Guidelines for Study Abroad in Cognitive Science

We value the experience of study abroad. If you are in no urgent need for cognitive science credits while overseas, you should consider taking full advantage of the opportunity to study, and live, in another country: take interesting electives, including those that may satisfy general college requirements.

If you are interested in obtaining credits for the major/minor while abroad, you should follow the following steps when you take an international university into consideration.

(a) Check the list of pre-approved University courses. If a class has been pre-approved (e.g., by precedent) as a Penn equivalent — Department XXXX and course YYY — and the Penn class XXXX YYY is on our list of Cognitive Science classes here, you are all set. Note that “cog study abroad credit” given by the PSYC department generally does not count towards COGS program concentration!

Simply sign up for it, submit it to XCAT, which will be transferred as XXXX YYY. When it shows up on your worksheet, which may take a little while passing through the system, we will be able to use it toward the Major/Minor. Remember: As noted on our main page, it is possible that a class from a concentration different from your own may still count toward your concentration; a meeting with, or a simple email confirmation from, the Program Director or Associate Director will suffice.

(b) If you believe that a University class is appropriate for Cognitive Science, but the class has not been pre-approved as a Penn equivalent (not covered by step (a) above), you need to submit a “New external credit request” on XCAT.┬áIn general, a detailed syllabus is necessary, because a short course description usually does not provide sufficient information to make a decision about its appropriateness.

Since the Program Director and Associate Director only control transfer credit for courses with rostered under COGS, e.g., COGS 1001, new requests generally need to be sent to LING, PSYCH, NRSC, or whatever department/program runs the course for which you seek transfer credit. Sometimes a specific Penn class in those departments/programs can be matched, while other times an abroad free elective for that department/program will be assigned. This way, the class in question is given an opportunity to become a pre-approved class by precedent for the convenience of future students. Once the class is approved and appears on the worksheet, we will be able to use it for your major.

In the rare case where an appropriate class cannot find a suitable home Department/Program at Penn, the student can submit to the Cognitive Science Program directly for the class to be approved as COGS 300 (free elective). Once the class credit has worked through the system and appears on your worksheet, we will be able to use it for your major.

(c) When you apply to study abroad on Passport, your major advisor (Drs Yang or Richie) will have to approve your study abroad plan. Please include as much information as possible about what courses you wish to take abroad, including whether there are XCAT precedents for these courses.

The email address for Cognitive Science advising is: or