2020 applicants
Undergraduate Course

BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology

(including Foundation Year)

Now In Clearing
BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology

Overview

The details
Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Foundation Year)
H172
October 2020
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology (including foundation year) is open to Home and EU students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your English language and academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. At Essex, 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.

On our BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology you can study a wide range of topics, such as:

  • 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 Year 1 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.
  • 88% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in professional employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating from Essex (DLHE 2017)
  • Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014)
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the 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

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering also offers excellent on-campus 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

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2020 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. 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 required. 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

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen 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.

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.

Essential Mathematics

Want to know the basic mathematical techniques of algebra? To understand calculus? To apply methods of differentiation and integration to a range of functions? Build the basic, then more advanced, mathematical skills needed for future study. Learn to solve relevant problems, choosing the most suitable method for solution.

View Essential Mathematics on our Module Directory

Computers and Electronics

Want to use a modern Unix/Linux based operating system? To build and text digital logic circuits and electronic circuits with a computer-based electronics simulator? Gain fundamental knowledge in computer science and electronic engineering. Understand computer architectures and components, and operating systems. Examine the principles of electronics and simple electronic circuits.

View Computers and Electronics on our Module Directory

Computer Programming

How do you test and evaluate the operation of simple computer programs? Or develop a program using tools in the Python programming language? Study the principles of procedural computing programming. Examine basic programming concepts, structures and methodologies. Understand good program design, learn to correct coding and practice debugging techniques.

View Computer Programming on our Module Directory

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

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

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 (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

C++ Programming (optional)

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 (optional) 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

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

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

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

Evolutionary Computation and Genetic Programming (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Computer Vision (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Digital Signal Processing (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,050

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.

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


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