MSc in Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics
University of Birmingham - College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Edgbaston, United Kingdom
1 - 2 year
Full time, Part time
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Earliest start date
* for international students requiring visas / 31 August 2023 is the application deadline for UK students
Our Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics MSc provide flexible interdisciplinary research and access to state-of-the-art equipment for brain imaging, electrophysiological recording, psychophysics, advanced data analysis, computational modelling and robotic systems.
This MSc course aims to integrate two active and rapidly developing fields, computational neuroscience and cognitive robotics, to generate innovative strategies and solutions for scientific problems and technological limitations.
From modelling human cognition to programming robots to act in their environment, this course crosses the boundary between several disciplines, including biology, neuroscience, psychology, and computer science.
The CNCR MSc course is highly interdisciplinary encompassing psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, computational modelling, neuroimaging, robotics, and patient rehabilitation. The course is designed for those who are interested in applying knowledge of neural systems, brain function, and modelling to research in human cognition, perception, sensory and motor systems as well as the design of bio-inspired and biologically plausible robotic systems. It has a strong research focus with hands-on modules and practical applications. The course is aimed at both students from psychology/neuroscience with a strong quantitative background and at students from computer science and physics that want to apply their knowledge to neuroscience.
A significant part of the CNCR MSc Course involves being part of a research group and conducting an independent research project. For this, you will be assigned to a supervisor and supervise the research project. Your research project is written up as the master's dissertation and counts for one-third of your degree. Exposure to a different research group is intended to broaden research experience and widen the research skills repertoire.
The course is organised jointly through the Schools of Psychology, Computer Science, Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.
Your choice of course modules will be individualised and agreed upon between you and your supervisor. The goal is to develop your knowledge and skills to allow you to carry out your research project in Semester 3 while learning a wide range of neuroscience, computation, and experimental method topics. Several modules rely on Matlab programming skills for their practical exercises, which could be used also in the placement and project. Students that don't have sufficient programming knowledge will be required to attend a programming course in Semester 1.
You will be taught to devise a research plan and will read and comment on scientific articles. You will choose the topic for your research project with the help of a research proposal module. The module allows you to participate in CNCR seminars, journal clubs, and lab activities to have sufficient knowledge to carry out the research project. This will expose you to cutting-edge research and labs.
Why study this course?
This course provides a flexible inter-disciplinary research apprenticeship, suitable for those seeking to begin commercial or postgraduate research.
You will have access to state-of-the-art equipment for brain imaging, electrophysiological recording, psychophysics, advanced data analysis, computational modelling and robotic systems, supervised by internationally leading researchers.
Scholarships and Funding
Postgraduate Loans for Masters students
Student Finance England's new Postgraduate Loan application service is now open for Master's degrees in the UK. The Postgraduate Loan for Masters study will be:
- A contribution towards the costs of study, i.e. it will be at your discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs or other costs;
- Non-means tested;
- Paid directly to you into a UK bank account;
Scholarships and studentships
Birmingham Masters Scholarship
We are offering over 200 awards of £2,000 to support the brightest and best applicants wishing to undertake Master's study at the University during 2023-24.
Postgraduate Progression Award
Our Postgraduate Progression Awards offer final-year undergraduates at the University of Birmingham a fee discount of £1,500 for postgraduate taught study.
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
The taught modules and research training will provide hands-on expertise and knowledge to successfully perform two short research placements and a longer independent research project, which will be closely supervised by a relevant member of the academic staff.
Taught modules cover relevant aspects of cognitive and brain function, including brain imaging and robotics. A wide range of optional modules is available so that the taught modules are tailored to your interests and previous knowledge. These modules are intended to enhance either the neuroscience, the computational or the robotics components of the course.
- Mind, Brain and Models
- Proposing Research in Psychology
- Practical Research Skills
- Intelligent Robotics
- Advanced Robotics
- Robot Vision
- Introduction to Computational Methods
- Software Workshop 1
- Fundamentals in Brain Imaging
- Application of Electrophysiological Approaches in Cognitive Neuroscience
- Introduction to Neuroscientific Methods
- Neural Computation
- Foundations of Data Science
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event, we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
Program Tuition Fee
You will receive training in computational and research methods and will gain an overview of current research in neuroscience and robotics. The programme will prepare you to go onto high-quality PhD programmes, leading to work in a range of fields from advanced robotics to cognitive neuroscience.
Many of our students receive job offers before they graduate. Recent students have found employment working and training in an IT consultancy; software engineering at Google; and setting up startup companies to develop IT products inspired by human cognition.
Several of our students receive PhD offers before completing the course; one of our recent students will be studying for a PhD in computational neuroscience at University College Dublin with funding secured via a postgraduate award from the Irish Research Council. Others choose to stay in Birmingham for PhD studies. The course gives you an opportunity to showcase your talent in the School of Psychology and the School of Computer Science, and to increase your chances of pursuing an academic career within the University of Birmingham.