MSc
2021 start

Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

Understand the relationships between cognitive function and the underlying neural substrate in healthy and unhealthy brains and develop your skills and knowledge in neuroimaging, neurophysiological data collection and analysis techniques, and practical neuroanatomy.
Students

Course description

This 12-month course is designed to provide you with in-depth training in the core aspects of cognitive neuroscience and human neuroimaging, enabling you to generate and interpret neurobiological data in order to draw conclusions from healthy and unhealthy brains.

Throughout your course, our neuroscientists will introduce you to key investigative techniques including functional and structural MRI, skin conductance response recording, neuropsychology, transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. Once you’ve mastered the techniques you need, we’ll give you plenty of opportunities to apply these throughout your course to test hypotheses in areas including emotional influences on behaviour, executive functioning, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and motor neuron disease.

Over three months you'll work on your research project in Cognitive Neuroscience with one of our world-leading experts in the Department of Psychology. Your research topic could range from theoretical to basic neuroscience. You may have the opportunity to collect and analyse real-life cognitive brain science data, using state-of-the-art equipment, before presenting your findings at our summer student-led conference. This project gives you the opportunity to put your new techniques in experimental neuroscience into practice, while exploring ideas at the cutting-edge of cognitive neuroscience. It's common for MSc research projects to form the basis of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Other courses in cognitive neuroscience

We offer MSc courses that cover the full breadth of cognitive neuroscience, from the biological basis to imaging and simulation, allowing you to discover the area that you’re most interested in:

MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience

MSc Systems Neuroscience

Intercalation

We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School's website.

Apply now

Modules

Fundamentals of Cognition

The module provides an overview of the fundamental issues in cognitive neuroscience and its contributory disciplines. The approach taken is in terms of its development over the past 50 years, providing an overview of the key concepts in the information processing approach and in cognitive science, followed by an analysis of the advances that have been made recently using cognitive neuroscience techniques. Topics include: fundamental issues in cognition (memory, attention, learning, language); theoretical approaches including cognitive neuropsychology, symbolic and sub-symbolic modelling; and methodological issues.

15 credits
Fundamentals of Neuroscience

The module provides an introduction to core aspects of contemporary neuroscience, and it will consider the current state of knowledge in the field, central theoretical issues and key practical approaches. Topics that are discussed include: neural signalling, sensation and sensory processing, movement and its central control, the 'changing brain' (development and plasticity in the nervous system) and complex brain functions.

15 credits
Neuroimaging 1

This module provides an overview of neuroimaging techniques and fundamental data analysis methodolo-gies employed, specifically those based around functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The two as-pects of neuroimaging (techniques and data analysis) will be taught over the semester. For neuroimaging techniques, after introducing the physical principles underlying fMRI, a description of fMRI-based methods for mapping brain structure and function will follow. For neuroimaging data analysis, the general linear model methodology will be introduced based on the software SPM (Statistical Parametric Mapping), which is one of the most widely used packages for fMRI data analysis. Issues concerning fMRI experimental de-sign and efficiency will also be discussed and taught in depth.

15 credits
Neuroimaging 2

This module further develops on the foundational material in PSY6414 (Neuroimaging 1) and provides an overview of neuroimaging techniques and fundamental data analysis methodologies. Specifically, it will focus on the functional imaging techniques of electrophysiology, EEG, and MEG, optical methods and calcium imaging, each of which will be introduced in the lecture component of the module. In the associated lab classes, students will gain first-hand experience of analysing and processing data sets arising from these techniques.

15 credits
Data Analysis and Visualisation

This module provides basic skills in computational data analysis. Students will learn how to import/export scientific data sets in different formats, how to process and transform them, and how to visualise results. Teaching will be hands-on and computer lab-based. Teaching will focus on the programming language R and associated scientific software. No prior programming experience will be necessary.

15 credits
Research Project in Cognitive Neuroscience

The module allows students to work on an extended (17 week) research project within computational neuroscience and/or cognitive neuroscience and/or systems neuroscience and/or analysis of brain imaging data. Students will learn and apply appropriate research techniques, analyse and interpret the results, and write up the research findings using recognised journal frameworks. Students will receive guidance and regular feedback from their supervisors. The project culminates in an oral presentation and a written dissertation.

75 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

You’ll learn through hands-on laboratory sessions, problem-solving classes, lectures, seminars and individual projects.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed through formal examinations and coursework which may include essays, poster presentations and a dissertation.

Duration

1 year full-time

Your career

With the valuable skills and knowledge that you’ll develop throughout your research training, including computational modelling, imaging, and analysis expertise, you’ll be well equipped for careers including:

  • analysis and visualisation of data within hospitals, other healthcare providers or the pharmaceutical industry
  • roles within deep learning, machine learning or artificial intelligence
  • pursuing a career in research, understanding major diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and epilepsy within academia or governmental organisations.

If you choose to continue your research training, these courses are great preparation for a PhD in areas including neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and brain interfaces or to begin clinical training.

Student profiles

The highlight of the course was the human brain dissection module. This module was integral in deepening my understanding of the human brain. Getting hands on experience in a clinical environment was something I had always wanted to do. Furthermore, from my psychology background, this course allowed me to make the transition into neuroscience, increasing my confidence in this field.

Bethany Eyre
MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree or equivalent qualification in either a life science (including psychology) or mathematical/physical science (including engineering). 

We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.0 in the other components, or equivalent.

International pathway programmes

If you're an international student and don’t meet our entry requirements, we offer a Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering programme through the University of Sheffield International College. The programme develops your knowledge of your chosen subject, introduces you to vital study skills and provides additional support to reach the English language level for the course, should you need it.

Once you complete your Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering and achieve the required grades, you can enter your chosen postgraduate degree at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Department bursaries

Each year we offer two bursaries to students on this course. If you're awarded a bursary you'll receive a £1,500 reduction in your tuition fees. These bursaries are awarded on a competitive basis, based on:

  • academic performance as indicated by a grade point average and transcript
  • other relevant skills and knowledge (for example, programming courses outside the degree or relevant work experience)
  • research activity (co-authoring papers, conference presentations, etc)
  • personal statement, which should include information on why you want to do the course you have applied for and how it fits with your aspirations

To be considered for a bursary in the year that you intend to start your course, submit your application to study with us by 31 May. All applications received before this deadline will automatically be considered for a bursary.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

psy-pg-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 6533

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

Explore this course:

    PSYT23 Off Off