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C8K109 Cognitive Neuroscience MSc Postgraduate Taught  2018


Degree MSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 1 year
Start Date 02-10-2018
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 3273

Course Summary


The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at home and international students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications to develop their project management skills and theoretical knowledge for a career in research or related disciplines. In addition, the programme is aimed at those from closely related science backgrounds to build up a knowledge and practical experience of cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career. As the theoretical background to, and techniques of, cognitive neuroscience are rarely available to students at undergraduate level, the main objective of this MSc is to provide students with detailed historical, philosophical, theoretical and practical knowledge of a broad range of cognitive neuroscience techniques. This wide-ranging knowledge will make students extremely strong candidates for future research positions, and provide them with an ability to develop broad research programmes, utilising a range of techniques, as independent researchers.

Course Structure

Teaching is generally organised into a number of 10 week course units involving 2 to 3 hours of lectures, seminars and practicals per week. Each 10 week unit is assessed by means of formative and summative assessments.

The summative assessment counts towards the final degree. For the programme as a whole, this assessment is divided (with small variations across programmes) in equal proportions between examinations (33.3%), written assignments (33.3%) and dissertation (33.3%). 

Core Modules

  • Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience (30 credits)
  • Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience (30 credits)
  • Research Practice (15 credits)
  • Critical Analysis (15 credits)
  • Applied Statistics (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits).

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions, workshops and lab placements.

Lectures provide key theoretical information on general topics such as cognition, emotion and neuropsychology and in depth knowledge of a range of techniques used in cognitive neuroscience research (focusing on their strengths and weaknesses). This core knowledge is then enriched by seminars, workshop, practical sessions and lab placements.

While seminars and workshops allow student-led discussions with the aim of developing their critical thinking, their oral communications and their writing skills, practical sessions provide students with in-depth and hands-on knowledge of selected research techniques as well as programming skills (i.e. Matlab included in the Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience module) - most wanted key abilities in cognitive neuroscience research. Importantly, practicals also include the application of a range of widely-used statistical tests and a critical understanding of research design, project management and data presentation. All skills that are easily transferable to any future career the students might decide to pursue.

Lab placements are a crowning point of the MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. They allow students to experience directly the “laboratory life” by observing and helping members of staff calibrating lab equipment, recruiting participants and collecting/analysing data. This is a unique opportunity for the students to witness leading experts at work in their own laboratory.

Finally, the dissertation module will give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge of theoretical principles, research skills and statistical techniques during the complete life cycle of a research project, by undertaking a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research.

Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge.

Altogether, the program is focused on supplying students with broad theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience on cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

2:1 in Psychology or Psychology related subject (or equivalent).

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,300.00 per year
Home Student £7,300.00 per year
Island Student £7,300.00 per year
International non-EU Student £21,945.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of Psychology

For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please click here.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Psychology


The Department of Psychology provides a world-class teaching and research environment for postgraduate students in biological, cognitive, social, developmental psychology and neuroscience. Our research facilities support activity in these domains of psychology. We offer both taught postgraduate as well as postgraduate research degree (MRes and PhD) programmes.

Our MSc programmes provide students with core skills, ideal for continuing on to complete a PhD, taking on a research position, or entering the workplace. Postgraduate taught and research students are supervised by academics with expertise in their fields and have the opportunity to engage with the vibrant research environment evident in the Department.

Students have access to dedicated laboratory space with equipment linked to teaching on the programmes and we are particularly well-equipped with opportunities for training in eye-movement recording, motion analysis and psychophysics. Specialist facilities are available which include Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and animal laboratory.


Ranked joint 1st in the UK for research environment in REF 2014.