The University of Sheffield
Department of Psychology

Taught Masters: MSc in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience

Programme code: PSYT12
Duration: One year full-time. Starting in September of each year.

Who should take this course?


This course is directed primarily at students who wish to pursue a research career in some aspect of cognitive or computational neuroscience. It is designed for students from two streams: those in life sciences who wish to learn theoretical and computational techniques, and those in physical sciences, mathematics and engineering who wish to apply their technical knowledge in the brain sciences.

To get some idea of the technical material on the course please see this page.

What is Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience?


Cognitive and computational neuroscience provide the foundation for understanding the relationship between brain function and the cognitive, perceptual and motor mechanisms which underpin behaviour. Specifically, computational neuroscience utilises neuroscientific data to construct rigorous computational models of brain function, whereas cognitive neuroscience relates cognitive and behavioural function to its underlying neural substrate. Together, these new and interdependent disciplines provide the foundation for meeting one of the key scientific `Grand Challenges´ of the twenty-first century: elucidating the relationship between brain and behaviour.

Course Outline


During this course you will gain an in-depth understanding of the core problems in cognitive and computational neuroscience. You will develop an understanding of the disciplines and techniques used to address these problems such as:

Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience Research at Sheffield:


The Department of Psychology at Sheffield University has a strong track record in both computational neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience. Recently, this strength has been consolidated by the creation of the Centre for Signal Processing in Neuroimaging and Systems Neuroscience.

An extensive course project (dissertation) will provide an opportunity to combine these skills and knowledge to investigate a specific issue related to the subject.

Investigative techniques include: anatomical tracing, multi-electrode electrophysiology, optical imaging, behavioural observation, computational modelling at several levels of description (from the biophysics of neural membranes to neural populations), robotics. The diverse range of research interests and techniques ensures a rich and vibrant research environment for students studying on the course.

Areas of special interest include: the neurobiology and cognitive neuroscience of action selection (studying brain structures such as the basal ganglia); oculomotor control and the cerebellum; memory and learning; the neural basis of addiction; sensory control of dopamine; the rat somatosensory pathway; automatic and controlled processing.

Course structure and modules

Course aims


The MSc in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience will give you:

  1. A broad and critical understanding of leading-edge cognitive and computational neuroscience.
  2. Appreciation of different approaches for understanding brain function.
  3. Development of a range of computational and analytic skills relevant to the modelling of brain function.
  4. The ability to generate and test specific experimental hypotheses which incorporate constraints derived from psychophysics, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioural studies.
  5. An appreciation of an academic scientific environment that rewards innovation, fosters a sense of community, and encourages students to direct their own learning.

Entry requirements
How to apply
Fees and scholarships
Information for international students
Sample course teaching material

Postgraduate Open Days

Details of our Postgraduate Open Days can be found here.

Can't make the Open Day?

Come and visit on a Postgraduate Visit Afternoon - These are arranged monthly and you can combine a general university visit followed by a visit to the department.

Why not speak to postgraduate students online at one of our webchats?

Course contact


Angela Young
Postgraduate Admissions
Department of Psychology
University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield, S10 2TP, UK.

Phone: 0114 2226564
Email : a.young@sheffield.ac.uk