About

Presentation

  • An interdisciplinary and collaborative master’s program in Cognitive Science, taught in English. We offer a very broad interdisciplinary openness and a fundamentally collaborative spirit, bringing together professors, researchers and students from very different backgrounds, united by common research questions. The big majority of courses are in English (except otherwise stated).
  • A master’s program structured around a unified core curriculum complemented by robust disciplinary tracks. To maintain a well-balanced and foundationally sound interdisciplinary education, Cog-SUP is organized into six tracks: (1) psychology, (2) philosophy, (3) computational linguistics, (4) neuroscience, (5) computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence, (6) cognitive science and society. These tracks ensure the acquisition of genuine expertise in the concepts, methods, and techniques specific to each discipline, enhancing the clarity of skills associated with the diploma. The program establishes a common cultural foundation from the first year (M1) through a core curriculum and introductory courses to the different disciplines. In the second year (M2), the majority of courses are fully interdisciplinary and open to students from all tracks. Our goal is to cultivate cognitivists equipped with both robust disciplinary expertise and a broad interdisciplinary culture, essential elements for fostering meaningful collaboration across disciplines.
  • A master’s degree focused on field experience. In all tracks, a field placement (lab or other) is compulsory already during the M1 year. Half of M2 validation is based on a long internship that takes up the entire second semester. Internships can take place in any laboratory of your choice, whatever its affiliation. The only prerequisites are that the internship be relevant to cognitive science themes, and that the host laboratory be a reliable partner. The same applies to internships in the private sector or in government agencies. This site [link] lists a number of internship opportunities common to the parisian Masters programs in cognitive science.
  • Innovative teaching methods, new contents addressing contemporary issues. Cognitive science and educational science have widely demonstrated the positive effects of active pedagogies on learning. We use innovative teaching methods such as flipped classrooms or problem-based and project-based learning. In terms of content, cog-SUP also provides a unique offering of courses, including classic themes as well as new ones that are not available elsewhere in France. Examples include compulsory multidisciplinary courses in the ethics of cognition in M1, and computational psychiatry, among others.
  • A master program attentive to the human, ecological, societal and ethical issues of cognitive science: Our understanding of human and animal cognition, as well as the development of artificial intelligence, are experiencing a boom that has no precedent in the history of humanity. Cognitive science plays a central role in this development. Society’s expectations of cognitive science are therefore very high, and in return imply great responsibilities. Our curriculum addresses current major issues in cognitive science on ecological transition, mental health, education, artificial intelligence, etc., while providing bases for ethical reflection. Our goal is to train researchers and cognitivists aware of their potential but also of their responsibilities and limits, and attentive to human values.
  • A master that promotes scientific excellence within a French open university model: Université Paris Cité and Sorbonne Université are two major universities in Paris. These universities are heirs to a rich tradition in core disciplines of cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence… with prestigious pioneers of these disciplines such as Jean-Martin Charcot, Paul Broca, Alfred Binet, and, more recently, Yann LeCun. cog-SUP is in keeping with the spirit of French universities, which aims to allow all those who wish to do so and who demonstrate their academic qualities to access the best training from the best specialists in the field.

Cognitive sciences

Cognitive sciences have emerged from the convergence of several disciplines around a common question: what mechanisms underlie the emergence of major mental functions such as perception, attention, memory, learning, reasoning, emotions, motor skills, language, communication, consciousness, etc.? To address these questions, cognitive sciences integrate different levels of explanation by simultaneously studying the formal and algorithmic properties of these mental functions, the psychological mechanisms that underlie them, and the biological mechanisms that make them possible (from genes to circuits and areas in the nervous system), which can be compared with simulations of these functions in artificial systems.

Cognitive sciences also seek to understand the cognitive similarities and differences between humans and other animal species, the influence of cultural variations on human cognition, the development of cognitive functions in infants or young children, and their impairment in certain neurological, psychiatric, or developmental pathologies.

Cognitive sciences make use of theories, concepts, tools, and methods from diverse disciplines such as experimental psychology, ethology, neuroscience, humanities and social sciences, anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. One central hypothesis in cognitive sciences is that mental functions can be described as information processing processes. This hypothesis allows deploying the theoretical arsenal of disciplines like mathematics, computer science, and statistical physics, as well as methods such as statistical learning (machine learning), Bayesian inference, or deep learning, to develop explicit and testable theories of these mental functions.

Formalized in the 1950s, cognitive sciences have experienced a spectacular development that now positions them as a central player in understanding who we are, from the scale of neurons to the scale of society.

See the Relay of Information on Cognitive Sciences (RISC): a very rich source of information on cognitive sciences in France. Finally, for bibliographic suggestions, you can refer to our Bibliography of Cognitive Sciences.

 

Opportunities

cog-SUP is primarily a research-oriented program that prepares students for entry into a Ph.D. program but also provides numerous other career opportunities. Its high teaching standards and integration into international research enable students to be well-equipped for future positions in academic or industrial research, whether in the public or private sector, and across a wide range of institutions and companies.

cog-SUP also opens doors to other burgeoning career paths. Cognitive science skills are increasingly sought after in such diverse fields as artificial intelligence or public policies.

 

History

cog-SUP is one of the two heirs of the Cogmaster (2004-2025), itself a descendant of the DEA of Cognitive Science (1987-2004). The other heir is the Master’s program in Cognitive Science of ENS-PSL and EHESS.

In 1987, under the leadership of Michel Imbert, professor of neuroscience at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC; now called Sorbonne Université) and director of studies at EHESS, the Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA) of Cognitive Science was born. Under the supervision of UPMC, EHESS, ENS and Ecole Polytechnique, the DEA has trained until 2004 several generations of researchers, university professors and engineers currently active in France and abroad in scientific research or industrial technological development, in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence.

In 2004, following the reform of university degrees in Europe resulting in the division of License-Master-Doctorate shared at the European level, the DEA disappeared to make way for the birth of the Cogmaster, under the supervision of ENS-PSL, EHESS and Université Paris Cité. It is currently guiding its last year of M2 students in 2024-2025, before stopping and giving way to the two new master’s programs. Many members of the cog-SUP pedagogical team played important roles in the Cogmaster’s pedagogical council, and several participated to its direction.

In 2024, despite the overwhelming wish of colleagues (84%) to stay together, institutional pressures pushed for a split, giving birth in parallel to the two descendants of the Cogmaster. cog-SUP is thus the result of the collaboration of the colleagues of Université Paris Cité and Sorbonne Université, with contributions from colleagues at EHESS.

The 2024-2025 academic year is a year of transition, with a first class of M1 students recruited separately by the two new masters, while maintaining collaboration between the establishments to support the current M2 class until graduation in 2025.

Diversity and inclusion statement

  • The diversity of students and their backgrounds contributes to the wealth of our masters, of our universities and of society.
  • We are committed to guaranteeing equal treatment of students.
  • We are committed to combating racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, sexist and anti-LGBTQ+ acts of hatred that violate the rights of individuals.
  • We are committed to promoting and advancing professional equality between women and men, and to contribute to the fight against gender-related discrimination and violence.
  • We will relay information and actions against discrimination from our institutions, Sorbonne Université and Université Paris Cité.
  • We offer support and monitoring for people with disabilities, who can benefit from the support necessary to carry out their activities and claim compensation measures.
  • Link to charters and missions on equality, diversity and inclusiveness from Sorbonne Université and Université Paris Cité, which contains reporting and support tools, and documentation:

 https://www.sorbonne-universite.fr/universite/politique-detablissement/egalite-et-inclusivite
 https://u-paris.fr/mission-egalites/