Cognates

Focus your studies

As you work toward your bachelor’s degree, you’ll choose from a wide range of cognates in which to focus your study. Some of the courses you take may fulfill requirements toward a minor in another field or your general education requirements.

Choose your cognate

Get a solid foundation in the life sciences with the biology cognate. You’ll learn about the evolution of organisms, the structure and function of DNA and RNA, and molecular biology. Through lab experiments, you’ll be introduced to aspects of cell biology, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

Planning for the future

The biology cognate prepares you for a career and advanced education, depending on your career goals and pursuits. If you’re interested in graduate school, you should consider further studies in bioinformatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the biology minor.

What classes do I have to take?

Please see the bulletin. (Make sure you view the bulletin for which you plan to graduate). 

Are you interested in working in private industry, starting your own business, or pursuing a graduate business degree? If so, this cognate may be for you. Learn the fundamentals of business—marketing, finance, operations, and management—and how information technology affects today’s business at all levels.

Planning for the future

The business cognate prepares you to anticipate how changes in technology will offer new opportunities for businesses in every industry. If you’re interested in graduate school, you should consider the M.S.I.S., M.B.A., or further study in informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

If you’re interested in clinical research, health care, or pharmaceuticals, technology will be integral to your work. This cognate introduces you to the fundamentals of chemistry. You’ll learn about organic and inorganic substances and various elementary forms of matter. You’ll explore different types of chemistry and understand chemical properties, reactions, and other concepts.

Planning for the future

The chemistry cognate prepares you for a career and advanced education, depending on your career goals and pursuits.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the chemistry minor.

Cognitive science explores how people learn, how they perceive, and how they process information, all of which are intimately connected with how we use technology in day-to-day life. With this cognate, you’ll develop a deeper appreciation of the interaction between humans and computers—and what we can teach each other.

Planning for the future

Career applications are virtually limitless, from telecommunications and education to artificial intelligence. If you’re interested in graduate school, you should consider further studies in human-computer interaction design or in an informatics Ph.D. track such as complex networks and systems or computing, culture, and society.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Are you passionate about how technology can fuel scientific, cultural, and artistic discovery? Do you want to be able to build the tools that make these discoveries possible? The computer science cognate may be for you. You’ll gain a deeper technical understanding of fundamental aspects of computer science, including network design, cybersecurity, and data and search.

Planning for the future

Depending on your focus, this cognate will provide you with the skills to take on a variety of IT jobs, from product and application development to user experience and web development. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in either computer science or informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the computer science minor.

On local and global scales, the effect of technology on capital markets, governments, and business is profound. If you’re interested in learning the workings of the economy, capital market, globalization, monetary systems, industry, commerce, and more, this cognate may be for you. You’ll get a framework for understanding, anticipating, and taking advantage of the way governments and markets use technology to facilitate and regulate trade.

Planning for the future

If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in economics, business, or informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the economics minor.

Digital art and design are important aspects of all things creative. If you plan to work as a professional artist after graduation, you’ll need to understand the digital tools available as well as the fundamentals of design, composition, and color. With the fine arts cognate, you’ll learn about visual communications and the tools used to create in the traditional and digital worlds. You can choose from two options:

  • Computer art focuses on using technology as a tool for artistic expression. You’ll learn skills for creating your own art and 3D graphics and for enhancing drawings, scans, photos, and other illustrations. You’ll use interactive multimedia to express ideas and to capture a game, storyboard, or online environment you envision.
  • Graphic design focuses on using technology to create visual designs, from logos, books, and posters to websites. You’ll learn the principles of design, typography, style, text and graphic placement, and production. You’ll use design and other tools to solve problems, improve an online experience and produce a variety of digital elements and visual communications.
Planning for the future

The fine arts cognate prepares you for a wide variety of careers, including graphic designer, art director, game designer, 3D programmer, web designer, and digital animator. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in human-computer interaction design.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

With this cognate, you’ll get an overview of geography as a science and learn about various techniques such as remote sensing theory and digital image processing in environmental applications. You’ll study geographical information systems (GIS) and learn how to analyze and interpret geographic data.

Planning for the future

If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in informatics or geography.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the geography minor.

Interested in how humans and computers interact, and the resulting implications of these interactions? This cognate may be for you. You’ll explore various topics, including how information is organized and delivered and how both humans and computers must adapt their behaviors. You’ll learn to think about and solve issues that arise when humans and computers interact.

Planning for the future

The human-centered computing cognate prepares you for a career in web design, digital media production, content production, software engineering, information security, or robotics. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in human-computer interaction design; secure computing; computing, culture, and society; or information science.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the human-centered computing minor.

Are you in search of a cognate we don’t offer?

If you’re interested in applying information technology to a new domain or taking a more interdisciplinary approach to addressing a particular problem or issue, consider applying for an individualized cognate. An individualized cognate can include one or more departments.

Requirements

You’ll typically take one or two foundational courses in your chosen area, followed by advanced coursework with a specific focus. Your proposed cognate should be located near the intersection of technology and a particular discipline or issue.

The requirements for an individualized cognate are:

  • At least five courses, totaling a minimum of 15 credit hours
  • At least 9 credit hours at the 300/400 level
  • Approval from the director of undergraduate studies
Proposing your cognate

You must submit a proposal for your individualized cognate. Your proposal must include:

  • A list of courses
  • An explanation of why you chose this particular set of courses
  • A rationale for the cognate, such as:
    • Why the study of this discipline or issue is important
    • How this cognate can enhance your informatics degree
    • How informatics can contribute to this discipline or issue

You’re encouraged to create a preliminary proposal draft and review it with your academic advisor before submitting a final version to your advisor for review by the director of undergraduate studies.

