MSc Brain and Cognitive Sciences: Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc Brain and Cognitive Sciences: Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Amsterdam

The brain is an immensely powerful and intricate processing device dedicated to the selection, perception, transformation and storage of the indispensable information we use to interact with our ever-changing, dynamic environment. The Research Master's programme in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) offers a broad selection of tracks that investigate all aspects of the field, from the molecule to the mind. The programme is unique in its interdisciplinary perspective that incorporates the fields of neuroscience, neurology, psychology, behavioural economics, linguistics, logic, computation and philosophy.

Studying Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam

Students benefit from the wide-ranging, leading expertise available at the Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center (ABC), the different research labs at the UvA and from the opportunity to participate in research projects led by internationally renowned ABC researchers. The Research Master's programme in Brain and Cognitive Sciences forms a challenging, interdisciplinary and international arena in which highly motivated researchers and students endeavour to understand the brain, its development and its disorders.

The Research Master's programme in Brain and Cognitive Sciences is offered by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), in close collaboration with the Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center (ABC).

Accreditation and degree

The Master's programme in Brain and Cognitive Sciences has been legally accredited as a research master by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). The accreditation has recently been reaffirmed by the NVAO with a highly positive report until May 2017

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) awarded the programme with an excellent qualification on the achieved learning outcomes.

Programme outline

The Master's programme aims to train students to become experts in their specific subfield of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences but with a clear understanding and appreciation of the contribution made by the other subfields. All students complete a core curriculum next to their chosen track within the Research Master's programme in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. The core curriculum of this programme integrates various perspectives from within the discipline and includes a weekly journal club and an annual summer school, both of which focus on cutting-edge topics in an intensively interdisciplinary setting.

Disciplinairy quality and interdisciplinairy insights

The goal is to provide a programme that is equal in disciplinary quality to monodisciplinary programmes but in addition trains you to be aware of and understand the separate contributions and research methods of the large number of disciplines that contribute to the field of cognition and thus not suffer the inadequacies of monodisciplines. This enables you to reflect on, interpret and answer complex questions arising in science nowadays and that arise in our modern society. Interdisciplinary thinking can not be learned from a book, but is a skill which develops from the learning process of combining insights of more than one discipline that can lead to new insights.

The focus of the cognitive neuroscience track is on a neuroscientific approach to cognition. It is firmly rooted in psychology and biology and focuses on how the brain processes information to enable complex cognitive functions. Besides fundamental neuroscience disciplines, brain imaging, systems neurophysiology and cognitive behaviour are strongly represented here. A question characteristic for this track is: “how do neural processes such as spikes and synaptic plasticity give rise to memory, conscious perception and behavioural decisions?”

The track aims at understanding how the brain implements cognitive processes by studying information processing in the healthy, active brain, but also by computer stimulation and interventional approaches targeting causal functions. In this track, the pathological brain is equally captivating as the healthy brain and will be highlighted by studying neurological and psychiatric disorders.


Year 1

  • 2 EC, Milestones, Promises and Pitfalls
  • 5 EC, Brain Organization and Cognition
  • 5 EC, Neurophysiology: Introduction to Electrophysiology & Imaging
  • 6 EC, Specialisation Course
  • 6 EC, Special Topic in Cognitive Sciences
  • 4 EC, Summer School
  • 26 EC, Research project 1
  • 6 EC, Elective

Year 2

  • 6-12 EC, Electives
  • 36-42 EC, Research project 2 12 EC, Literature Thesis

Specialised courses

Next to the track specific courses, the track Cognitive Neuroscience offers four specialised courses of which the students need to at least one, depending on their interest, as an obligatory module in their master programme.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 22, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 years
Full time
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Start date: Sept. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2017
Netherlands - Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info