The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at home and international students who are seeking to build on their undergraduate qualifications to develop their project management skills and theoretical knowledge for a career in research or related disciplines. In addition, the programme is aimed at those from closely related science backgrounds to build up a knowledge and practical experience of cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career. As the theoretical background to, and techniques of, cognitive neuroscience are rarely available to students at undergraduate level, the main objective of this MSc is to provide students with detailed historical, philosophical, theoretical and practical knowledge of a broad range of cognitive neuroscience techniques. This wide-ranging knowledge will make students extremely strong candidates for future research positions, and provide them with an ability to develop broad research programmes, utilising a range of techniques, as independent researchers.
Teaching is generally organised into a number of 10 week course units involving 2 to 3 hours of lectures, seminars and practicals per week. Each 10 week unit is assessed by means of formative and summative assessments.
The summative assessment counts towards the final degree. For the programme as a whole, this assessment is divided (with small variations across programmes) in equal proportions between examinations (33.3%), written assignments (33.3%) and dissertation (33.3%).
The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions, workshops and lab placements.
Lectures provide key theoretical information on general topics such as cognition, emotion and neuropsychology and in depth knowledge of a range of techniques used in cognitive neuroscience research (focusing on their strengths and weaknesses). This core knowledge is then enriched by seminars, workshop, practical sessions and lab placements.
While seminars and workshops allow student-led discussions with the aim of developing their critical thinking, their oral communications and their writing skills, practical sessions provide students with in-depth and hands-on knowledge of selected research techniques as well as programming skills (i.e. Matlab included in the Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience module) - most wanted key abilities in cognitive neuroscience research. Importantly, practicals also include the application of a range of widely-used statistical tests and a critical understanding of research design, project management and data presentation. All skills that are easily transferable to any future career the students might decide to pursue.
Lab placements are a crowning point of the MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. They allow students to experience directly the “laboratory life” by observing and helping members of staff calibrating lab equipment, recruiting participants and collecting/analysing data. This is a unique opportunity for the students to witness leading experts at work in their own laboratory.
Finally, the dissertation module will give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge of theoretical principles, research skills and statistical techniques during the complete life cycle of a research project, by undertaking a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research.
Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to undertake their own independent study to prepare for their classes and broaden their subject knowledge.
Altogether, the program is focused on supplying students with broad theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience on cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology before embarking on a psychology related career.
Visit the Cognitive Neuroscience - MSc page on the Durham University website for more details!