The training program

1. Why choose Cogmaster?
2. Students profiles
3. Pedagogical objectives
4. Life after Cogmaster

1. Why choose Cogmaster?

CogMaster provides a rather unique training opportunity in Cognitive Science in Europe. It rests on a very successful 20 years teaching experience within the Paris research community, which stabilized in an integrative training program open to students with very diverse scientific backgrounds. It draws resources from some of the best Parisian universities and deploys 1100 hours of teaching provided by the best specialist of the field in France. It provides a hands-on research training program through direct immersion into some of 40 internationaly recognized research teams in the Paris area. Cogmaster training rests on five principles:

  1. Strong mono-disciplinary foundation. Our program reinforces the teaching in the student's main disciplinary sector through a selection of the courses provided by our 4 partners which are mostly relevant to cognitive science.
  2. Strong methodological training. We provide courses in some of the basic methodological and conceptual tools used in cognitive science (experimental design, statistics, brain imagery methodologies, programming,  etc.).
  3. Introduction to interdisciplinary integration. We provide in the second year several  interdisciplinary tutorials on research questions where multidisciplinary integration has taken place or is currently emerging.
  4. Direct immersion in research. Second year students are integrated in a research team throughout the year. First year students can conduct short or long internships in the labs. Students are trained to do oral and written scientific reports.
  5. Flexibility. Each student is assigned a personal tutor who helps with selecting among the large offer of monodisciplinary and interdisciplinary courses which are available through the Master and it's partners, and design the particular cursus optimal for his or her scientific project. 
Our Masters in Cognitive Science also offers a unique way to acquire an experience with international collaborative research. Students can conduct their internships in one of our partner universities abroad, in connection with a research lab in Paris.

>> See our posters (in English and in French) and leaflet.

2. Students profiles

The Master's Program is intended for a small number of very motivated and dedicated students with a background from any of the foundational field of Cognitive Science (Psychology, Biology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Computer Science). It is also open to medical students, and students from competitive-entrance colleges or grandes écoles. These students are singled out on the basis of their high motivation, interest in the field, outstanding intellectual and working abilities, and educational achievement.

What we expect from our students is a great capacity for assimilation and personal involvement, so that he or she can soon catch up in the fields he or she has not studied before. The student has to be dedicated to basic research objectives and intellectual orientation: attention to details, rigor, skepticism, but also curiosity, independence, and creativity. Good oral and writing as well as social skills are also very important.

3. Pedagogical objectives

The aim of our Master's Program is not to train generalists that will produce broad or overaching discourses about cognitive science, but rather, sharp scientists with a very strong background on one of the technical domain of cognitive science.

To achieve this aim, the Masters is organised as follows:

In the first year (M1), basic courses, at least half of them and up to 75% in the Major discipline of the students, and the rest, intensive introduction to basic tools and concepts of the other disciplines in Cognitive Science. We recognize 5 Majors, and the basic teaching takes place in one of the Parisian universities associated with our Program :

The teaching is completed by short internships in one of the lab associated with the Program. 

At the end of this year, students are expected to have developped their training in their major disipline so that to be competitive with students who remained in this discipline at the equivalent level. In addition, they are expected to have acquired the basic concepts and understand the methodological tools of one or two other disciplines as they are put to use in cognitive science investigations. Finally, they are supposed to understand enough of the basic issues in cognitive science as to read papers of general interest in this area and put together a coherent research project for the second year.

In the second year (M2), the student is introduced with some of the current research topics in Cognitive science, and conducts an autonomous research work in one of the laboratories of the Program. Instead of trying to cover every existing research direction within Cognitive Science, we selected a small number of areas where the student will find support, because it is particularly well studied, in one of the internationally competitive research lab of the Program. The restrictions in our program are fortunately made up for by our network of partners all over Europe, which offer complementary courses in fields of study we left aside.

Thus we have chosen to restrict our field of competences according to the main assets of the laboratories involved in our program, and divided them into 5 main themes:

Covering the Advanced courses, these themes enable us to offer truly multidisciplinary credits (UE, Unités d’Enseignement) in which 3 or sometimes 4 different methodological approaches may investigate the same subject of study.

At the end of the year, students are expected to be able to conduct an autonomous piece of research in cognitive science. This include the ability to formulate research questions, relate them to published litterature, establish an approach (experimental or theoretical) to solve the question, analyse the obtained data and relate it to published work. They should also be able to write a publication-quality scientific report of their work and defend it clearly and consisely in public.

4. Life after Cogmaster

One of the principal aim of the Masters is to train future PHDs students who envision a researcher or teaching carrier in Cognitive Science. Its very high teaching and training standards and international network give the student very good chances to eventually find an academic job in the highly competitive market of university positions in Europe and in the world. The student should be warned however that the job market in Cognitive Science in Europe is not very large, and that the organisation of academic systems into separate traditional disciplines is still a reality.

Students interesting in continuing at the PHD level should be warned that our program does not provide grants or fellowship for PHD. There are basically two channels to obtain such a fellowship. The first one is the direct application of students to funding agencies, associations, embassies, industries or foundations. The second one is through the research team where the students might be conducting his or her PHD which has its own connections to Ecoles Doctorales or funding agencies. In any event, students interested in continuing with a PHD are urged to look diligently for these resources as soon as they enter the Master program.

Of course, our program is not exclusively aimed at the academia. A hands-on initiation in basic research in some of the leading laboratories in Cognitive Science can be an asset in a number of non-academic areas, ranging from applied research in the private sector (robotics, human-computer interface, learning technologies), bio-medical research, medical imagery and health services (reeducation). It should be clear however that the connections between basic research in Cognitive Science and applications in the public or private sectors is not well developped in Europe, although the dynamics of this discipline is such that this interface will grow in the future and generate many job opportunities.

>> Consult After Cogmaster page.
>> To look at what ex-students of CogMaster are doing, follow the link Alumni.