Understanding the relationship between brain, cognition and behaviour is one of the main challenges the scientific community is currently facing. Which neural processes underlie “free” decisions, the formation of new memories, the emergence of conscious experience? Computational cognitive neuroscience is a young and exciting discipline that tackles these long-standing research questions by integrating computer modelling with experimental research.
This Masters programme will foster a new generation of scientists who will be trained in both neurocomputational modelling as well as cognitive neuroscience. Its core topics include theory and practice of biologically constrained models of neurons, cortical circuits, and higher cognitive functions (memory, decision making, language), and fundamentals of cognitive neuroscience (brain mechanisms and structures underlying cognition and behaviour, as well as modern neuroimaging and data analysis techniques). The programme is suitable for students from a variety of disciplines (including psychology, computing, neuroscience, engineering, biology, maths, physics, or related subjects), and students with no prior programming experience are welcome. Thanks to the highly multidisciplinary and cutting-edge nature of the programme, graduates of this Masters will acquire a unique set of complementary skills that will make them extremely competitive in securing research or analyst positions in both academia and industry.
Why study this course:
1. The programme is cutting edge, being at the forefront of a new, rapidly emerging field of research.
2. It is multidisciplinary, conveying theoretical aspects and experimental techniques from both computational and cognitive neurosciences.
3. The novelty of this Masters is that it combines, in a single programme, topics which are typically covered separately (e.g., the brain basis of human cognitive functions, neural modelling and programming techniques)
4. The unique, cross-disciplinary and cutting-edge profile that graduates of this programme will acquire will give them a competitive edge in the job market over graduates of other, standard programmes in related fields.
5. Big data companies are branching out into the area of computational neuroscience and explicitly searching for scientists with the above knowledge and skills.
Contact the department
Modules & structure
You will study the following modules:
- Foundations of Neuroscience (PS74005D), which covers brain anatomy and functions and modern experimental techniques to study the neural basis of behaviour.
- Statistical Methods (PS71020D). This module covers primary statistical analyses used in psychology and neuroscience (including multivariate data screening and cleaning; power and sample size determination; factor analysis; multiple regression; analysing contrasts; univariate and multivariate repeated measures; ANCOVA; MANOVA and psychometrics).
- A choice between Data Programming (IS71068A) or a new PG MATLAB module which is due to be offered by Psychology in 2018 (subject to approval).
- A new module called “Cortical Modelling” (subject to approval): this will cover theory and practice of computational neuroscience (including computational models of neurons, synapses, simple cortical circuits and networks). Students will learn how to implement simple models of biologically-realistic neural systems.
- A new module called “Cognitive Neuroscience” (subject to approval), which will cover the current state of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience. It covers lower-level, fundamental cognitive processes, such as perception, attention, action, vision, audition, and motor control, as well as higher functions such as memory, speech, language, executive functions and cognitive control.
- A new module called “Modelling cognitive and higher brain functions” (subject to approval): fundamental principles of current computational models of human cognitive and brain functions and their emergence (including vision, attention, memory, decision making, and language)
- Advanced Quantitative Methods (PS71082A): Theory and practice in the application of advanced quantitative methods across multiple areas of psychology and neuroscience.
1. Research Project which will be carried out by combining the computational, experimental and data analysis skills that students will acquire over Term 1 and 2.
In Term 1, students will have to choose one amongst the following 4 options (each 15 CATS, level 7):
- Neural Networks (IS57002A)
- Machine Learning (IS71071A)
- Natural Computing (IS71072A)
- Data and Machine Learning for Artistic Practice (IS71074A)
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Computing at Goldsmiths is ranked: 3rd in London* 17th in the UK for the quality of our research** and in the world's elite***
The Department of Computing offers a creative, contemporary and pioneering approach to the discipline.
From developing computers that can compose music and paint pictures, to defining and implementing new social media tools and applications, we aim to invigorate computing and the world around it.
Learn by doing
We place a great emphasis on creativity, independence and ‘learning by doing’. Students undertake practical work in real-world situations, carrying out projects in ways that mirror industry practice.
We also promote an interdisciplinary approach to the subject: from computational arts to games and entertainment, and from data science to digital journalism.
You’ll be taught by industry experts – our academics are deeply engaged in current research, with many applying their knowledge and skills to developing cutting-edge technology. And we have close links with industry, too, regularly inviting leading professionals to deliver lectures and talks.
Find out more about the Department of Computing.
*Guardian University League Tables 2017
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Psychology at Goldsmiths is ranked joint 3rd in the UK
for the quality of our research*, and in the world's elite**
How does music affect mood?
Why do some people believe in the paranormal?
How do people with autism think?
In the Department of Psychology we try and investigate questions like this, conducting research that’s relevant to a range of sectors and industries – from advertising to education, and from banking to the public sector.
You’ll be taught by experts in the field, who are carrying out research that’s world class. And you’ll learn in a department with excellent specialist and general-purpose research laboratories, including:
- EEG and brain stimulation labs for neuroscience research
- a visual perception and attention laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art eye tracking systems
- an infant lab
- in-house technical support staff
Find out more about the Department of Psychology.
*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Skills & careers
This programme will provide a solid foundation for further postgraduate studies or research careers in the areas of computational neuroscience, computational cognitive neuroscience, and, more broadly, experimental neuroscience. Notably, this applies equally to:
• students who come from the Mathematics or Computing or Engineering or Physics disciplines, to whom the course will provide the fundaments of theory and practice in cognitive neuroscience and experimental methods, which are required to have access to positions in the above careers,
• students who stem from a background in Psychology or Biology or Neuroscience, who will gain highly transferrable technical and practical skills in computer science, simulation and modelling.
Crucially, graduates of this MSc will have a cross-disciplinary profile, which will make them particularly competitive when applying for positions that require complementary expertise and skills from different areas, as it is typically the case for posts in international, collaborative research projects or institutes.
Students who complete this MSc will be able to look for positions ranging from web-search engines (Google) to data mining, from natural language processing and human-computer interaction (information extraction, speech recognition and comprehension, automated translation) to portable and autonomous devices, and robots.
Specific computational skills will make ideal candidates for successful enteprises such as Netflix, Yahoo and Bayer.
First- or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent undergraduate degree) in a relevant discipline .
Applicants might also be considered if they aren’t a graduate or their degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can demonstrate the ability to work at postgraduate level.
A levels in Computer science or Science or Maths
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
Fees, funding & scholarships
*New programme: Subject to validation
Please note: 'subject to validation' means that we will be offering this degree providing it is approved by the Goldsmiths Academic Board.