Master in Cognitive Systems & Interactive Media


Program Description

Master in Cognitive Systems & Interactive Media

The mission of the Master in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media (CSIM) is to train the researchers and professionals who will investigate, develop and design the interactive cognitive systems and media of tomorrow. The results may be physical devices, such as robots, or logical ones, such as sophisticated software that provides new experiences and/or virtual environments.

The CSIM program draws on three main fields of knowledge: interactive technology, cognitive sciences, and interactive media. To achieve its objective, the program takes an interdisciplinary approach that is critical to providing students with an in-depth knowledge of the design, construction, development, deployment, and analysis of interactive cognitive systems and media, along with the necessary skills to successfully carry out all of these stages. The CSIM program's goal is to produce integrators of such interactive cognitive devices and programs.

The CSIM offers a wide range of lectures and tutorials by renowned scientists. In terms of theory, students will acquire a basic understanding of the cognitive functions of the brain and its computational models, key issues in the development of interactive cognitive systems. At the practical level, students will learn to design and develop creative and scientific solutions in order to rationally, consistently and efficiently integrate current and future technologies into interactive cognitive systems. The CSIM program offers students the scientific and practical tools they need to pursue their studies independently and to develop and integrate interactive cognitive systems into useful systems with real-world applications.


The main objective of the Master in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media is to train the next generation of researchers and professionals who will research, develop, design and analyze cognitive systems and interactive media.

Who is it for?

Students on this master's program should have a background in technology engineering (computing or telecommunications), psychology, biology, audiovisual communication or another area related to the program's interdisciplinary approach. Candidates must be highly motivated and hard-working and have both a strong interest in technology and cognitive sciences and a creative spirit. They must moreover have prior knowledge of programming and be willing to immerse themselves in technological topics. Structure

The program consists of a single track providing a solid, coherent vision of cognitive systems and interactive media. It is essentially geared towards research, and students must complete 20 compulsory credits, 20 optional credits, and a 20-credit final research project.

The master's program can be completed in one year if taken full-time, or in two, if taken part-time. The program is organized into terms and is designed to reflect the priority areas of research defined by the European Commission.


The master's program aims to train integrators of complex systems and devices by combining knowledge and skills from the fields of interactive communication, cognitive psychology, linguistics, art, digital technology, and communication.

The program is designed to reflect the priority areas of research defined by the European Commission, which it groups into the following general topics: Cognitive Systems: This track encompasses functional aspects of the concepts, methods and advanced technologies required to enable future smart devices to perceive, decide, feel emotions and behave. Specifically, it focuses on their capacity to adapt to and behave in complex environments, on their ability to interact and communicate with humans and other devices, and on how our understanding of biological systems can help develop the cognitive systems of the future. This track trains students to become the behavioral and psychological engineers of tomorrow's devices.

Content and Media: The objective is to prepare students to contribute to the challenges facing both today's society at large and particular individuals and organizations with regard to the vast variety of partially interactive content that they must present and process. Special emphasis is placed on key concepts and methods in the optimization of the interaction between humans and machines on the one hand and information and the media on the other. Additionally, this track explores, analyses and thoroughly experiments with specific features of interactive media with a view to broadening the range of possibilities and adding new potential rather than simply replacing or enhancing non-interactive media.

Quality of Life: In future, healthcare and social services will rely on interactive devices and media. The main challenges will be not only to cure but also to maintain and enhance the quality of life through cognitive systems and interactive media. Students on this track will be immersed in the psychological and technological aspects of this major development. To contribute to improving quality of life, new methods and media will need to strike the right balance between technological possibilities and human creativity.

Interaction and Mobility: This track will introduce students to this complex system of problems and train them to apply a wide range of concepts and technologies in order to help solve them. Likewise, human mobility involves many forms of transport, which generate a variety of needs with regard to device autonomy and the presentation of information.


In keeping with the research orientation of this program, the final research project will be carried out in the context of one of the research groups of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, thereby ensuring a rich and stable environment for acquiring experience in the field.

Knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired

The specific competencies acquired in this master's program include the ability to:

  • Develop interactive devices with cognitive systems using mixed methodologies based on analysis, design, development, deployment, and assessment.
  • Apply mixed methodologies from cognitive science, human-computer interaction, and communication.
  • Design solutions in the form of interactive devices through requirements analysis. This design is based on abstract biological and neurological computational models and interactive communication.
  • Develop, implement and code solutions designed to include advanced interface technologies, neurological simulations, and control languages, as well as interactive installations and devices.
  • Assess interactive devices using controlled, experimental, objective and quantitative methods.
  • Apply an interdisciplinary approach that combines cognitive science, interactive technologies and digital media to solve problems in ways that lead to new interactive devices.
  • Apply current theories and computational models about the brain and about how it relates to interactive devices by means of cognitive systems.
  • Apply these devices and systems to real-world problems.

Career prospects

This master's program offers a wide range of career opportunities. Students seeking a career in research will be able to pursue doctoral studies in any of the areas included in the program's interdisciplinary focus. Students seeking careers outside of academia will be able to draw on their experience with the analysis, design, implementation, experimentation, testing, and assessment of interactive devices via cognitive systems to enter a wide range of fields, from industrial and home robotics to outdoor interactive advertising, the smart technology used by the automobile industry, the development of systems to help rehabilitate people with physical or cognitive disorders, large-format interactive entertainment, or smart museum technology.


Remember that in order to be successfully enrolled, the presentation of an official English certificate is an essential admission requirement. Only applicants whose mother tongue is English do not need to pre¬sent an English certificate. Official results must be sent directly by the examining institution to the school’s Admissions Department and must comply with the required minimum scores:

  • TOEFL CBT: > 235
  • TOEFL PBT: > 575
  • TOEFL IBT: > 100
  • CAE: C1
  • IELTS: > 6.5

Applicants who, at the time of the application, still do not possess an official English certificate or who are in the process of obtaining it must include this information in their admission applications. Applicants who have completed their full Bachelor’s Degree at an English-speaking university must submit written evidence that the language of instruction of their studies was English.

Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

Its international orientation is one of the distinguishing features of UPF, a university with "its feet in Barcelona and its head in the world". This international projection has been recognised by th ... Read More

Its international orientation is one of the distinguishing features of UPF, a university with "its feet in Barcelona and its head in the world". This international projection has been recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education through the International Campus of Excellence seal (2010) and is backed up by the UPF's distinguished position in international rankings as one of the top Spanish universities... Read less