The programme provides graduates with the necessary theoretical / intellectual and empirical tools to pursue an academic career (Ph.D. programme) in cognitive science or in one of the disciplines related to it. Apart from basic research graduates in cognitive science increasingly find work in applied research. Depending on the direction of specialisation, prospective career fields include the IT-sector (interaction design, usability, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, knowledge management, etc.), education, and biomedical and clinical research, as well as economy. The generic skills (such as teamwork, ability to communicate, reflection and evaluation skills, ability to quickly learn and adapt) acquired by graduates are of use in a variety of careers in the private sector. Graduates of cognitive science are especially suited to work in highly interdisciplinary area, bringing experience in mediating between disciplines. These include the fields of IT and education (see above), as well as the areas of consulting, human resources, and science writing.
Cognitive science and related study programmes have been implemented in many European countries over the past ten years; the DFG (“Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft“/German Research Foundation) has determined cognitive science to be one of twelve most relevant areas of research. However, graduates of cognitive science do not necessarily pursue an academic career. A recent survey in the Netherlands with graduates from cognitive science and AI programmes shows that the students found jobs within three months after graduating, many even before. 63% have tenure, 27% temporary contracts, 10% start their own company. 22% work at universities, 10% government, 10% research, 41% ICT, 7% financials, 7% consultancy. 78% of the students are very satisfied with their jobs.
For more information, see:
Bericht der Berufspraxiskommission (BPK) der Gesellschaft für Kognitionswissenschaft (GK) für den Zeitraum 10/94-2/96, erschienen in Kognitionswissenschaft 6, 135-142. (in german)
MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences Majors Guide
Opportunities in Cognitive Science from Indiana University, Bloomington
Cognitive Science and the Real World, (Part VI) in W. Bechtel & G. Graham (eds.), A Companion to Cognitive Science, Oxford: Blackwell, 1998