Career Opportunities

What Can Cognitive Science Students Do After Graduation?

After graduation you can continue your education at the post-graduate level, or you can enter the work force. However, the Cognitive Science Program at Villanova began operation in the fall of 2000 and is too new to have a history indicating what its students do after graduation. The information below is compiled from information published by other institutions that have had programs for a longer period of time.

Post-Graduate Education:

If you want to pursue a graduate degree, your options will depend, in part, on what major you select to accompany your cognitive science concentration (or minor) and what other courses you take. However, many leading universities have graduate programs in cognitive science. Furthermore, depending on your major, you may be qualified to pursue graduate work in one or more of the disciplines that contribute to cognitive science. Finally, cognitive science programs at other institutions report students going on to medical, law, and business schools.

Entering the Work Force and Possible Careers:

The specific jobs for which you may qualify after studying cognitive science again will depend, in part, on what major you select and what courses you take. However, cognitive science students from other institutions have begun careers related to psychology, artificial intelligence, robotics, telecommunications, medical analysis, data representation and retrieval, information and multimedia technology, education, and scientific research. Cognitive science skills also are applicable to human-factors psychology/engineering and human-computer interaction, both of which involve designing products so that they can by used easily by people. Still other options include marketing, advertising, human performance testing, technical writing, and computer programming.

Although cognitive science students may have specific skills related to the jobs listed above, there are many other positions for which they also should be able to compete successfully. Employers in today's world often do not expect new employees to come pre-trained for the job they will be filling. Rather, they are looking for more general characteristics in their prospective employees. Cognitive science students will share some of the qualities that employers want in graduates from liberal arts and sciences programs, such as skills in oral and written communication, interpersonal interaction, and teamwork. However, cognitive science students may be at a distinct advantage in at least two ways. First, the interdisciplinary nature of their training demonstrates flexibility and versatility in the ability to learn, a characteristic that today's employers value highly. Second, cognitive science students typically have computer skills and training in analysis and computation, both of which are becoming increasingly important and desirable to employers as we move into the twenty-first century.