About This Masters Degree
In this specialisation you acquire a unique combination of in-depth knowledge on human brain function, perception and cognition, paralleled with an extensive and hands-on training for using the most advanced non-invasive brain imaging (including fMRI, fNIRS, EEG, MEG) and brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS) techniques. The obtained knowledge and skills provide an excellent background to flexibly apply these techniques in fundamental as well as applied and clinical research settings.
This teaching programme covers relevant topics of Cognitive Neuroscience and reflects the research expertise of the ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ group at the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (M-BIC). By addressing key issues in perceptual and cognitive brain research, you will build a detailed understanding of how the ‘working’ brain perceives, feels, moves, learns and creates a conscious mind. Specific course topics include auditory and visual perception, attention, language, sensorimotor functions, learning and memory as well as brain connectivity and connectomics and neuroimaging in disorders of consciousness.
Moreover, you learn to translate this knowledge in empirical research by extensive hands-on training in all aspects of the experimental cycle, including experimental design, recording and manipulating brain activation, and advanced data analysis. Methods that you will learn to apply include (f)MRI, fNIRS, DWI, TMS, tDCS, EEG/MEG as well as data analysis in Matlab, Brainvoyager and EEGLAB.
You work with the international and multidisciplinary M-BIC team, including psychologists, biologists, physicians, engineers, physicists, and computer scientists. The M-BIC offers a unique research infrastructure with (ultra) high field imaging facilities (3T, 7T) and one of only five 9.4T systems worldwide, as well as fully equipped EEG, fNIRS and TMS/tDCS laboratories. Research is organized around perceptual, cognitive and methodological themes as described on the M-BIC website. Examples of applied/clinical research projects include fMRI-based neurofeedback therapy (e.g. depression, spider phobia), brain-based communication in locked-in patients, TMS/tDCS-guided brain recovery after stroke or brain injury, brain-based assessment of dyslexia intervention, tinnitus remediation and hearing-aid applications.
Thanks to the local research infrastructure as well as an exceptionally rich international network, you have ample opportunities for internships in cognitive neuroscience and related fields in our center and at top universities throughout the world (including Cambridge, Harvard, NIH, Stanford, University College London). Internship research topics range from fundamental brain research (e.g. neural basis of perceptual learning, layer-specific attention effects in visual cortex at 7T fMRI) and applications of advanced neuroimaging methods (e.g. brain-computer interfaces, multi-modal imaging) to clinical research (e.g. tDCS-based alleviation of phantom pain, neurofeedback training in Parkinson patients).
This specialisation provides an optimal basis for a career in brain research (how does our brain work) at university or research institutes as well as in applied/clinical research settings. Graduates will also be able to use their acquired expertise in biomedical industry, education and scientific consultancy (state-of-the-art application of neuroimaging methods).
Is this programme right for me?
The specialisation Cognitive Neuroscience aims at students interested in an academic or related career with a central focus on understanding normal and/or abnormal brain function using neuroimaging techniques. Students with undergraduate backgrounds as diverse as, for example, psychology, biology, computer science, physics, and biomedical engineering are suited for the programme.