MSc Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
The MSc in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience is a new and exciting taught postgraduate programme in the Department of Psychology.
MSc in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications in order to develop a career in research or related disciplines while building their project management skills and knowledge of developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition, the programme is aimed at those from closely related science backgrounds to build up a knowledge and practical experience of developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience before embarking on a psychology related career. Students on this course typically go on to pursue careers in research or in clinical psychology.
The programme is aimed at providing advanced research training for students interested in pursuing careers in the fields of research, child development and child health, brain function and cognitive neuroscience methodologies. The Department of Psychology at Durham University has particular strengths in these areas, with teaching reflecting the breadth of knowledge within the department (Research Groups). This MSc provides students with detailed historical, philosophical, theoretical and practical knowledge of a broad range of developmental and cognitive neuroscience topics and techniques. This wide-ranging knowledge will make students extremely strong candidates for future positions in PhD programmes, as well as providing information on clinically related areas of developmental psychology and psychopathology.
The course is available full-time, commencing at the beginning of October for the duration of one year. It is aimed at UK and international students who are seeking a career in clinical psychology or research. The Course Director is Dr Vincent Reid, who works in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.
This is a full year course. Teaching is primarily organized into a number of 10 week course units involving 2 to 3 hours per week via lectures, seminars, practical sessions and lab placements.
The course comprises modules taught across three terms, together with a dissertation conducted throughout the year (see below). Modules are divided into 8-10 week teaching blocks. Teaching and course material is 'step-linked' so that knowledge builds up over the course of the programme. Taught coursework and methodological/data-analysis exercises are integrated with practical work. The programme is inherently broad ranging; as developmental psychology and the field of cognitive neuroscience use a wide range of methodologies to explore many different aspects of cognitive processing and psychopathology. As a consequence, our modules cover a wide range of techniques and their use in a variety of topics.
The MSc will provide students with a wide range of knowledge (both theoretical and practical) and transferable skills including various professional ways of disseminating knowledge. The MSc can be divided into three subsections of equal weighting. One third is the dissertation, one third is related to the development of critical research skills and one third is from modules selected by each student to fit their interests within developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience.
Subject Specific Modules (students select four of the modules from this list)
Current Issues in Developmental Psychology(15 Credits) investigates current major trends in developmental psychology. It provides a basis for tackling the complexity of development, and allows us to put developmental research and issues into a wider framework of understanding.
Current Issues in Developmental Psychopathology(15 Credits) considers topics related to our current understanding of developmental psychopathology as well as the relationship between typical and atypical development. Topics covered include eating disorders, autism and SLI.
Research Design in Child and Clinical Psychology(15 Credits) covers issues when dealing with these special populations, in terms of how we assess and measure issues with these populations. It is taught via lectures and practical exercises.
Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience (15 Credits) provides theoretical introduction (via taught coursework) and hand-on experience (via laboratory placements and practical workshops) on the main methods of cognitive neuroscience such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Transcranic Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Electroencephalography (EEG) and Eye-tracking.
The modules Advanced Cognition (15 Credits) and Advanced Neuropsychology (15 Credits) are interleaved throughout the year and explore in depths various aspects of cognition discussing research from brain-intact and brain-injured/pathological population.
The Matlab (15 Credits) module gives an opportunity to learn a valuable skill in cognitive neuroscience research - programming. This is taught in relation to specific techniques and equipment which are valuable for much of the work taught throughout the MSc and provides important practical skills which can prove useful in the Dissertation module.
Core Research Skills Modules
Applied Statistics (30 credits) provides training in the selection, interpretation, and application of statistical methods. Statistical techniques studied include ANOVA, regression analysis, categorical data analysis, and exploratory statistical techniques. This unit provides hands-on experience of research methods and research tools.
Research Practice (15 Credits) provides training in data management, accessing information sources, project organization, and the fundamentals required in order to perform research in an applied manner.
Critical Analysis (15 Credits) provides the analytical skills required to engage with and evaluate work derived from psychological research. As the ability to compare and contrast conclusions and positions is essential for disambiguating competing psychological claims, this module will focus on the nature of the peer review process, academic publishing and the construction and validity of research articles from different psychological sub-disciplines.
The Dissertation module (60 Credits) represents an opportunity for students to undertake in-depth research work in a particular area to answer a particular empirical question and builds on both the general background to scientific methodology introduced in Research Practice, Critical Analysis and Applied Statistics, as well as the in-depth subject knowledge provided in the other modules. As such, it represents the culmination of the learning that has taken place throughout the year on all modules.
Each 10 week unit is assessed by means of one formative assignment and one summative assessment. The summative assessment counts towards the final degree. For the programme as a whole, this assessment is divided in relatively equal proportions between examinations (33.3%), written assignments (33.3%) and the dissertation (33.3%).
Current Issues in Developmental Psychology Seminars: 25 hours
Current Issues in Developmental Psychopathology Seminars: 25 hours
Research Design in Child and Clinical Psychology Seminars: 25 hours
Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience Seminars: 18 hours and Workshops: 10 hours
Advanced Cognition Seminars: 21 hours and Workshops: 15 hours
Advanced Neuropsychology Seminars: 30 hours
MATLAB Programming workshops: 40 hours
Applied Statistics Lectures: 22 hours and Practical Sessions: 44 hours
Critical Analysis Seminars: 30 hours
Research Practice Seminars: 20 hours
Dissertation Tutorials: 25 hours
Entrance Requirements for Taught Degrees
To be admitted to do a taught master's course you should have normally have received an appropriate upper second or first class undergraduate degree, or its equivalent for overseas candidates. If you are unsure whether your first degree is appropriate, please contact the degree director of the degree you are interested in. References will also play an important part in the admissions process.
The Postgraduate Team
Director of Postgraduate Research - Dr Nadja Reissland
Course Director (MSc Cognitive Neuroscience) - Dr Cristiana Cavina-Pratesi & Dr Susanne Weis
Course Director (MSc Developmental Psychopathology) - Dr David Williams
Course Director (MA Research Methods) - Dr David Williams
Course Director (MSc Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience) - Dr David Williams
For more information please contact us