Recent years have been characterised by a rapid development of functional imaging technology, with increasing availability worldwide of high-resolution scanners for research and clinical applications. Functional brain imaging requires an understanding of current concepts in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, as well as a basic appreciation of neuroimaging techniques and of the mathematical and statistical foundations for data analysis.
The rapid development of functional imaging technology and research has contributed to the call for improved education and training in functional imaging. Within this context the aim of the programme is to provide a strong theoretical and practical introduction to the world of neuroimaging research. It will equip students with a range of practical research skills to enable them to successfully complete research of this kind, either as part of a research team or as an individual.
The course will also provide the necessary training in safety and in the rules of scanner operation. This will allow students to conduct a neuroimaging research project under the supervision of an Authorised User on Brunel’s 3T scanner, or else to conduct a project in one of its related ERP imaging or psychological laboratory facilities.
Who is this degree for? If you want to know how to use an MRI scanner and learn what neuroimaging has already taught us, this MSc is for you. Whether you want to pursue neuroimaging research, or simply become an expert in this important field of science, the Functional Neuroimaging MSc provides the relevant skills and knowledge. The course is a good preparation for a PhD in functional brain imaging, or for working as part of a neuroimaging team with fMRI and/or other imaging modalities.
Course Content Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing modules (all core) are likely to be drawn from the following areas: Principles of Neuroimaging; Practical Neuroimaging; Cognitive Neuroscience; Visual Neuroscience. Check the web for the latest updates.
Assessment Assessment is by coursework, one multiple choice exam and a final research project. Under the supervision of one of the Centre for Cognition and Neuroimaging’s research team, students will conduct a functional imaging experiment. This may involve use of the in-house EEG or fMRI facilities.
Careers The MSc in Functional Neuroimaging is an invaluable companion or prelude to a research degree or research position in functional neuroimaging, one of the most rapidly growing fields of scientific research. Academic or research positions include: MPhil/PhD in neuroimaging or related subjects; Research Assistant on a neuroscience project, or a related project in psychology or biology. Imaging now has applications from the physical sciences to projects in economics and the social sciences; Technical Assistant in functional neuroimaging. Non-academic positions include: any occupation that requires a higher level of analytical, technical and presentation skills than can be offered by a graduate in social sciences.
Here is what a few of our past students have to say: Anna: “After completing an MSc degree in Educational Psychology in Poland I moved to the UK where I worked clinically with people suffering from epilepsy. During that placement, inspired by the state-of-the-art research conducted there, I developed a strong interest in neuropsychology. As a result I took up an MSc in Functional Neuroimaging at Brunel. The course appealed to me not only because it was an excellent introduction to this method, but also because it provided invaluable hands-on experience. The course was delivered by very competent and knowledgeable staff, who were enthusiastic about their subject. Their approachability and enthusiasm helped in managing course workload, as well as in developing my passion for research. Functional neuroimaging, being primarily used as a research tool in cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and social neuroscience, was taught in a very uncomplicated yet comprehensive manner. The course opened up research opportunities at many well-established research centres in the country and proved to be a key skill when applying for jobs after graduation. I now work partly at the University of Cambridge, and partly at the neuropsychological centre providing rehabilitation for people who have sustained brain injury. This is a fabulous chance to combine research and clinical experience, and knowledge and skills gained during the MSc prove extremely helpful in my work. I will always be very grateful to all Brunel’s staff for the support and help that they provided, even after graduation!”
Priya used her MSc as a transition to research work : “My year in Brunel’s MSc program in Functional Neuroimaging provided a crucial bridge for me between my undergraduate and doctoral studies. As an undergraduate I studied Cognitive Science and was interested in neuroimaging, but had few opportunities to work with a scanner. One of the aspects that drew me to the program at Brunel was the chance to design and carry out my own fMRI study; in addition to submitting the results as part of my degree requirements, I was able to present them as a poster at a scientific conference. The substantive coursework was also helpful for me in transitioning from undergraduate to postgraduate studies in neuroscience. Going into my MSc year at Brunel, I was not sure whether I was ready for or interested in a career in neuroscience research. Today I enjoy my doctoral studies and do research in an fMRI laboratory.”