in either major are not considered to be overlapping courses. Other than such prerequisites, all courses taken in a major – including those taken in excess of the minimum requirements of the major – are counted in the consideration of overlapping courses unless such courses are in excess of the minimum requirements for both majors.

  • Ask yourself carefully why you want to double major. What advantages will that bring? Keep in mind that in most departments you’re completely free to take as many courses as you wish without being a major. Also keep in mind that a double-major won’t necessarily help you with your career after Yale: many jobs (or graduate schools) will care only about your degree as a whole, and what specific courses you’ve taken. (There are exceptions to this, though; if you have questions about this, come talk to the DUS!)
  • Note that it will typically not be possible to add Cognitive Science as a second major later in your undergraduate career. As such, all interested students should be sure to apply toward the end of the fall semester of their sophomore year.