MSc Cognitive Neuroscience


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“The School helped me to secure a work placement at a centre that undertakes world-leading research in cognitive neuroscience. This experience really fed into the skills that I’ve been able to develop over this year.”

In their words

Lisa Stephenson, Psychology Graduate


We spend a considerable time thinking about our future. However, research consistently shows that we tend to mispredict our future preferences and values, and typically underestimate how much we will change, a phenomenon referred to as a “presentism bias”.

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Key facts

(REF 2014)

Cognitive neuroscience is one of psychology’s most fast-moving and fundamental areas, bringing together aspects of psychology and neuroscience.

On our Cognitive Neuroscience Master’s programme you will combine research methodology training with in-depth study at the cutting edge of the field to gain understanding of the neural basis for cognition and sensorimotor skills. The course builds to a substantial piece of Master’s research, which you will undertake with the supervision of active researchers.

You’ll also benefit from a tailored research placement, through which you’ll acquire and hone further research skills.

You can complete your course in one year full-time or over two years part-time. It is ideal if you are a high calibre psychology graduate, or a graduate of a related discipline such as medicine, neuroscience, or biological sciences and are preparing for a PhD in the subject, or aim to pursue a career with a significant research element.


Our MSc Cognitive Neuroscience combines research method training with in-depth study of the subject as a whole. During your time with us you’ll become familiar with modern psychological research methods, for example EEG, TMS, and fMRI.

You will gain the ability to understand the neural basis of cognition, prepare research proposals, conduct critical reviews, and perform hands-on data analysis. You will also acquire transferable skills in oral and written communication, and in the analysis of complex data sets. You can also undertake a research placement tailored to the specific skills you need to enhance your employability.

The programme includes compulsory modules, which will give you a solid grounding in the subject’s key areas, and optional modules, which you’ll choose according to your specific interests.

The course builds to a substantial piece of Master’s research, which you will undertake with the supervision of active researchers in the School of Psychology. Take a look at the School of Psychology’s webpage to find a researcher who works on a topic that interests you. We encourage you to contact our academics to discuss your research interests and find out how we can help you explore those areas before you apply.

Course Structure

You can complete this programme in one year of full-time study, or over two years part-time. You’ll take three compulsory modules, complete a dissertation and choose an optional module.

Cognitive Neuroscience

Understanding how the brain functions normally and how it is affected by dysfunction presents one of the major challenges for research in the 21st century. As such, there is increasing demand for research training into cognitive processes of the human brain. This module brings together our expert cognitive neuroscience scientists and provides you with the opportunity to examine the scientific study of brain function across a variety of domains – for example perception, memory, action, and decision making. You’ll also study state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience research methods, for example fMRI, EEG, TMS, etc, and you’ll have the chance to undertake data analysis in practical sessions.

Psychology Lab Skills

This module gives you an introduction to the techniques and software programmes used in psychology data collection and analysis. You will receive guided hands-on experience and acquire skills that you can put to use in your dissertation research. or example, you will use E-Prime software to construct experiments, be given an introduction to MATLAB, and learn about the Qualtrics Survey platform.


Your dissertation is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to carry out a piece of independent research on a subject of your choosing. It also allows you to go into greater detail in the area that interests you most.

Previous dissertation topics:

  • Facial emotion processing
  • Motivated thought substitution and thought suppression
  • Probabilistic learning
  • Effects of social anxiety on attentional bias
  • Neural basis of autobiographical memories
  • Conscious and unconscious processing of size constancy
  • Eye movements and perceptual span during reading in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Object ownership, but not object touch, facilitates novel association formation
  • The impact of stress on cerebellar related functions
  • Virtual reality as a method of diagnosis and rehabilitation of spatial neglect in stroke patients

Research placement and professional skills

This module brings together our expert researchers and research organisations, along with our Careers Service, so that you gain both advanced practice knowledge and the skills you’ll need to increase your employability. In particular, you’ll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and valuable contacts by undertaking a placement in an external setting. Your module leader will help and guide you in your search for a suitable placement organisation. The type of placement is flexible, as long as you’re able to demonstrate that you’ll be utilising your research skills.

