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Cognitive and Decision Sciences - MSc

Course Description

The Cognitive and Decision Sciences MSc at UCL studies the cognitive processes and representations underlying human thought, knowledge and decision-making. It integrates a wide range of disciplines and methodologies, with the core assumption that human cognition and choice are computational processes, implemented in neural hardware.

Degree information

Key topics include the nature of computational explanation; the general principles of cognition; the scope of rational choice explanation; probabilistic models of the mind; learning and memory; and applications to economics and business. The programme involves training in experimental design and methodology, building computational models and undertaking original research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of six core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Introduction to Cognitive Science
-Principles of Cognition
-Research Statistics
-Research Skills and Programming for Cognitive Science
-Judgement and Decision Making
-Knowledge, Learning and Inference

Optional modules
-Applied Decision-making
-Human Learning and Memory
-Cognitive Neuroscience
-Social Cognition: Research Methods
-The Brain in Action
-Neural Computation: Models of Brain Function
-Consumer Behaviour
-Understanding Individuals and Groups
-Social Neuroscience
-Social Cognition, Affect and Motivation
-Current Issues in Attitude Research
-Talent Management
-Business Psychology Seminars
-Interpretation of Forensic Evidence
-Consulting Psychology
-Designing and Analysing fMRI Experiments

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 10,000–12,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, class presentations, and practical, statistical, computational and experimental class work. Student performance is assessed through online tests, coursework, essays, practical experimental and computational mini-projects, and the dissertation.


Students have gone on to find employment in the following areas: research, teaching, lecturing, consultancy, finance, and marketing.

For more detailed careers information please visit the department website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/study/masters/TMSPSYSCDS01

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Managing Director, Temasek International Pte Ltd
-Consumer Behaviour Research Expert, TNS
-Insight Consultant, Kantar World Panel
-Assistant Policy Adviser, Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team
-Software Developer, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York

On completion of the programme, students will have acquired theoretical and empirical knowledge in cognition science and decision-making, and a broad range of practical research skills. They will have made original contributions to this field in their research projects, and will understand how to apply their knowledge to real-world decision problems. They will also have developed various analytical and logical reasoning skills which can be applied to many domains of research and non-academic work. They will, in addition, have an understanding of the philosophical issues underlying cognitive science and neuroscience.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The programme draws on an outstanding faculty, ranging across many disciplines, including internationally renowned researchers in psychology, computational modelling, neuroscience and economics.

London is one of the global hot-spots for research in cognition, decision-making, and neuroscience; and it is an intellectual hub, with a high density of research seminars and scientific meetings that attract leading international researchers.

London is also one of the world's foremost commercial and political centres, with consequent opportunities for high-level applied research; and it is a vibrant, culturally diverse and international city, with world-class music, theatre and galleries.

Visit the Cognitive and Decision Sciences - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. A student peer group will often contain a broad mix of undergraduate degrees. Most common backgrounds include psychology, economics, philosophy, computer science, cognitive science, linguistics and law. An undergraduate degree not listed here should not, however, deter a potential applicant who can demonstrate an understanding of the focus of the course and enthusiasm for cognitive science and decision making, although they should be prepared for the mathematical component contained in the MSc-level Research Statistics module.

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