MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience

Make use of state-of-the-art facilities at the Aston Brain Centre and at the Psychology laboratories

Why choose this course?

  • Unique in its emphasis on specialist training in the area Cognitive Neuroscience, coupled with transferable research skills for career and professional development
  • Specialist modules in Cognitive Neuroscience that combine theory and practice in paired sessions consisting of a lecture and an associated research practical
  • Opportunity to work with internationally renowned academics
  • Choose your own research project from a wide range of exciting topics in Cognitive Neuroscience

Entry requirements

This programme is open to suitably qualified international and UK graduates. We will consider applications from candidates with a good Honours Degree (a high 2.2 or above) in Psychology or a related field, for example Biology.

International students whose first language is not English must demonstrate a satisfactory command of English language. They should meet our minimum English language requirement by taking one of the following tests:
  • IELTS. Minimum requirement - 6.5 overall, 6.0 in each area.

  • TOEFL IBT. Minimum requirement - 93 overall, (19 in listening and speaking, 18 in reading and 23 in writing).

  • Pearson Academic. Minimum requirement - 63 overall, 57 in each area.

We do not accept a Password test.

Course information

Duration of programme: Full-time: 12 months, part-time: 2 years 
Start date:
Distance learning available: No
Intake: Approximately 15 per year

Teaching days: Normally Mondays and Wednesdays

Fees for 2015 entry:

UK/EU students: £5,500
International students: £12,750

International scholarships - We have scholarships for African & South American students

Aston Alumni discount - 20% discount 

This degree programme is unique through its dual emphasis on specialist training in the area Cognitive Neuroscience, as well as on generic, transferable research skills for career and professional development.

The course is based on a core curriculum of six taught modules and a research dissertation. The taught modules provide a detailed and critical understanding of contemporary research and analysis methods used in Cognitive Neuroscience, as well as generic professional development and research-related communication skills.

Students will acquire comprehensive research experience from working with researchers of international standing. The programme is especially recommended to graduates who want to:

  • specialise in the area of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • continue to do a PhD, or get a feel for research before embarking on a PhD

  • enhance their CV by a research-related Masters qualification

Modules and content:

  • Introduction into Cognitive Neuroscience
    Neuroanatomy; inferring mental states from physiological signals; classical paradigms of cognitive psychology; methods in ageing research; organisational cognitive neuroscience; visual processing; attention; the neuropsychology of memory and visual cognition; the biology of mood disorders; auditory grouping; the embodied brain; genes, brains and cognition.
  • Mini-project in Cognitive Neuroscience
    Literature review and critical reading; developing a research question; designing an appropriate experimental protocol; E-Prime programming; data collection and analysis; report writing.
  • Advanced Statistical Analysis
    Use of SPSS; choosing the correct statistical test; data screening; non-parametric statistics; ANOVA; ANCOVA; multiple regression; factor analysis; structural equation m
  • Advanced Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
    Principles of Neuropsychological assessment; principles and analysis of TMS; fMRI: basic physics and physiology, acquisition & safety, data analysis; principles of psychophysics; eye tracking.
  • Advanced EEG and MEG Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
    Physics and Physiology of EEG/MEG; EEG/ERP data collection and analysis; EEG/MEG time frequency analysis.
  • Communication skills in Research / Professional Development
    Navigation and management of the scientific literature; research ethics and risk assessment; communication of research findings, with particular emphasis on conference submissions and report writing.

In addition, students will complete a

  • Research Dissertation
    The dissertation project forms the major practical component of the course and provides further experience and training in academic research. Students will work under supervision of an experienced member of staff. As much as possible we will attempt to match students to supervisors with whom they share research interests.

Click here for the Programme specification

The course is delivered mainly through lectures, which are often followed up by laboratory-based practical sessions.

The course is assessed by a combination of coursework, examinations, practical work, oral and written presentations, and the dissertation project.


This course is designed to provide a postgraduate-level education and training for graduates seeking employment in Cognitive Neuroscience or related areas. The course is also an excellent foundation for studies a PhD level.

Personal development:
In addition to writing skills, students will learn how to deliver information concisely in the form of scientific posters and talks as well essential interview and CV writing skills.

