How can the human nervous system control a bionic prosthesis? How can we use engineering to develop treatments for nervous system conditions? Can we tap into and stimulate the brain to augment people’s cognitive abilities? Neural Engineering is an emerging area of Biomedical Engineering that uses engineering, maths, biophysics, computer science and psychology to develop treatment for neurological disorders and create innovative interfaces between the brain and computers.
We will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be a leader in the development of novel technologies for the rapidly expanding neural engineering industry, building systems that can change people’s lives. You will be taught in a collaboration with the Department of Psychology, which will give you a foundation in the cognitive processes within the human brain.
Our BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology will cover the following areas:
Brain-computer and neural interfaces
Analysis and classification of neural signals
Brain-activity recording (neuroimaging) and simulation technologies
Brain and behaviour
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. We are home to many of the world’s top engineers, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination, as well as technical excellence. You graduate as a creative, experimental and focused engineer ready to explore further how engineering can impact the people and world around you.
Programming at Essex
Teaching someone to programme is about opening a door. In your first year at Essex you will study a module that introduces you to programming using Python. We assess your ability to think in a programmatic way in the very first week of term and if you require additional support, we offer classes which will boost your skills and confidence with programming.
Why we're great.
You will be taught in the Essex Brain-Computer Interfaces and Neural Engineering (BCI-NE) Laboratory – the largest and best equipped of its type in the country and one of the largest in Europe.
We are top 30 in the UK for Computer Science in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
We are home to many of the world's top scientists and engineers in their field.
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.
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement with an external organisation, as part of one of our placement year degrees. The learning outcomes associated with this programme focus on using the specialist technical skills acquired in the first two years of the course and developing communications skills with customers.
Students are provided with support to secure a placement. Recent placements undertaken by our students have been with ARM, Microsoft, Intel, Nestlé, British Aerospace, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well a range of SME software and hardware companies.
Our expert staff
This course is taught by world-leading researchers in BCI, Neural Engineering, Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. The course is led by Professor Ricccardo Poli, who has many years experience of BCI and AI research, and has been successful in developing BCIs to improve decision-making. Professor Poli's research has obtained research funding of approximately £2.6m from the UK Ministry of Defence, and he has been principle investigator in two large US/UK projects, co-funded by the US Department of Defence.
Professor Reinhold Scherer has many years experience working in one of the best BCI Laboratories in the world, the Graz BCI Lab. He is a world leader in BCI research, and has extensive experience developing applications to improve the quality of life for individuals with cognitive and motor disabilities, including those affected by stroke, cerebral palsy, and other neurological disorders.
The Essex BCI-NE laboratory has state of the art equipment and laboratory facilities which are available to BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology students. Facilities include numerous top-of-the-range brain activity recording devices, including electroencephalography and functional near-infrared spectroscopy, several brain stimulation devices (including transcranial magnetic simulators and transcranial current simulants), a sophisticated robotic positioning system, three soundproofed Faraday cages (which reduce electromagnetic and ambient noise during human experimentation), and virtual reality systems.
We have six laboratories that are exclusively for Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs when they are not being used for teaching.
All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10.
Software includes Java, Python, C++, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio and Project.
Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (QMNet++)
We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robots, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.
You will also benefit from the extensive learning resources within the Department of Psychology
Our multi-million pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) allows staff to investigate brain activity, and to measure eye movements and other physiological responses.
Dedicated laboratories, including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite.
Interest in neural engineering technologies for both disable and able-bodied individual has grown exponentially in recent years, and today there are a plethora of technologies being trialled that improve communication, decision making, motor control, memory, attention, learning and problem solving. But also, correspondingly, large-scale initiatives, from the US and UK military, to Elon Musk's Nueralink project, are seeking practical exploitation of such technologies.
This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to be a leader in the development of novel technologies and applications for this rapidly developing and innovative industry, as well as the well-established biomedical, electronic and software engineering.
The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering has a large pool of external contacts who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities. Read more about computer science and electronic engineering career destinations here.
We also work with our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
GCSE: Mathematics C/4
BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include Standard Level Mathematics grade 4, or a minimum of 3 in Higher Level Mathematics. We will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) 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.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.
Access to HE Diploma:15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.
What if I have a non-traditional academic background? Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.
You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here
If you are a mature student, further information is here
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.
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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 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.
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.
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, therefore all modules listed as 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.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components and modules explained
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.
What this means
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.
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.
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 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:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
Discover how the discipline of psychology informs and shapes five psychological professions: clinical psychology; educational psychology; forensic psychology; occupational psychology; and sports and exercise psychology. In a mixture of lectures and classes, you will evaluate how psychological theories and knowledge gained from research are used in each of these aspects of human behaviour, and how they can be used to solve some of the problems encountered in different areas of life.
Our Team Project Challenge gives you the opportunity to develop a range of professional skills by working as part of a small student team on a specific project. The projects are research-based and incorporate the concepts of specifications, design, and implementation. You’ll learn about sustainability, project and time management, design, legal issues, health and safety, data analysis and presentation, team reporting, and self-evaluation.
