To be admitted to the PhD program, applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission to the Graduate School and be formally accepted by the admissions committee of the graduate school as a candidate for the PhD program. Admission is highly competitive, we expect to make offers to four applicants each year. Our department is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.

    NEW: Applications for the academic year starting September 2024 are currently open. Applications close December 11, 2023.

    Application procedure

    To apply for our PhD program an applicant must have earned a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Applicants do not need an MA to apply. Students in their final year of undergraduate study may be admitted on the condition that their bachelor’s degree is awarded before they enroll in our graduate program in September.

    Applicants must select a primary and secondary subfield of cognitive science, from among the six subfields listed below.  The secondary subfield is mandatory, and must be distinct from the primary

    • Cognitive psychology
    • Linguistics
    • Modeling
    • Neuroscience
    • Philosophy
    • Social science

    We are interested in recruiting students with a well-rounded education and the ability to communicate usefully about science with scholars from multiple fields within cognitive science. Your application should concentrate on your strengths, which will naturally involve your main field of specialization, but your research statement and writing sample should be understandable to scholars in the secondary field you choose. Ideally, your application will also evidence a genuine interest in bridging the gap between the two subfields.

    Applications must be submitted via the online application portal, no materials submitted by email will be considered. The admissions portal is managed by our collegiate university Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL).

    (After creating an account with the PSL applications portal, search for "PhD Cognitive Science" to find our program and begin your application)

    The application file involves personal contact information, demographic information, and prior education. Assessment of your application will be centered in the following attachments which you must provide at the moment of application:

    • Statement of purpose
    • Academic transcripts from each college/university attended
    • Writing sample
    • Research statement
    • Proof of English proficiency
    • Academic CV
    • Copy of your passport / EU identification card
    • Contacts of at least two references, three if you prefer, who will be contacted by the School to provide letters of recommendation for you

    You can submit scanned copies of transcripts for the application, but these will be considered unofficial. Upon acceptance into the program, we will require that you send official versions by mail.

    Deadlines and selection process

    Students are only admitted into the program for the Fall semester. Applications for the academic year starting September 2023, open November 21 2022 and close January 27 2023.

    Application materials

    Assessment of your application will focus on the elements below. Please study this section carefully if you are applying.

    Statement of purpose

    • Strict one page limit;
    • The statement of purpose is meant to give us an idea of who you are and what you want from your graduate education and your future career;
    • Tell us about your interests in cognitive science, how you discovered the field, and what kind of career you would like;
    • Explain your interest specifically in our PhD program;
    • Use the statement to put any unusual elements in your CV or transcripts in context.

    Writing sample

    • No page limit, 10–30 pages is appropriate;
    • This is a piece of original research you conducted; its purpose is to demonstrate your ability to do research and to communicate your findings in writing;
    • It must have been written by you; co-authored submissions will be considered at the discretion of the admissions committee, and only if the precise contribution of the applicant is well explained in the letters of recommendation;
    • The writing sample will typically be within your subfield of cognitive science and should be generally understandable to a scholar within our admission track;
    • The writing sample needn’t have been published or submitted anywhere;
    • Examples include a high-quality term paper, a BA or MA thesis.

    Research statement

    • Strict one page limit;
    • The research statement should show us where specifically your interests lie in cognitive science and within your subfield;
    • Tell us about serious research projects you’ve engaged in, where you predict you research will go if you join our PhD program;
    • Important: your research statement must include the names of two researchers in our department that you see yourself working with, along with explanations of your choices.

    Proof of English


    • If you're a native speaker of English, or if you have completed a higher-education degree (BA, MA) in an English-speaking university, you should simply submit a statement explaining that.
    • Otherwise, you should ideally submit official results from a recent test of English, for example TOEFL or IELTS
    • We understand that language tests of this kind can be expensive and hard to schedule for some applicants. For legal reasons, we may have to ask for official results of applicants who get an admission offer, but for the purpose of application at this initial stage, you may submit a brief statement explaining that you could not get the required test.  You should also ideally say a few words about your experience with English in an academic setting. Note that taking this option will have no negative impact on our evaluation of your application.

    Letters of recommendation

    • You must provide the contact information of two referees who know you well enough to write recommendation letters in support of your application;
    • You may provide the contact information of an optional third referee;
    • You should consult with your potential referees in advance of putting down their names, make sure that they agree to write positive and informative letters in support of your application;
    • Referees will be automatically contacted by the application portal as soon as your application is submitted, not before;
    • To ensure full consideration, your referees should have submitted their letters via the online system by the deadline communicated; letters received after that deadline are not guaranteed to make it to your file.