Optional modules

You will choose an optional module to complement your studies and areas of interests. Exact modules offered will vary each year but usually include both quantitative and qualitative research options.

Teaching and Learning


You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods throughout the course, including lectures, seminars, workshops and research placement.

Independent study

Your schedule will include timetabled classes, private study, completion of coursework assignments and preparation for sessions.You will also complete a major independent research project under expert supervision.


You will primarily be assessed through coursework, including critical reviews, research proposals and a research project.


After the course

This Master’s degree programme will equip you with advanced training in Cognitive Neuroscience research methods. It’s the ideal preparation if you’re interested in studying for a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and will be of great benefit if you’re planning, or already pursuing, a career with a significant research component.

Career destinations

  • Research associate
  • The third sector
  • Government setting

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 140 credits:

Name Code Credits


Understanding how the brain functions normally and how it is affected by disease presents one of the major challenges for research in the 21st century. There is increasing international demand for research training on cognitive processes in the healthy and diseased human brain. This module brings together UEA expert scientists in Cognitive Neuroscience offering you advanced knowledge of the field. In particular, the module provides you with the opportunity to examine the scientific study of brain function across a variety of cognitive domains (e.g. perception, memory, action) in healthy and clinical populations. Moreover, throughout the module several state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience research methods will be introduced and examined, including fMRI, EEG, TMS and lesion-symptom mapping, and you will have the chance to work through data analysis in practical sessions. Finally, you will have the opportunity to develop your own research proposal relating to one of the topics covered in the course in consultation with experts in the field.




The dissertation element of the Master's programme offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to carry out an independent piece of research on a subject of your choice in greater detail than any taught element of the programme can offer. It allows you to develop and display your skills in independent research, and demonstrate your depth of knowledge of a particular area of research. The dissertation should draw from material from other modules within the Master's programme.




This module gives you an introduction to some important techniques and software programs used in psychology data collection and analysis. You will receive guided hands-on experience. These skills are useful for your dissertation research, and will enhance your CV for job applications. You will learn how to conduct both systematic reviews and meta-analysis, gaining an understanding of how each technique can help you in your research. You will use E-Prime software to construct experiments, and have the option to learn MATLAB. MATLAB is a widely used programming language for data analysis, modelling and writing experiments. You will also learn about the Qualtrics Survey platform, presenting data clearly and using references. Your assessment will be essay based.



Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


The course builds on coverage of qualitative methods in the Introduction to Social Sciences Research Methods module, where the focus is on developing critical analysis skills that cover a range of ways of gathering and analysing qualitative data.




This module will provide teaching on quantitative research methods, data analysis and the use of statistical software (SPSS). It will provide a grounding in applied statistics which will both develop critical appraisal skills for reading research and enable you to undertake SPSS data analysis.




This module brings together UEA expert researchers, host research organisations and the careers service, offering you advanced knowledge of practical field and employability skills. In particular, the module provides the opportunity to gain hands on skills in real life settings. You will gain valuable employment skills and networks for your future career. You will seek placement organisations with Module leader help and guidance. The type of organisation can be flexible as long as you can demonstrate that you are using research skills. Placement admin and coordination takes place within the school.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

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  • REF 2014

    The School of Psychology is of international quality, with over 80% rated as world leading or internationally excellent.

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Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Psychology or a relevant discipline in the Sciences or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Entry Requirement

Applicants should normally have a good undergraduate honours degree (2:1) in Psychology, or a related discipline (e.g. neuroscience, medicine, biological sciences) with a strong psychology content, from a recognised higher education institution.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on their attaining a particular class of degree.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.5 in each component)
  • PTE (Pearson): 65 (minimum 58 in each component)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Special Entry Requirements

Applicants must specify a dissertation topic that would form part of their study. They must also name a possible supervisor here at UEA. Please see the list of staff and their research interests.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £6,500
  • International Students: £16,400

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


The University offers a variety of Scholarships each year to support students in their studies. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Student Loan.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515