All practicals and lab-based teaching make use of the state-of-the-art research facilities on the campus. These include

  • the Aston Brain Centre (various labs for M/EEG, fMRI and TMS research),
  • Vision Sciences (psychophysical laboratories), and
  • the Psychology laboratories (for computer-based behavioural experiments and studies involving special techniques, like motion analysis or eye tracking).

A dedicated computer suite and teaching room is available for Masters students on this programme.

Course director

Dr Martin Jüttner

Teaching staff

Find out more about our Psychology teaching staff. 

The following members of staff teach on the course regularly and can be approached to supervise dissertation projects (availability may change from year to year).

Adrian Burgess, PhD (Professor) – Current research interests: neural correlates (e.g., EEG activity patterns) of consciousness, functional connectivity, the effect of mobile telephones on the brain.

Luc Boutsen, BSc, MSc, PhD (Lecturer) – Research interests are in the psychology and cognitive neuroscience of visual cognition: shape, object, and face recognition; visual attention; categorisation; neuropsychology of deficits in visual cognition.

Paul Furlong, MPhil, PhD (Professor) – Research interests include functional neuroimaging, epilepsy and sensory-motor pathway function in health and disease. Committed to developing humane clinical research techniques in Neuroscience.

Mark Georgeson, (Professor) – Fundamental processes in human vision.

Stefanie Hassel, BSc, PhD (Lecturer) – Research interests include neurophysiological correlates (as measured by MEG, fMRI and DTI) of emotion perception, emotion regulation and social cognition in psychiatric disorders.

Carol Holland, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS (Senior Lecturer) – Current interests include memory and cognition in ageing, autobiographical memory, cognitive factors in driving, and pedestrian behaviour.

Ian Holliday, BSc, PhD (Professor) – Current research interests are in human psychophysics and brain imaging, particularly of visual processing.

Martin Jüttner, Dip. Phys., PhD (Senior Lecturer) – Current research interests: the development of object recognition in children, visual learning and categorization.

Klaus Kessler, Dip. Psych., PhD (Professor) – Current research interests: the use of MEG measures (evoked responses, oscillations, and synchronisation) as well as behavioural methods to investigate visual working memory, selective attention, the mirror system, and embodied (social) cognition.

Tim Meese, BSc, PhD (Professor) – Research interests: spatial vision, complex motion, the binding problem.

Liz Moores, BA, PhD, CPsychol (Senior Lecturer) – Current research interests include dyslexia and visual attention.

Nathan Ridout MA, MSc, PhD (Lecturer) – Research Interests: cognition and emotion; emotional processing in psychiatric disorders, autobiographical memory, processing of emotional faces. 

Gina Rippon, BSc, PhD CPsychol (Professor) – Current research interests include cortical activity mapping in developmental disorders (dyslexia, autism); MEG/EEG investigations of frontal lobe function; cognition/affect interactions.

Brian Roberts, MA, PhD (Professor) – Research in the auditory perception laboratory employs a variety of psychophysical techniques to investigate the cues used by the human auditory system for perceptual grouping and scene analysis.

Cristina Romani, BSc, MA, PhD (Senior Lecturer) – Current research interests include aphasia, acquired dysgraphia, developmental dyslexia and models of short-term memory.

Carl Senior, BSc, MSc, Ph.D (Reader) – Current research interests are in social cognitive neuroscience.

Laura Shapiro, BSc, PhD (Senior Lecturer) – Research interests: reading development, categorisation, concept development.

Stefano Seri, MD, (Professor) – Research Interests: 1) neurophysiological mechanisms underlying transient cognitive impairment in patients with epilepsy 2) mechanisms of language and social impairment in patients with pervasive developmental disorders, with emphasis on sensory processing and genetic correlates.

Joel Talcott, BS, PhD (Professor) – Current research interests include: cognitive neuroscientific and behavioural genetic approaches to the aetiology of reading and language disorders and neuroimaging of individual differences in task-elicited cognitive activity.

Caroline Witton, BSc, PhD (Reader) – Research interests include auditory processing, especially acoustic modulation perception and binaural hearing, by normal listeners and in clinical populations. Also, research into the acquisition of phonological and language skills, and into developmental disorders such as dyslexia.

LHS Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0) 121 204 3000      

Email: lhspgt@aston.ac.uk
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