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Cognitive Neuroscience - MSc


Course Description

This MSc is provided jointly by the Department of Psychology and the York Neuroimaging Centre (YNiC), and recruits contributing faculty from other university departments such as The Hull-York Medical School. The overarching aim of the MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at York is to provide a bridge between undergraduate study and PhD research in cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology and imaging methods.

The course has been developed around training and research using neuroimaging techniques, and the experimental and analytical methods on which they depend. Through our specialist modules students are introduced the principles of neuroimaging, gaining hands on experience in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), eletroencephalography (EEG) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), learning how to design, analyze and evaluate neuroimaging experiments, and how such experiments are contributing to our understanding of the brain mechanisms underpining cognition and behaviour. Along the way, students also receive training on generic statistical, writing and research skills, and are exposed to main research topics in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Finally, students complete an extended empirical project, typically using a neuroimaging technique of their choice. The empirical project is supported by the state-of-the-art facilities at YNiC.

Content

Specialist modules place neuroimaging in the wider context of cognitive neuroscientific research and introduce students to the principles of neuroimaging the design of neuroimaging experiments and specialist methods required for the analysis of neuroimaging data. These include:
-Basic principles in neuroimaging
-Research Design and Analysis in Neuroimaging
-Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience
-Programming in Neuroimaging

Empirical project
Project enables students to participate in the design and implementation of a theoretically-motivated piece of pure or applied research in cognitive neuroscience providing hands-on training in advanced brain imaging methods, some of which are being developed at York. Topics are chosen so as to be timely and practicable within the relevant resource and time constraints. We regard it as important that the topic not only engages the interest and enthusiasm of the student, but is also a good match to the specialist expertise and knowledge of the supervisor.

Many of our students' projects are published. Each year we offer projects on a wide variety of topics linked to faculty research interests. For example students have used fMRI to investigate the processing of emotional and social cues, representation of semantic knowledge in the brain, disruption of visual cortex in patients with macular degeneration and brain mechanisms underpinning language understanding, face processing, number processing or anxiety and risky behaviour. Students have also used MEG and TMS to investigate brain mechanisms of memory for words and pictures, connectivity patterns between brain regions and auditory perception. Some of these projects are methodological in nature in that they aim to study the analytical strategies to apply in brain research, or they aim to develop the use of new imaging methods.

General research modules
These provide a solid grounding in contemporary issues in psychology and neuroscience, psychological research methods, professional and generic skills.

Assessment
Modules are assessed through a variety of different assignments and exams including practical reports, essays, multiple choice questions, critical analysis of published papers, short notes on a range of topics, dissertation on the Empirical Project, poster presentation.

Backgrounds

This challenging but rewarding course will best suit applicants who are:
-Interested in the brain and its workings (see What is cognitive neuroscience? in the overview)
-Interested in Psychology as a biological science
-Considering a career in research, especially in psychology, cognitive Neuroscience or imaging methods (many other career choices would be compatible with the general scientific, academic and professional training you will receive as part of the course)
-Comfortable with computers and statistics

Visit the Cognitive Neuroscience - MSc page on the University of York website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A degree or equivalent qualification, normally in Psychology, Neuroscience, Biology, Computer Science, Engineering or a related numerate discipline, and normally at the level of an upper second class honours award. Admissions decisions are made primarily on the basis of information provided on the graduate application form including whether the applicant has familiarity with issues in experimental psychology and its applications; applicants are not normally interviewed.

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Recipient: University of York

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