Music and Cognition Minor

Music and Cognition immerses students in the exploration of cutting-edge issues in the cognitive science of musical experience—how music gets inside our heads and influences our thoughts and feelings.

2 students examine data and images of the brain on a computer screen.
Students in Professor Leslie Kwakye's lab work on Multisensory Neuroscience research using the EEG. The project takes a closer look at how attention effects multi sensory integration and what's actually happening within the brain.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi


The interdisciplinary study of music and cognition is a rapidly growing field, with important contributions from music theory, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and anthropology.

This minor is intended to give students the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge issues in the cognitive science of musical experience, understood broadly to encompass both music production and appreciation. In addition to courses directly concerned with musical cognition and emotion, there are also required courses which provide background necessary for in-depth understanding of music and cognition, including classes in cognitive science, music theory, music history, and music production. Students will learn about the scholarly methods and goals of research in both music theory and the cognitive sciences.

Students wishing to complete the Music & Cognition Minor should consult with a faculty liaison and complete the Declaration of Music & Cognition Minor form.

Sample Courses

Cognitive Science

  • COGS 101 - Mind, Brain, and Behavior: An Introduction to Cognitive Sciences
  • PHIL 228 - Philosophy of Mind

Science or Technology of Sound

  • TECH 101 - Introduction to Electroacoustic Music
  • MATH 357 - Harmonic Analysis

Music Theory

  • MUTH 131 - Music Theory I

Musical Traditions

  • ETHN 100 - Introduction to Musics of the World

Music and Cognition

  • NSCI 157 - Neuroscience of the Arts
  • PACE 317- Psychology of Musical Behavior


Students complete the minor by satisfying each of the following requirements:

  1. One core introductory course in cognitive science

  2. Two courses in the core music-theory curriculum

  3. One course on musical traditions

  4. One course on the science or technology of sound

  5. One course in the study of music and cognition

Students will also develop a learning portfolio with substantive pieces of work from each of the classes taken to fulfill the minor as well as a reflection piece that explicitly connects the learning outcomes in the different courses.

Faculty Liaisons