Osnabrück University: Cognitive Science (english version) – Bachelor / Master of Science

We seek to understand and comprehend the human mind and brain in as many different ways as possible. In other words, we examine them from a philosophical perspective, a psychological perspective and a biological perspective. We seek to understand language and all aspects of human cognition, naturally considering everything at a very technical level. For example, we engage in sleep research as well as conducting studies to determine which ethical decisions would have to be taken in self-propelled cars or how various drugs affect the brain and human perception. We seek to understand how human language develops – after all, language is unique to humans, setting us apart from the rest of the animal world. The first two semesters involve taking basic subjects, offering insights into all areas of the discipline. In semesters three, four and five, timetables may differ greatly from student to student. Whereas one student may pursue a path heavily weighted towards biology and psychology, another might decide to focus exclusively on artificial intelligence and programming tasks or courses. All students are free to choose their own individual path, the program is not at all regimented. I believe that many underestimate the elements of computer science and mathematics in our degree program. There is a tendency to believe that it is a soft alternative to psychology or biopsychology programs, which is not the case. Osnabrück’s Institute of Cognitive Science was one of the first of its kind in Germany, and is the largest such institute in the country. What I really appreciated was the fact that everything is in English, it’s truly international. Particularly in the case of the Master’s program, which attracts many people from all over the world, from lots of different countries. Throughout the year, a large number of events are held, organized by students. Our Student Representative Committee is very well organized, we go canoeing together. There’s a summer party as well as a big Christmas celebration. And you have a lot of contact to senior students, particularly because the program is not highly regimented. Boundaries between semesters are blurred, you’ll encounter students from all countries and of every age at some stage of the program. In fact, almost all Bachelor students go on to take a Master’s. Some stay here and take a Master’s degree in Cognitive Science. Above all, however, the broad, solid basis you get in the Cognitive Science program will mean that you have a whole host of Master’s programs to choose from. Some students have established their own companies and are now self-employed. Others are engaged in research at major universities or at establishments such as the Max Planck Institute. Otherwise, it is mainly large tech companies in the private sector that are renowned for their interest in recruiting students from the field of Cognitive Science, companies such as Volkswagen, Microsoft, IBM and Google.

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