Undergraduate Course

BSc Cognitive Science

BSc Cognitive Science

Overview

The details
Cognitive Science
C831
October 2020
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
Psychology

What mental processes happen in the brain when making a decision? What changes in the brain correspond with changes in behaviour? How does the brain work? By studying cognitive science, you will not only understand how we think, feel and act, but why.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind and its processes. Studying the mental and computational abilities that make up the human mind, you will learn how nervous systems represent, process and transform information. Combining a range of modules from psychology, mathematical sciences, computer science, linguistics and philosophy, it is the study of perceptions, language, memory, attention, reasoning and emotion.

On our BSc Cognitive Science degree you experiment, explore and research why we think, feel and act the way we do. You cover core areas of psychology, mathematics and computer science including:

  • Critical reasoning and logical argument
  • Linear mathematics
  • Understanding data in linguistics
  • Memory attention and language
  • Statistics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Knowledge and Reality

Our Department of Psychology provides one of the most immersive and exciting experiences of studying the human mind in the UK. You have the freedom and the facilities to study, experiment, explore and research why we think, feel and act the way we do. We’re committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art equipment, in our purpose built psychology facilities with dedicated labs, suites and classrooms.

Why we're great.
  • 90% of our psychology students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2019).
  • The interdisciplinary nature of this course means that you will have the opportunity to take modules from our Department of Mathematical Science and School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
  • Our Research Experience Scheme (RES) gives you the opportunity to work one-to-one with a psychologist as their research assistant
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Our psychology lecturers include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.

The Cognitive Developmental Psychology Group research attention, language, decision-making and memory. The Social and Health Psychology Group work on motivations, needs, intercultural contact and sexual attraction. The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour.

Specialist facilities

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

  • Dedicated laboratories including virtual reality suite and an observation suite
  • Specialist areas to study visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology
  • Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our BabyLab
  • Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) allows staff to investigate brain activity, and to measure eye movements and other physiological responses

Your future

The discipline of psychology is increasingly requiring coding and analytical skills, as using big data, web scraping and corpus studies is featuring in modern day research. Cognitive Science will give you the skills required for a broad range of careers, from the IT industry, data science, data journalism, to trades and professions that rely on computing systems such as the media, communications, finance, energy and medicine.

Some of our recent psychology graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies, including:

  • East of England Strategic Health Authority
  • The Crown Prosecution Service
  • M&G Investments
  • NHS Investments
  • NHS Suffolk
  • Accenture
  • The BBC

We also work with our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB, including Mathematics
Please note we are unable to accept A-level Use of Mathematics in place of A-level Mathematics

BTEC: DDD, only in conjunction with A-level Mathematics.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555. Either must include Higher Level Mathematics grade 5.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

From 2021, we will accept grade 5 in either Higher Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Higher Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

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

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Research Methods in Psychology

This module introduces you to the basic principles of research design, and to a variety of experimental and correlational techniques for studying behaviour. Learn to apply techniques of statistical analysis to data collected from experiments, and write laboratory reports for all the research you carry out, which will form part of your assessment.

View Research Methods in Psychology on our Module Directory

Preparing for University Psychology

This module will help you develop the skills and techniques you will need to get the most from your psychology degree. The module will take place during your first two weeks which means you can start applying your new knowledge and skills almost immediately. You’ll also benefit from an extra revision session at the end of the spring term

View Preparing for University Psychology on our Module Directory

Introduction to Personal Development and Employability

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

View Introduction to Personal Development and Employability on our Module Directory

Introduction to Programming

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer programming. After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and concepts that underlie the procedural programming model, explain and make use of high-level programming language features that support control, data and procedural abstraction. Also, they will be able to analyse and explain the behaviour of simple programs that incorporate standard control structures, parameterised functions, arrays, structures and I/O.

View Introduction to Programming on our Module Directory

Object-Oriented Programming

Want to become a Java programmer? Topics covered in this module include control structures, classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, file I/O, event handling, graphical components, and more. You will develop your programming skills in supervised lab sessions where help will be at hand should you require it.

View Object-Oriented Programming on our Module Directory

Statistics I

How do you apply the addition rule of probability? Or construct appropriate diagrams to illustrate data sets? Learn the basics of probability (combinatorial analysis and axioms of probability), conditional probability and independence, and probability distributions. Understand how to handle data using descriptive statistics and gain experience of R software packages.

View Statistics I on our Module Directory

Child Language Development (optional)

Gain a thorough overview of key concepts, methods, and theoretical approaches in research on language development throughout the lifespan. Investigate monolingual and bilingual child language acquisition, second language acquisition, language loss, and the attrition of the first language in second language learners, by looking at a broad range of studies, including ongoing studies from the Centre for Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi), at the University of Essex.

