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    Department of Psychology Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Medicine

    Psychology

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year FT

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Last Updated

    23 September 2019

Course description

The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging programme provides you with training in neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, neurophysiological data collection, and analysis techniques, allowing you to investigate and understand human behaviour, ready to make discoveries at the frontier of modern cognitive neuroscience. Throughout your course, you’ll use pre-existing data sets and have the opportunity to collect your own neuroimaging and neurophysiological data, giving you the chance to put your new technical knowledge of cognitive brain science into practice and draw conclusions from healthy and unhealthy brains.

If you have a passion for understanding the brain and behaviour, whether your background stems from biology, engineering, physics, mathematics, psychology or medicine, this interdisciplinary course has been designed to ensure that all students gain in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals of neuroscience, ready for an exciting career in research or industry.

Course structure

This 12-month course is designed to provide you with in-depth training in the core aspects of cognitive neuroscience and human neuroimaging, enabling you to generate and interpret neurobiological data in order to draw conclusions from healthy and unhealthy brains.

Throughout your course, our neuroscientists will introduce you to key investigative techniques including functional and structural MRI, skin conductance response recording, neuropsychology, transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Once you’ve mastered the techniques you need, we’ll give you plenty of opportunities to apply these throughout your course to test hypotheses in areas including emotional influences on behaviour, executive functioning, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, motor neuron disease and more.

The biggest part of your course is the Research Project in Cognitive Neuroscience. Over three months you’ll work with one of our world-leading experts based in the Department of Psychology. Research topics could range from theoretical, to basic neuroscience, with the opportunity to collect and analyse real-life cognitive brain science data using state-of-the-art equipment before presenting your findings at our summer student-led conference. These projects give you the opportunity to put your new techniques in experimental neuroscience into practice whilst exploring ideas at the cutting-edge of cognitive neuroscience. It's common for MSc research projects to form the basis of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Current modules - all students will study

  • Fundamentals of Cognition (15 credits) - topics include fundamental issues in cognition (memory, attention, learning, perception, affect), developmental processes from neuroscience, psychology and dynamic systems perspectives, and theoretical approaches.
  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience (15 credits) - provides you with an introduction to the core aspects of contemporary neuroscience covering Neuroimaging 1 (15 credits) - gain an overview neuroimaging techniques and fundamental data analysis methodologies employed around functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Neuroimaging 2 (15 credits) - building on Neuroimaging 1 - you'll focus on the techniques of electrophysiology, EEG, and MEG, optical methods and calcium imaging, neural signalling, sensation and sensory processing, movement and its central control, the `changing brain' and complex brain functions.
  • Data Analysis and Visualization (15 credits) - begin training in computational data analysis through hands-on computer lab-based classes.
  • Research Project in Cognitive Neuroscience (75 credits) - learn and apply appropriate research techniques, analyse and interpret the results and write up the research findings under the supervision of a neuroscientist.

Students will also study two modules in either pathway 1 or pathway 2.

Pathway 1:

  • Neuroanatomy and Neuroradiology (15 credits) - study practical neuroanatomy (human brain dissection) and gain an overview of neuroradiology (mainly magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and computed tomography [CT]).
  • Systems Neuroscience (15 credits) - gain an advanced understanding of the brain's major computational systems and how they have been modelled. 

Pathway 2:

  • Computational Neuroscience (15 credits) - the emphasis of this module is on the use of mathematical and computational models of single neuronal function.
  • Computational Neuroscience 2 (15 credits) - explore information theory, Bayes' theorem and learning algorithms in the context of neuronal information processing.

Learning, teaching and assessment

You’ll learn through small-group teaching in a mixture of seminars and lectures, and problem solving, programming and laboratory classes. You’ll be assessed through formal examinations and coursework which may include essays, presentations and a dissertation.

After your degree

With the valuable skills and knowledge that you’ll develop throughout your research training, including computational modelling, imaging, and analysis expertise, you’ll be well equipped for careers including:

  • Analysis and visualisation of data within hospitals, other healthcare providers or the pharmaceutical industry;
  • Roles within deep learning, machine learning or artificial intelligence;
  • Pursuing a career in research, understanding major diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and epilepsy within academia or governmental organisations.

If you choose to continue your research training, these courses are great preparation for a PhD in areas including neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and brain interfaces, or to begin clinical training.

Explore the breadth of neuroscience

At Sheffield, we have a strong research track-record in computational neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and systems neuroscience. Because of these expertise, our courses cover the full breadth of cognitive neuroscience, from the biological basis, to imaging and simulation, allowing you to discover and focus on the area that you’re most interested in as you progress through your course.

Other courses in cognitive neuroscience:

Funding and scholarships

Funding is available, depending on your fee status, where you live and the course you plan to study. You could also qualify for a repayable postgraduate masters loan to help fund your studies.

Find out more

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Online application form

Early applications are encouraged. Any applications received after all places have been filled will be deferred for entry the following year.


Visit the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

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