The MSc program in Cognitive Systems combines an academic approach with opportunities for scientific investigation of theoretical and computational modeling of cognitive processes, the experimental investigation of different cognitive/behavioral functions and their evaluation, as well as the application of methods and techniques in various technical areas. It provides an ideal foundation of theoretical and methodological knowledge to enable students to keep pace in a dynamic field that is, and will continue to be, characterised by constant development and change.
The four-semester program is divided into four subjects - Basic, Interdisciplinary, Special and Applied - and is completed by the Master's Thesis. The table below shows a possible structure of the division of the courses in the different semesters (colors designate the four subjects). The different subjects comprise different modules, of which those in Basic and Interdisciplinary Subject are mandatory, the others are selectable from different offerings.
The compulsory courses (Basic and Interdisciplinary Subject) include introductions to the research area of Cognitive Systems and their interdisciplinary facets, essential subject-specific basic courses as an introduction for students with a bachelor's degree from other disciplines, as well as theoretical and practical basics for modelling processes of cognitive systems. In addition, a research-oriented colloquium is offered, in which invited speakers report on the latest developments in various aspects of the subject area and show students at an early stage the possibilities of choosing a perspective focus, as well as enabling them to make contact with scientists from this subject area. The modules of the Special and the Applied Subject are essentially freely selectable, whereby rules of the selection of offers from different areas must be kept. The rules of choice for the elective modules are defined in the study and examination regulations (Studien- und Prüfungsordnung). The modules in the Special Subject bundle lecture and seminar offers for the further deepening of methodical contents and specialization in the context of Cognitive Systems. The modules in the Applied Subject are all organized as projects and thus offer the opportunity for various practical work in close cooperation with the scientific institutions supervising the study program. For further details, please take a look at the Study Plan Cognitive Systems (Study and Exam Regulations 2017).
For their master's theses, students work in interdisciplinary research groups which support the course program of Cognitive Systems. In addition, such theses can also be carried out at external institutions, as long as the topic in question is of sufficient content for the field of cognitive systems. For this purpose, a formal academic supervisor from the Master's program is to be consulted, who supervises the topic and accompanies its content.
The MSc program in Cognitive Systems at Ulm University provides a unique study and research environment with Computer Science and Psychology in one faculty. We can, therefore, offer our students unique combinations of subjects and interdisciplinary courses being taught by experts in the field. The content of these courses is initially based on the established foundations of the respective subjects and also provides in-depth information on the latest scientific research and technological developments in cognitive systems. Students acquire the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that enable them to investigate cognitive systems along different directions of research and application. Drawing on their experience from the required introductory – basic and interdisciplinary – coursework, special and applied coursework as well as research-oriented specialisation modules, students acquire a solid grasp of the merits and limitations of current methodologies and where these are best applied. They are familiar with the most important theoretical and methodological principles of the subjects of the technical discipline which is complementary to their prior training: for students with a bachelor degree in psychology or related fields we provide an introduction to the fundamentals of computer science; for students with a bachelor degree in computer science, media informatics, a natural science or technical field we provide an introduction to the general psychology and experiment design. Students also understand the fundamental concepts of cognitive systems, their underlying computational mechanisms, and get an overview of different approaches on formal modeling to investigate functions of cognitive systems. For complete information on the course objectives and a list of the individual modules, please refer to the official program of study and examination regulations (Studien- und Prüfungsordnung).
Graduates are able to, e.g.,
- apply the problem-solving strategies they have learned to new situations and to develop these strategies further;
- acquire new knowledge and skills independently;
- collect and analyse relevant information and derive factually and scientifically validated judgements from it;
- formulate scientific positions and solutions and defend these with justified arguments.
Overall, the graduates will be able to apply their expertise skills in their own scientific research or in innovative areas of research and development in industry.
Students are trained in reading technical literature, communicating orally and in writing, as well as making scientific presentations. The program's interdisciplinary projects and applied coursework requires students to work in teams, become familiar with group dynamics and build strategies for maintaining a productive work environment. The MSc Cognitive Systems program provides an international study and education environment with students from numerous countries worldwide in an English-language study program.
The core of the Cognitive Systems program is characterized by its focus on system functions of cognitive mechanisms which require a formal description. For that reason, applicants should have a solid mathematical background (analysis, algebra, statistics) and be prepared to extend their knowledge and skills broadly. If you are unsure about the required knowledge level, we recommend to visit the website www.ombplus.de. You find the online course OMB+ that is intended to refresh the high school level mathematics knowledge as it is expected from German applicants.
Applicants will benefit from having practical experience in programming with some higher-level programming language. We do offer an introduction to computer science for applicants with non-computer science background which provides an overview of the scientific field of computer science as a structural and engineering scientific discipline. It introduces basic algorithmic and computational principles which are realized in programming languages as well.