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How to Apply

Applicants must include with this application the following materials:

  1. A resume or curriculum vita and 1-page cover letter, in the same PDF as the CV
  2. Teaching history (list course and department)
  3. Any available teaching evaluations

Course Description


The goal of this course is to provide an integrated overview of some of the major approaches to understanding the mind and brain; approaches that together constitute contemporary cognitive science. The problems associated with understanding how and why our minds work the way they do are some of the deepest, most important and most complex facing science, and no single discipline can lay claim to privileged status when it comes to making progress. Indeed, much of the recent excitement in the field has come from approaches that draw on the ideas and methods of multiple disciplines. In this course you’ll get a taste of some of that excitement.

The ideas and methods represented here include those drawn from empirical psychology, linguistics, philosophy, computer science and artificial intelligence, neuroscience, behavioral economics, ethology, and evolutionary biology. Rather than treat each approach separately, we focus on a set of relatively independent topics, each of which engages several of these approaches.

The topics span learning, perception, language, decision making, memory, emotion, morality and happiness. Each time we visit a topic, we will ask: What theoretical issues are at stake? How are they being addressed? What are the key ideas? What are the basic phenomena, how were they discovered, and what counts as an explanation of them? We’ll start with topics that illustrate some of the fundamental ideas and then branch out from there. The aim is to arrive at an overview of the big ideas of cognitive science; the theoretical principles that constitute our current understanding of how our minds work.

Estimated effort for the position: 1 GSI position (.50 FTE)


GSI will be expected to attend every lecture and hold regular office hours and may be asked to deliver one lecture during the course of the semester. GSI will have primary responsibility for their individual sections, which will include a mix of structured exercises designed by the instructor and discussions designed by the GSI. GSI will have primary responsibility for grading, in consultation with the faculty, and will meet as necessary during the semester. The GSI will also be responsible for maintaining and updating grade sheets and other records. It is anticipated that the responsibilities will average 16.5-20 hours per week for a .50 FTE GSI.

Required Qualifications*

Applicants must be currently enrolled as a graduate student in good standing at the University of Michigan.

Desired Qualifications*

Relevant academic preparation for teaching the course material

Prior GSI experience with favorable student evaluations

Overall positive academic performance and progress toward the degree

Relevant graduate training

Ability to work with diverse student body and with very diverse assignments

Willingness to develop innovative approaches in the classroom.

Contact Information

Carl Abrego, Chief Administrator, 440B Lorch Hall-1220,

Decision Making Process

All applications will be submitted for review to the Graduate Committee Chair. After review of applications and possible interviews, the decisions will be made by the professor of the course.

Selection Process

All GSI appointments are subject to administrative approval. The department reserves the right to cancel the appointment due to low overall enrollment figures. Applicants may request information about the status of their application from the program at any time.

GEO Contract Information

The University will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, familial status, parental status or pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression (whether actual or perceived), sexual orientation, age, height, weight, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, HIV antibody status, political belief, membership in any social or political organization, participation in a grievance or complaint whether formal or informal, medical conditions including those related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, arrest record, or any other factor where the item in question will not interfere with job performance and where the employee is otherwise qualified. The University of Michigan agrees to abide by the protections afforded employees with disabilities as outlined in the rules and regulations which implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Information for the Office for Institutional Equity may be found at and for the University Ombuds at

Unsuccessful applications will be retained for consideration in the event that there are last minute openings for available positions. In the event that an employee does not receive their preferred assignment, they can request a written explanation or an in-person interview with the hiring agents(s) to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time.

This position, as posted, is subject to a collective bargaining agreement between the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees' Organization, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 3550.

Standard Practice Guide 601.38, Required Disclosure of Felony Charges and/or Felony Convictions applies to all Graduate Student Assistants (GSAs). SPG 601.38 may be accessed online at , and its relation to your employment can be found in MOU 10 of your employment contract.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working or learning remotely.  More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.