The primary area of study is accomplished through the home department. Students are expected to remain in good academic standing and complete the requirements of their home departments. Students must satisfy all the requirements for the Ph.D. imposed by their home department, unless the home department choose to offer Program students an alternative. Some departments have chosen to allow Program students to use a different set of department requirements than other Ph.D. students in the same department, but this prerogative rests with the home department.
All students in the program must have a Secondary Area of Specialization which is distinct from their main research area.
The student submits a plan and the plan is reviewed by the Instructional Advisory Committee. The committee approves, disapproves, or modifies the plan. (In reality it is only reviewed carefully by two advisors and the director. In routine cases, the remainder of the advisors are simply given a chance to object if they think there is any serious problem with the plan.)
The Secondary Area need not be, and typically is not, a second department, but is a more focused area and one that typically includes work in more than one department. In order to ensure that this requirement is truly interdisciplinary, all the work in the Secondary Area will be outside of the student's home department. The only firm requirement is that the plan for the Secondary Area be approved by the Instructional Advisory Committee. The goal is to allow students as much flexibility as possible in setting up a secondary plan.
If a secondary area consists entirely of courses, then the guidelines are that it will typically consists of 6 or more quarter graduate courses. There is no policy on whether the courses should be taken for a grade or not, but it will be assumed that the courses are taken for a grade unless the plan says otherwise and gives some justification for taking the course S/U.
Student in the Program are required to enroll for credit in six quarters of Cognitive Science 200. This need not be for a grade; in fact, Cognitive Science 200 usually is offered S/U only. In some case other courses may be substituted for up to two quarters of Cognitive Science 200. Check with the Cognitive Science Office for details.