The human voice is now as powerful as a keyboard when it comes to inputting and sharing data. Get an introduction to the science of human languages, with a focus on language acquisition and converting speech to data with the linguistics cognate.

Planning for the future

This cognate prepares you for a career in data analysis, voice interface design, and computational language. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in informatics and linguistics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Math helps you identify and analyze patterns, see relationships, and solve problems—just for starters. Advanced math is essential to expanding the boundaries of technology. With the mathematics cognate, you’ll learn the basics of math and develop your logic and critical thinking skills.

Planning for the future

This cognate prepares you for various technology career paths, including interface design, statistical reporting, and web programming. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in computer science or complex networks and systems.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the mathematics minor.

Are you interested in shaping the future of informatics in the media? This cognate may be for you. You can choose to focus on how the media affects (and is affected by) society, media production, game design, or journalism.

Planning for the future

This cognate prepares you for careers such as strategic analyst, multimedia developer, and journalist. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in informatics or media.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Are you interested in allied health, exercise science, medicine, dentistry, optometry, or nursing? Get basic knowledge in the medical sciences combined with information technology with the medical sciences cognate. The IT health care job market is hot, and some of the world’s largest health care companies recruit our students.

Planning for the future

This cognate prepares you for a career in the medical sciences, information technology, or a combination of both. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in nursing, other health professions, or informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the medical sciences minor only if your cognate GPA is 2.7 or above.

Music informatics addresses a wide range of problems that lie on the boundary between music and scientific disciplines such as computer science, cognitive science, math, and psychology. If you enjoy looking at music as data—whether in audio, graphical, performance, or symbolic form—this cognate may be for you.

Planning for the future

Music informatics is a young, rapidly changing field. It’s likely that many of the most important applications have yet to be created. Current examples include musical accompaniment systems, optical score recognition, music audio analysis, and the synthesis of musical expression from a score.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Enhance your critical thinking, reasoning, interpretation, and communication skills with the philosophy of mind and cognition cognate. You’ll be introduced to the philosophy of mind and intelligent systems. You’ll explore modern philosophy and topics such as the nature of mental phenomena, logic and language, and metaphysics. You’ll learn how to formulate valid argument structures through techniques in logic and symbolic logic.

Planning for the future

If you’re interested in graduate school, you have a number of paths to consider. Some options include philosophy, computer science, informatics, law, and medicine.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the philosophy of mind and cognition minor.

If you’re thinking of combining the study of informatics with preparation for medical school or another health professions program, this cognate may be for you. You’ll build your cognitive abilities and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for medical school.

Planning for the future

This cognate will allow you to incorporate common professional school admission requirements into your degree plan. You’ll be prepared for a broad range of careers in IT, health care, or a blend of both. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in medicine, other health professions, or informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Human behavior has important consequences for developments in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, computer and interface design, and all the ways we connect and collaborate online. With this cognate, you’ll be introduced to key concepts in cognition, perception, and behavior that will be useful in many career paths.

Planning for the future

Consider this cognate if you’re interested in interface design, user experience testing, business, or marketing. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider graduate studies in computing, culture, and society; secure computing; human-computer interaction design; or cognitive science.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the psychology minor.

Do you want to discover new ways to use technology to solve pressing social problems? Are you interested in making clean, renewable energy a reality or improving access to quality health care? This cognate may be for you.

The implications and practical applications of technology on public policy are broad. You can choose from five options in this cognate.

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

Environmental management

With this option, you’ll learn about forestry and water systems—lakes, wetlands, and wastewater treatment—as well as about the air we breathe, pollution control, and toxicology. You’ll understand environmental law and how air and water quality are regulated. And you’ll use software that environmental scientists use to generate data, which is then manipulated and interpreted to solve problems.

Planning for the future: If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in environmental science or informatics.

Health systems administration

This option introduces you to all aspects of health systems administration, including management, policy, finance, and economics. You’ll learn about hospital and long-term care administration as well as strategic planning for health care organizations.

Planning for the future: This option prepares you for an IT job in health care, with a broad range of opportunities in systems design, implementation, and consulting as well as other traditional IT jobs. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in public health administration or informatics.

Policy studies

With this option, you’ll develop skills in identifying, dissecting, and improving policy. You’ll study finance, economics, public policy, and statistics to gain the tools you need to measure the impact of policy decisions.

Planning for the future: If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in public affairs or informatics.

Public finance

How is money managed within the public sector? With this option, you’ll learn about government and nonprofit accounting and reporting. You’ll discover techniques used by financial administrators to manage public budgets, revenues, and spending.

Planning for the future: If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in public affairs, arts administration, or informatics.

Urban affairs

Learn about urban planning, development, and management, as well as the development process for metropolitan areas, with this option. You’ll understand federal and local government structures, fiscal management, and policy issues and implications.

Planning for the future: If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in public affairs or informatics.

With this cognate, you’ll be introduced to the foundations of community health within the public health context. You’ll learn about epidemiology concepts, measures, and methods, and how they’re applied to disease control. You’ll build skills in public health program planning and implementation. And you’ll explore public health data sources, research, and evaluation methods and technologies.

Planning for the future

If you’re interested in a career in health care, software development, or public advocacy, this cognate may be for you. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in public health, public and environmental affairs, or informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate does not fulfill a minor.

With this cognate, you’ll be introduced to the foundations and fundamentals of information security. You’ll learn about cybersecurity, how systems and networks are protected, the technologies and protocols used, and the complex web of issues that governments and businesses face in trying to protect citizens and customers.

Planning for the future

If you’re ready to take on hackers, identity thieves, corporate spies, and other cybervillains, this cognate may be for you. The job market for internet security is very strong. If you’re interested in graduate school, consider further studies in security informatics.

Does it fulfill a minor?

This cognate fulfills the security informatics minor.

Learn more about the B.S. in Informatics

Explore the degree