2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology

BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology

Overview

The details
Neural Engineering with Psychology
H169
October 2021
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

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
  • Human experimentation
  • Brain and behaviour
  • Neuroscience
  • 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.
  • 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
  • Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).
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

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.

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

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.

Additionally, several academic staff from the Department of Psychology, will teach specialist modules in the course.

Specialist facilities

  • 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 trascranial 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.

Your future

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.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics C/4

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4 or Higher Level Mathematics grade 3.
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. Please note that 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.

From 2021, we will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

Flexible offers
Eligible applicants that choose us as their firm choice by the relevant deadline will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements than those published here so, if your final grades aren’t what you had hoped for, you could still secure a place with us. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

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 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.

Team Project Challenge

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.

View Team Project Challenge on our Module Directory

Mathematics for Engineers

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.

View Mathematics for Engineers 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

Digital Electronic Systems

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

View Digital Electronic Systems on our Module Directory

Foundations of Electronics I

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.

View Foundations of Electronics I on our Module Directory

Discovering Psychology: The Science Behind Human Behaviour

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 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

Signal Processing

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.

View Signal Processing on our Module Directory

Engineering Mathematics

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.

View Engineering Mathematics on our Module Directory

Team Project Challenge (EE)

This module is designed to help you develop a range of professional skills using a team project as the vehicle. The projects are based on typical industrial scenarios and incorporate the concepts of specifications, design, and implementation. Within the project, you will learn about sustainability, project and time management, design, legal issues, health and safety, data analysis and presentation, team reporting, and self evaluation.

View Team Project Challenge (EE) 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

Data Structures and Algorithms

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 on our Module Directory

C++ Programming

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the C++ programming language. The contents covered by this module include basic concepts and features of C++ programming (e.g., operator overloading), C++ Standard Template Library, and inheritance, function overriding and exceptions.

View C++ Programming on our Module Directory

Seeing and Hearing

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 on our Module Directory

Individual Capstone Project Challenge

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.

View Individual Capstone Project Challenge 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

Large Scale Software Systems and Extreme Programming

The world demands software systems with ever increasing richness of behaviours and degrees of complexity. However, traditional software engineering techniques, which were inherited with relatively minor adaptations from other, older branches of engineering, have been struggling to scale up to the challenges posed by modern software systems. As a result, a large proportion (as much as a quarter!) of software projects based on traditional methods end up being cancelled at some point in their lifecycle, with many more being late, over budget and with less features than initially stipulated. In this module you will learn why traditional software engineering techniques fail, and you will become very familiar (through lectures, labs, videos and a large group project) with a novel set of techniques, known as Extreme Programming and Agile Software Development, which fundamentally solve these problems. In the last decade, these techniques have been so successful that today as many as 80% of all projects adopt agilite methods.

View Large Scale Software Systems and Extreme Programming 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

Computer Vision

Computer vision is the discipline that tries to understand the content of images and videos. It has an extraordinarily wide range of applications; well-known ones include inspection on production lines, reading number plates, mixing live and computer-generated action in movies, and recognising faces. However, researchers are working on applications such as driverless cars, building 3D models from photographs, robot navigation, gaming interfaces, and automated medical diagnosis -- in fact, whenever you as a human looks at the world and try to understand what you see is fair game for computer vision. This module introduces you to the principles of computer vision through a series of lectures and demonstrations. You have an opportunity to learn how to use these principles and algorithms on real-world vision problems in the associated laboratories using the industry-standard toolkit, OpenCV.

View Computer Vision on our Module Directory

Digital Signal Processing

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.

View Digital Signal Processing on our Module Directory

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£19,670

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK 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.

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 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.

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 November 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 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 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 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.

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