Minor in Consciousness Studies

Overview

Consciousness defines the human condition and remains one of its largest mysteries. The subject of freshly integrated philosophical, scientific, and spiritual discussions, Consciousness Studies has become a field that is the quintessence of interdisciplinarity. It draws on STEM fields such as modern computational sciences, biology and evolutionary theory, neuroscience, physics; social/behavioral disciplines such as anthropology, geography, information sciences, linguistics, psychology; and humanistic fields such as compassion studies, American Indian Studies, Buddhism, literature, and religious studies. The minor provides a distinct interdisciplinary approach, using the methodological principles of basic science as well as humanistic and social scientific disciplines. The value of this minor is its intrinsic insistence upon an interdisciplinary framework that teaches both humanistic and social scientific methods and brings those methods directly to bear on the subject of what it is to have human consciousness. Students are encouraged to examine common assumptions, break down generalizations, and to think conceptually. In this way, the focus on consciousness serves as an example of how widely different disciplines can be brought together to create new knowledge about an everyday phenomenon.

How to Apply

Any advisor can declare the Consciousness Studies Minor or you can declare the minor online by following the button below. An advising appointment is recommended, but not needed.

Declare Minor

Curriculum

This minor requires 18 units with 9 units being upper division. Review the Consciousness Studies Minor Checklist for a complete list of requirements.

Core Courses

Required courses (6 units)

Offered in Fall

Consciousness defines our existence - the world we perceive, awareness of inner thoughts and feelings, and our place in the universe. The course reviews opinions and theories from ancient times to present day, ranging from consciousness as a fundamental property of reality, to computation among brain neurons. We consider philosophical, neurobiological, computational, electromagnetic, quantum, astrobiological and cosmological theories of consciousness, with varying degrees of explanatory power, testability and confirmation.

Offered in Spring

The main goal is to bring students into contact with scholars in a range of disciplines with different kinds of relevant expertise. The twice-weekly format involves your spending time with each of them only, so you and they will be free to interact. We regularly include distinguished presenters from outside the university. Students may attend the international conference The Science of Consciousness (held by the University of Arizona) either in person or via Zoom without payment of the registration fee.

Additional Electives

Complete 12 additional elective units.

    East Asian Studies

    • EAS 222 – Introduction to Zen Buddhism (3 units)
    • EAS 333 – Buddhist Meditation Traditions (3 units)

    SBS Admin: these courses are each offered in 5-week sessions and are all available to be taken in a single semester.

    • SBS 301A - Foundations of Mindfulness (1 unit)
    • SBS 301B - The Mindful Semester: Mindfulness Based Study Tools (1 unit)
    • SBS 301C - The Mindful Semester: Mindfulness Based Movement (1 unit)

    Sociology

    • CHS 460 – Self-Care in the Helping Professions (3 units)

    Mind, Brain and Behavior

    • NSCS 320 - Issues and Themes in Cognitive Science (3 units)
    • NSCS 321 - Methods in Cognitive Science (3 units)
    • NSCS 344 - Modeling the Mind: Computational Models of Cognition (3 units)

    Geography and Development

    • GEOG 205 - Places in the Media (3 units)

    Information

    • ISTA 130 - Computational Thinking and Doing (4 units)
    • ISTA 301 - Computing and the Arts (3 units)
    • ISTA 302 - Technology of Sound (3 units)
    • ISTA 450 - Artificial Intelligence (3 units)

    Linguistics

    • LING 211 - Meaning in Language and Society (3 units)
    • LING/PHIL/PSY 432 - Psychology of Language (3 units)

    Philosophy

    • PHIL 241 - Consciousness and Cognition (3 units)
    • PHIL 345 - Philosophy and Psychiatry (3 units)

    Psychology

    • PSY 220 – Thinking about Thinking (3 units)
    • PSY 300 - Cognitive Neuroscience: A Guide to Mind and Brain (3 units)
    • PSY 327 - Cognitive Psychology of Illusions and Magic: Observations and applications (3 units)
    • PSY 329 - Sensation and Perception (3 units))
    • PSY 425 - Get Real: Cognition Applied to You and Current Topics (3 units)

    Religious Studies

    • RELI 211 - Life After Death in World Religions and Philosophies (3 units)
    • RELI/PSY 336 - Spirituality, Psychology, and the Mind (3 units)
    • RELI/AIS 407 - Religion, Spirituality, and the Sacred in Native North America (3 units)

    Planetary Science

    • PTYS/ASTR/GEOS 214 - Life in the Cosmos (3 units)

    Double Use of Minor Coursework

    Students may double dip 9 units with the CS Minor and another major or minor within the same degree.

    More Information

    For more information on the Minor in Consciousness Studies, please contact Laura Owen (lauraowen@arizona.edu or 520-621-7695).