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Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience is aimed at those who are seeking to build up knowledge and practical experience of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology. Students from our course go on to pursue careers in research or research related disciplines, as well as careers in industry, clinical settings or education.

The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Durham University stands out because it has many practical elements, like workshops and lab placements, that allow you to experience research rather than just hearing about it.

As the theoretical background to, and techniques of Cognitive Neuroscience are rarely available to students at undergraduate level, the main objective of this MSc is to provide you with detailed theoretical and practical knowledge of Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience techniques (incl. programming, project management, and statistics).

Course structure

Core modules:

Critical Research Practice is fundamental to learning and provides the knowledge and skills required to design, conduct and communicate research in psychology, ensuring it is conducted ethically. This module also teaches the analytical skills needed to evaluate research findings.

Statistics for Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences teaches the core statistical methods that are commonly used across psychology and the behavioural sciences, as well as developing your confidence in identifying and applying appropriate statistical techniques. This module will also develop your ability for statistical programming.

Advanced Statistics for Psychology and the Behavioural Sciences likewise provides an understanding of a set of advanced statistical methods that are used across psychology and the behavioural sciences and enables you to identify and apply appropriate statistical techniques.

Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience provides insightful and in-depth knowledge of the current theoretical and conceptual issues in the field of cognitive neuroscience as a way of expanding your understanding of the field. 

Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience teaches a range of techniques used in cognitive neuroscience research and highlights the strengths, weaknesses and appropriateness of a variety of cognitive neuroscience techniques. This module will also develop your ability to relate programming skills to cognitive neuroscience research and will include laboratory placements.

The Dissertation enables you to design, implement, analyse and finally discuss an empirical project relevant to your field of study, giving you the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge you have acquired and to gain experience of collaborating with other researchers and undertaking research and project management. The Department provides excellent support and opportunities for conducting a significant piece of independent research.


The MSc Cognitive Neuroscience is delivered via lectures, seminars, practical sessions, workshops and lab placements. There is an emphasis on practical experience and experiential learning.

Lectures provide in-depth knowledge on general topics such as cognition, emotion and neuropsychology, and techniques used in cognitive neuroscience.

Seminars and workshops allow student-led discussions with the aim of developing your critical thinking, oral and written communication skills.

Practical sessions provide you with hands-on knowledge of research techniques, programming (e.g. Matlab , R), statistics, research design, project management and data presentation.

Lab placements allow you to experience and apply research techniques.

The dissertation is an opportunity for you to conduct a significant piece of independent research with excellent support from the Department.

Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study.

It is expected that students spend on average 35 hours per week on the course, with about equal parts timetabled contact hours and independent study.

Assessments include examinations, written assignments, practical exercises, oral presentations, and the dissertation.

Entry requirements

2:1 in Psychology or Psychology related subject (or equivalent).

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway course at the Durham University International Study Centre.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £13,600 per year
EU students £29,900 per year
Island students £13,600 per year
International students £29,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Our Masters qualifications provide the essential skills and understanding to progress to research at a higher academic level or to launch a professional career.

Our students enter the workplace with knowledge relevant to careers in psychology but also with the transferable skills in analysis and problem-solving that are valued by employers.

Such skills are highly sought after in a range of professions and our postgraduates have progressed to roles that include consultants, advisors, human resources professionals, talent managers, business analysts, market researchers, public relations professionals, marketeers, administrators, managers, civil servants, coaches, trainers and teachers.

In addition, the broad nature of the Department means that some of our postgraduates also qualify for careers in clinical and healthcare settings.

Department information


The Department of Psychology provides a world-class teaching and research environment for postgraduates who are interested in understanding more about the thoughts, feelings and motivations that lie behind actions and human behaviours and the processes that trigger them.

Our academic team are leading experts in their specialisms and provide outstanding supervision for postgraduate learning and research in key areas of psychology including Developmental Science, Cognitive Neuroscience and Quantitative Social Psychology.

Our range of taught Masters qualifications offer the opportunity to focus on a specific aspect of psychology be it biological, cognitive, social, developmental or neuroscience-related and to learn key approaches to the discipline including statistical training. For those who are interested in pursuing their own research interests we offer the MA/MSc by Research which offers a direct route to the PhD.

All postgraduate taught courses include a postgraduate dissertation in a chosen subject, supported by a member of staff with expertise in that area. Students also have access to state-of-the art technical, clinical and experimental facilities to support learning and research.

In the Department, we are proud to have passionate and committed teachers, who love their subjects and want to share that passion. We encourage collaborative working on new ideas so that together we can make new discoveries about human behaviour.

To find out more see our department pages.


  • We are proud to hold an Athena SWAN silver award, underlining our commitment to equality and diversity.
  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023


For a current list of staff, please see the Psychology Department pages


Facilities in the Department are outstanding. They provide state-of-the-art support for postgraduate work in understanding mind and behaviour through high precision experimental methods and ecologically valid controlled environments.

Postgraduate students have access to dedicated laboratory space equipped with opportunities for training in eye-movement recording, motion capture and psychophysics.

Other specialist facilities include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and a number of laboratories.

The Department of Psychology is located close to many academic departments and University services, and is within walking distance of Durham’s historic centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

More information on our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

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Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
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Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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