Cognitive Systems

Ph.D. in Linguistics – Cognitive Systems Stream

The Cognitive Systems (COGS) stream is a separate set of degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Linguistics, which is designed for students interested in:

  • studying language-related questions that fall outside of the current emphases on formal linguistic and/or phonetic analysis, including areas of speech technology, language and health, language and society/culture, communication, neuroscience, and development.
  • applying formal analytic techniques developed within linguistics to other domains such as computer science, music, theatre or art.


The COGS stream is Ph.D. only. Students can be admitted into the stream directly upon admission into the Ph.D. program. Alternatively, students who enter the M.A. program and petition to transfer to the Ph.D. program can be admitted into the COGS stream upon transferring. (See the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for requirements for M.A. to Ph.D. transfers, and for the relevant forms.) In either case, the student should coordinate their admission to the COGS stream with the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Admissions coordinator and a faculty member willing to supervise the doctoral research. Prospective students should contact a representative of the program prior to admission in order to facilitate alignment with a potential research supervisor.

With respect to Linguistics courses, the core requirements for the COGS stream are largely identical to those for the M.A. in Linguistics. At present these include courses in phonetics (LING 508), phonology (LING 510), semantics (LING 525), and syntax (LING 520), one semester of Field Methods (LING 531), one of the year-long Advanced Research seminars (two 3-credit sections of LING 530), and one language requirement.

Upon admission to the COGS PhD stream, each student and his or her supervisory committee will develop a curriculum of additional courses, including at least one methodology course related to the student’s research (e.g., LING 518, statistics, linear algebra, counterpoint, anatomy and physiology, etc.), additional advanced research seminars within (LING 530) or outside of linguistics, and whatever undergraduate linguistics and COGS courses (e.g., COGS 303) are deemed necessary to prepare the student for dissertation research.

In order to advance to Ph.D. candidacy, students must complete two Qualifying Papers, finalize selection of the dissertation committee, and submit a dissertation prospectus.

For more information on the COGS programs, please visit the UBC Cognitive Systems website at