You’ll also develop skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, agility, leadership, collaboration across networks, and effective oral and written communication, as well as curiosity and imagination, all of which will enhance your knowledge, confidence and social skills necessary to innovate and succeed in a competitive global environment.
You’ll be introduced to some key elements of mathematics that are essential to engineering. You'll develop your understanding through working on examples in class, and through practical laboratory-based exercises using the programming tool, MATLAB.
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.
This module develops the fundamental concepts introduced in the Digital Systems Architecture. We examine how data are represented within digital systems, including floating point, 'text' and 'data' files, and how the conversions between internal and human-readable forms are performed. The design and applications of higher-level logic elements such as counters, registers and multiplexers are discussed, as well as the more general concept of the finite state machine and its design. Transmission of digital data between systems is introduced by examination of the RS232 protocol. Further, fundamental decisions on how such sources should be represented in digital format include sample rates and quantization accuracy are discussed. In the case of audio and video especially, the possibilities for signal processing and data compression are investigated
This module is one of two concerned with scientific and engineering foundations on which electronics is based. All electronics components are based on physical principles that relate voltage, current flow and the storage or loss of energy. All the theory we need to learn about how circuits behave is based on the fact that electric charge cannot be created or destroyed, and that the energy of each electron just depends on where it is, and how fast it is moving. How charges move in materials depends on their crystal structures. From basic ideas, the main principles of electronics are built up so that they can be used in the wider study of electronics to solve problems.
This module provides an introduction to neural-engineering research, design and methodology, including ethical aspects, and a step-by-step introduction to essential statistical research techniques. You will be introduced to the basic principles of research design, and to a variety of experimental and correlational techniques for studying neural and physiological measurements of human mental activities and behaviours.
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.
This module provides you with a basic understanding of the analysis of linear systems and introduces you to filter design techniques for analogue signal processing. The Laplace transform and its application in circuit and system theory are introduced, together with the concepts of system transfer function and impulse response, and techniques for deriving the transfer function of a circuit.
The steady-state response of systems to sinusoidal inputs is presented. Bode plotting techniques are covered, and the effects of feedback are investigated, and techniques for ensuring stability are discussed.
Butterworth and Chebyshev filter approximations are introduced. After covering the concepts of frequency and impedance transformations, selected standard analysis and design techniques applied to low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-stop filters of both passive and active types are examined.
You will become familiar with most of the present-day neuroimaging and neuro-stimulation methods used in neuroscience and neural engineering and gain practical experience in applying some of these methodologies, including interpreting neuroimaging data.
Brain-Computer Interfaces and Peripheral-Neural Interfaces
This module provides an introduction to interfaces between the nervous system and computers as well as some of their applications.
Neural interfaces take two forms:
1. brain computer interfaces (BCIs), which allow direct communication between the brain and a computer and other devices,
2. peripheral neural interfaces (PNIs), which provide a direct communication channel between the nerves that control muscles or that are responsible for sensing (e.g., touch) and other systems.
The types of interfaces covered are non-invasive (they do not require the introduction of any external probes inside the body) and include:
1. BCIs based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals, in particular relying on rhythmic brain activity and evoked activity,
2. BCIs based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS),
3. PNIs based on electromyography (EMG, neural signals from the brain to the muscles recorded from muscles).
The types of applications introduced will include, for example, spellers, pointer control, games, VR, prosthetic control, robotic control.
You will be exposed to the basic analysis and classification of neural data required to operate BCIs/PNIs and will gain hands-on experience with building a basic BCI.
Need to build on your mathematical knowledge? Want to apply mathematical skills to engineering? Study the fundamental mathematics for engineering, covering topics like integral transform theory, probability theory, and numerical integration. Gain experience of using Matlab software to understand and solve problems.
This course covers the principles of project management, team working, communication, legal issues, finance, and company organisation. Working in small teams, students will go through the full project life-cycle of design, development and implementation, for a bespoke software requirement. In this course, students gain vital experience to enable them to enter the computer science/Electrical engineering workforce, with a degree backed by the British Computer Society, and by the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
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.
The highlight of our undergraduate degree courses is the individual capstone project. This project module provides students with the opportunity to bring together all the skills they have gained during their degree and demonstrate that they can develop a product from the starting point of a single 1/2 page description, provided either by an academic member of staff or an external company. In all the student spends 450 hours throughout the academic year, reporting to their academic tutor, and in the case of company projects, to a company mentor. All projects are demonstrated to external companies on our Project Open Day.
This module aims at introducing students to digital processing techniques, including sampling and analysis of digital signals, signal conditioning, the design of digital filters, and digital signal processing applications. Discrete signals and systems are studied, with an emphasis on the Fourier and Z-transforms that are necessary for the analysis of discrete signals and design of digital filters.
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.
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 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 EU applicants 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.
Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.
If you are an undergraduate student residing in the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2023, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Applicant Days. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from February to May 2023 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus Applicant Days run from March to June 2023 on various weekdays and Saturdays. Applicant Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive. This is why we have increased our Applicant Day Travel Bursary cap, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Applicant Days, including Terms and Conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Applicant Days webpage.
If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Applicant Days if you are able to, so if you’d like to book a place, please contact our Applicant Day Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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 University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
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.