View Child Language Development (optional) on our Module Directory

Discovering Psychology: The Science Behind Human Behaviour (optional)

From this module you will gain an introduction to some of the various sub-fields that comprise psychology. It will include lectures on topics such as sensation, perception, learning, memory, abnormal psychology, child development, language, personality and social psychology.

View Discovering Psychology: The Science Behind Human Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

Brain and Behaviour

The brain is an extremely complex organ, and there is much that we still have to learn about its processes and functions. This module will detail the psychological mechanisms that underlie human behaviour and highlight the possibility that even our deepest thoughts and feelings arise from electrical and chemical activity in our brains.

View Brain and Behaviour on our Module Directory

Memory Attention and Language

Building on your knowledge from Cognitive Psychology 1, this module covers the major areas of cognitive psychology such as language, memory, and attention. You will develop your understanding of the psychological theories and data related to major areas of cognitive psychology.

View Memory Attention and Language on our Module Directory

Enhancing employability and career planning

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

View Enhancing employability and career planning on our Module Directory

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will be a great driver of change in the coming decades. This module provides an introduction to three fundamental areas of artificial intelligence: search, knowledge representation, and machine learning. These underpin all more advanced areas of artificial intelligence and are of central importance to related fields such as computer games and robotics. Within each area, a range of methodologies and techniques are presented, with emphasis being placed on understanding their strengths and weaknesses and hence on assessing which is most suited to a particular task.

View Artificial Intelligence on our Module Directory

Seeing and Hearing (optional)

This module will introduce you to cognitive psychology and covers major areas such as visual and auditory perception, and visual cognition. Through a series of laboratory sessions you will study the methods, theory and data underpinning our understanding of the processes involved in visual and auditory perception, and visual cognition.

View Seeing and Hearing (optional) on our Module Directory

Data Structures and Algorithms (optional)

Data structures and algorithms lie at the heart of Computer Science as they are the basis for the efficient solution of programming tasks. In this module, students will study core algorithms and data structures, as well as being given an introduction to algorithm analysis and basic computability.

View Data Structures and Algorithms (optional) on our Module Directory

Psycholinguistics (optional)

How do we receive and recognise speech? How are words and concepts stored in our mind? Building on your knowledge of Psycholinguistics gained in earlier modules, the focus of this module is on language processing. You will study how humans learn, represent, comprehend, and produce language. Topics covered include visual and auditory recognition of words, sentence comprehension, sentence production, language acquisition, and the neural representation of language. You will also have the opportunity to gain some practical experience with the elaboration of a research poster.

View Psycholinguistics (optional) on our Module Directory

Survival Analysis (optional)

What are the principles of actuarial modelling? And what are survival models? Examine how calculations in clinical trials, pensions, and life and health insurance require reliable estimates of transition intensities/survival rates. Learn how to estimate these intensities. Build your understanding of estimation procedures for lifetime distributions.

View Survival Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Psychology Project

This module gives you the chance to utilise the statistical and research methodology which you gained during your first two years and apply it to your own original research project. You’ll submit a written report and a supporting poster which will be assessed.

View Psychology Project on our Module Directory

Advanced employability skills and career progression

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

View Advanced employability skills and career progression on our Module Directory

The Neuroscience of Human Nature

Discover the neuroscience behind key elements of human nature. These include, understanding the faces and bodies of others, how we copy body language to show empathy and the processes that drive motivation and emotion. You will also investigate autism and schizophrenia which occur when these processes aren’t working effectively.

View The Neuroscience of Human Nature on our Module Directory

Information Retrieval

This module offers you an understanding of standard IR models, of their merits and limitations, and teaches you how to design and implement a standard information retrieval system. Discover the essential foundations of information retrieval and gain solid, applicable knowledge of state-of-the-art search technology. Explore advanced concepts of search applications such as personalisation, profiling and contextual search.

View Information Retrieval on our Module Directory

Evolutionary Computation and Genetic Programming

Evolutionary computation is an exciting area of artificial intelligence that focuses on systematic methods (known as evolutionary algorithms) inspired by Darwinian evolution for getting computers to automatically solve problems starting from a high-level statement of what needs to be done. Evolutionary algorithms are today routinely used to solve difficult problems in industry, medicine, biology, finance, and much more. Evolutionary algorithms can even consistently solve difficult problems which require solutions in the form of computer programs. This is a form of automatic programming that is known as genetic programming. In this module you will learn how to use evolutionary algorithms and genetic programming to solve real-world problems from an international authority in these areas.

View Evolutionary Computation and Genetic Programming on our Module Directory

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Assessment

Your assessment is based on written essays, practical lab reports, and examinations

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£18,170

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have 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

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email applicantdays@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 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 tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see 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 course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or 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 prospective 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.

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