Postgraduate Course

MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

Overview

The details
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
October 2022
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Psychology

Studying both cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology will give a thorough grounding in the scientific investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying human behaviour and the effects of brain injury on cognitive function. You will be taught the theoretical and biological foundations of cognitive science, and undertake advanced training in statistics and neuropsychological research methods.

Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, overlapping with disciplines such as biological psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. Cognitive neuropsychology uses data from single cases of individuals with brain injury or neurological illness to refine theoretical models of cognitive processing.

You explore topics including:

  • The physiological bases and practical applications of cognitive neuroscience techniques
  • How brain activity translates into cognitive processes
  • The theoretical and biological foundations of cognitive science
  • How brain damages impact on cognitive functions
  • Cognitive neuroscience of language
  • Cognitive neuropsychology of reading and face processing

Our research is challenging and ground-breaking, rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). We are supported by some of the most prestigious funding bodies, including the ESRC, European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust.

We are a warm and friendly Department, and we wish to welcome recent graduates of psychology (or a closely related subject such as cognitive science). This course is popular with international students (particularly those from North America). Our students receive a high quality Masters degree within one year and benefit from small class sizes and strong research training.

Why we're great.
  • Develop expert knowledge of both neuroscience and neuropsychology
  • Gain full use of neurophysiological and neurostimulation facilities, our virtual reality suites, babylab and observation suites and eye-tracking labs
  • We are ranked top 15 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014)
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

The Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, reading development in different writing systems, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying sensory and multi-sensory processing, awareness of body sensations, empathy, perspective taking, social communication, and language production.

Students are taught by our award-winning teachers and administrative staff and researchers who are international experts in their own research areas. Our department is expanding, and has recently appointed a number of excellent researchers whose expertise increases the diversity and depth of our skills base.

Specialist facilities

We are committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus:

  • Several systems to record and alter brain activity including, near infrared spectroscopy, electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial alternate current stimulation and transcranial random noise stimulation
  • Neuronavigation systems
  • Dedicated laboratories including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite
  • Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our Babylab
  • Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) contains specialist laboratories, office space for research students, and research rooms and social spaces which foster opportunities for innovation, training and collaboration.

Your future

With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers. Our MSc graduates have been employed as Research Associates, Research Coordinators, Data Analyst, Lab Managers and Research and Development Companies. The course also may be taken prior to a PhD or Clinical Training.

We also have excellent links with the research community; we are recognised by the ESRC as providing excellent postgraduate training and are an accredited Doctorial Training Centre, offering several studentships.

Our recent PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and international universities (in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.

"Since graduating from Essex I have been working for a biotechnology company called IXICO as an associate image analyst. I analyse and quality-check brain images of individuals with neurological and neurodegenerative diseases who are undergoing clinical trials, as well as setting up MRI scanners around the world making sure they scan patients in a safe way."

Sammy Shittu, MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology, 2019

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2.2 degree in Psychology, Cognitive Science or a related subject .

If you hold a degree in Psychology it would be preferable, though not essential, if this was British Psychological Society accredited.

Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Research Project (MSc)
(60 CREDITS)

In this module you complete a research dissertation with a maximum of 10,000 words, written up as a report. You have a lot of flexibility as there are a wide variety of topics that you can choose to research. You report on the results of an original psychological research study carried out under the supervision of a staff member. A good research report will look like a psychology study reported in a peer-reviewed journal (such as Cognitive Neuropsychology, or Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology).

View Research Project (MSc) on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Neurocognition of Human Interaction
(15 CREDITS)

Gain an in-depth introduction to the major topics in neurocognition of language. By critically analysing a range of research and methodologies used to study brain processes, you will acquire an advanced understanding of the brain bases of language, and of the neurocognitive processes that underlie human communication.

View Neurocognition of Human Interaction on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Fundamental Statistics for Research
(15 CREDITS)

This module provides you with a detailed overview of the most common statistical tests used by postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in psychology.

View Fundamental Statistics for Research on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Numerical Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
(15 CREDITS)

Research in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology employs a diverse range of analytical tools and procedures. This module provides specialist Masters students with the training necessary to critically evaluate the analyses presented in published research. Additionally, you will be trained to apply numerical techniques to neuropsychological and psychophysiological data and to interpret the output of popular analysis software.

View Numerical Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Theory and Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
(30 CREDITS)

This module covers the main research areas and methods used in investigating the workings of the brain. The module will provide you with a solid background in brain structure and function both at the cellular level and the systems level. It will consider neuroscience as it relates to behaviour by asking how mental processes such as perception, attention, movement, emotion, higher cognitive functions and sexual orientation are implemented within the brain and body. This module also seeks to familiarise you with most of the present-day methods used in cognitive neuroscience and to provide practical experience of some of these methodologies: EEG, ERPs, TMS, tDCS, eye-tracking, pupilometry, NIRS and other psychophysiological measures (skin conductance, heart rate, respiration rate, plethysmography etc) and their combination.

View Theory and Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(45 CREDITS)

Teaching

Your modules are taught through lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars, independent reading and research projects and we host a very active programme of research seminars.

Assessment

Full-year modules are most often examined using a three-hour examination, and half-year modules by a combination of two-hour examination and coursework (e.g., essays, oral presentations).

Dissertation

A research study in cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience or neuroscience of language carried out under the supervision of a staff member (maximum of 10,000 words, written up as a research report).

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,200

International fee

£19,740

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, November 13, 2021

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Ask us a question
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to email you back shortly.