Cognitive Neuroscience (research) (MSc)
About the programme
The specialisation involves general courses, specialisation-specific courses, electives, research internship and your thesis
We offer a very diverse programme that takes you through all the indispensable elements of Cognitive Neuroscience. You can find a short summary below; for a detailed overview of the research master, please read our e-prospectus.
The general coursework (40 ECTS) consists of advanced training in academic and research skills. The design and timing of these courses is such that students can immediately apply their newly acquired skills to their own research project. Besides lectures, the programme offers seminars, work in small groups, and practicals.
The obligatory specialisation-specific coursework (20 ECTS) consists of four advanced content-specific courses, in which students acquire in-depth knowledge of a range of theories, issues and research domains in cognitive neuroscience.
For the most up to date course overview, see the e-Prospectus.
Students can choose electives (20 ECTS) from the range of modules offered in the different (research) master’s programmes at the Institute of Psychology, either to concentrate further on the specialisation of their choice (by choosing additional specialisation-specific electives) or to broaden their view. Students who wish to expand their expertise in the domain of Brain and Cognition can choose from a wide range of elective courses offered within and outside the Institute of Psychology.
The aim of the internship is for students to gain hands-on experience in their area of interest by learning from expert researchers in the field. It is recommended that students become acquainted with various research designs and/or methods of data collection and analysis that extend those employed for their thesis. Students could do this by participating, for example, in designing a study, data collection and data analyses, observing lab and testing situations and reading the involved research proposals. Preparations for the internship that are directly work-related (reading, communication with supervisor, writing funding letters) are part of the internship. You can find more information about the internship in the e-Prospectus.
In the second year you focus on writing a master’s thesis (20 ECTS). During the first semester, the research master’s thesis focuses on the preparation of a literature review and the development of a research question, resulting in a written research proposal. During the second semester, students implement the research, collect and analyse the data, and write their thesis.
Sander de Heer
Research Master Cognitive Neuroscience
I am now doing my internship, where I use innovative technologies (virtual reality applications) to develop new ways of doing social research. This is really exciting, because I work with something rather new! Also I am now learning how to do computer programming, which is a really important skill these days, also in research.
In this research master, quality of teaching is really high and we get to debate about the role of the brain, how we make decisions and hiow we are influenced by our environment. During my first year of this master I took in-depth courses where we critically analysed the current theories in our branche of Psychology. We were stimulated to think critically about the different theories and come up with alternatives. This is an interesting challenge, because we always have to remember that what we know now, isn't the whole truth. Also, it can be so overwhelming what scientists invent, but this critical thinking teaches me that everybody is able to think about the way our world goes round. And this is not exclusively for a select group of scientists. For me I see an interesting challenge in looking for new pieces of the puzzle that give a little bit more insight in the bigger picture: humans.
As a master student in Cognitive Neuroscience I have the chance to focus on the role of brain in behaviour. I started studying Psychology because I was fascinated by the behaviour of human beings in daily life, including myself. Important social matters, like racism and consumption, but also daily situations, as personal conflicts and frustrations, have my interest. I believe they can all be traced back to the decisions we make on a daily basis, and decision making is an important topic within cognitive neuropsychology.
We use various modes of instruction to augment the learning experience:
- In the lectures the literature you have read will be applied to real life, by examples, to enhance your knowledge of the subject at hand.
- In the small (10 to 24 students, depending on your specialisation) work group sessions you'll delve deeper into the course material. There is room for discussion. Work groups sessions require active participation and attendance is therefore mandatory.
- In practical sessions you'll work on your skills. You'll gain, for example, skills in interviewing, observation and using statistical computer programmes (depending on your specialisation). Attendance is also mandatory in these practical sessions.
In the online course environment students review their peers’ assignments and prepare for examinations with online mock exams and recorded lectures.
Student support services
Perhaps you have questions about your master’s, or could use some extra help, or maybe you’d like some support of a more personal nature? At Leiden University we have people and departments who will be glad to help in any and all of these areas.
Your study adviser is an expert on all aspects of your study programme, for example exam regulations, planning, academic issues, study delay etc. With the study adviser you discuss problems of any kind relating to the studies or any personal circumstances which might trouble your study.