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Cognitive Neuroimaging and Data Science MSc

Start date
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

The Cognitive Neuroimaging and Data Science MSc helps to provide fundamental insight into important theories in cognitive and computational neuroscience, and hands on experience in methods of neuroimaging and data science techniques.

To understand the brain and performance, there is need to merge the traditional, hypothesis-based experiments with unbiased, large-scale machine learning approaches to study the dynamic interactions between brain regions and its relations to behaviour. 

This MSc offers advanced learning in two different pathways 1) Cognitive Neuroscience and 2) Computational Neuroscience.  

For your studies and research, you will have access to various neuroimaging tools (for example, MRI, MEG, EEG, brain stimulation and fNIRS) housed in the Centre for Human Brain Health. You will develop important skills associated with proactive problem solving and analysing big (neuroscientific) data. You will have the opportunity to interact with a broad range of researchers (from the Centre for Human Brain Health, School of Psychology and Computer Science) who will help you develop specific interests and skills within cognitive neuroimaging and data science.

Why study this course?

  • Create your own pathway by taking either a more cognitive or computational focus on neuroscience and combining optional modules from psychology, mental health, and developmental science.
  • Learning through small group teaching and hands on experience to develop skills in neuroimaging and data science
  • Transferability of data science skills to other disciplines, such as information technology, public health, medicine and medical imaging, marketing and human resources, and government agencies.

The course offers advanced learning in cognitive neuroimaging and data science. You will have the opportunity to interact with a range of researchers with different types of expertise who will help you develop your specific interests and skills. This degree will help you further your career, whether the next step is an academic PhD position or a professional job in the workplace. 


The course comprises of a series of taught core and optional modules. The core modules are designed to promote development of skills in experimental design, data science and analysis, and scientific writing.

Several core modules are shared across the two pathways, but some are specific to either the cognitive or computational neuroscience pathway

  • Research Methods & Skills in Psychology
  • Proposing Research
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Methods & Applications (cognitive neuroscience pathway)
  • Data Science for Behaviour and Brain I (cognitive neuroscience pathway)
  • Mind, Brain, Models (computational neuroscience pathway)

Optional modules are shared across MSc programmes in the School of Psychology. Examples of optional modules available at this moment are:

  • Translational Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Fundamentals in Brain Imaging
  • Application of Electrophysiological Approaches in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Modelling Development and Diversity
  • Introduction to Computational Methods (computational neuroscience pathway)
  • Data science for behaviour and brain I and II

Students on the computational neuroscience pathway can also take specific modules from Computer Science. For example:

  • Intelligent Robotics
  • Neural Computation
  • Machine Learning and Intelligent Data Analysis
  • Advanced Robotics
  • Robot Vision

Finally, students undertake a supervised research project, leading to a 6,000-word research thesis.

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.


Fees for 2023/24

  • UK students TBC
  • International students TBC

Learn more about fees and funding

Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

For further information contact the School directly or get in touch with the Funding, Graduation & Awards via the online enquiries system.

How To Apply

Please apply as soon as possible, as places are limited and the programme may close when full. Please ensure that your personal statement meets our requirements as failure to do so will result in delays to processing the decision on your application.

International students requiring visas

1 July 2023 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2023 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2024.

UK students

31 August 2023 is the application deadline for UK students. We are not able to consider applications for 2023 made after this date; a new application will need to be made for September 2024.

Applications for 2023 entry are now open.

Making your application

Personal statement template

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants should have obtained at least a 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject (eg, Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Physics, Engineering or Mathematics). 

With respect to the Cognitive Neuroscience pathway, applicants should have gained at least a 2:1 (or equivalent) in the research dissertation (i.e. experience of planning and conducting research and analysing data). Applicants who do not meet our requirement for a 2:1 in their final-year research project, but who have gained significant research experience in a cognitive neuroscience research lab(s) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

With respect to the Computational Neuroscience pathway, you must have a strong interest in learning in an interdisciplinary environment and must have substantial quantitative skills. Programming skills in Python, Matlab, Java, and/or C are desirable.

International Requirements

The course includes a variety of learning and teaching activities, including lectures, seminars, journal clubs, and workshops. For research-based modules, students will have regular supervision and directed research work.

Student Wellbeing

The University has student wellbeing services available to students who may need extra support and guidance during their studies.

If you find that you are struggling and in need of welfare support and guidance, please reach out to either the University of Birmingham student welfare and wellbeing support service directly or talk to your personal tutor or the Postgraduate Taught Leads who will signpost you to the appropriate services.

Assessment Methods

The way that the different assessments have been designed for the MSc programme is to ensure that your studies help you to develop essential skills that are transferrable to future employment. As such, you will be assessed in a variety of ways. Each assessment is tailored to each module and the material offered within the courses but may include essays and reports, oral and poster presentations, programming projects, scripting assessments, and peer reviews.

A wide range of careers are open to students graduating with an MSc Cognitive Neuroimaging and Data Science. Our students are excellent candidates for research-related employment in both private and public sector organisations. This MSc develops key skills that are highly appreciated by employers, including the ability to proactively solve problems, and the ability to use advanced analytics techniques and scientific principles to extract valuable information from data for research purposes, decision making, strategic planning and other uses.

This MSc is also excellent preparation for PhD or other advanced degree positions.


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