School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Why study Cognitive Science at Edinburgh?

An interdisciplinary degree programme, drawing on expertise from across the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences with links to the School of Informatics

Did you know?

Edinburgh is one of the places in the world where cognitive science's constituent disciplines first came together in the 1960s. We have developed that tradition of research and teaching ever since, and with our interdisciplinary approach and first-class facilities we are one of the most exciting places in the world to study the nature of mind.

You will study how the mind works from a number of perspectives, considering how human capacities like language and vision are represented in the brain and how computers can imitate and extend those abilities.

Cognitive science can be studied as an MA or a BSc, depending on how orientated you are to the mathematical and computational aspects of cognitive science. Both programmes offer you an in-depth knowledge of philosophy, psychology and linguistics, along with an introduction to computational tools used in cognitive science.

You will be part of a small but engaged group of like-minded students, while being part of a larger community of students in each of the component subject areas.

Ten reasons to study Cognitive Science at Edinburgh

1. Flexible programmes:

Edinburgh offers flexibility. Along with your core subject courses, you have the choice of option courses in first and second year, allowing you to develop your interests. Many Cognitive Science students select courses from other subjects within the School; however in Year 1 you can select 40 credits from optional courses across humanities, social sciences or science and engineering and 20 credits in Year 2. In the Years 3 and 4, there are no compulsory courses, you can choose courses from at least three out of the four subject areas (Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics & English Language and Informatics) typically following on from subjects studied in Year 2.

What does the MA Cognitive Science degree cover?

2. A four-year degree structure:

The benefits of a four-year degree structure allow you to experience new subjects without committing long-term. We know that it can be difficult to choose a subject that will be right for you, and the four year structure takes the pressure off; giving you time to try out a programme and change subject (which approximately 30% of students do) should you wish to.

It helps you to gain good results, as you can discover which subjects are best suited to you and tailor your degree accordingly.

It gives you more time to grow intellectually and academically providing an extra year to develop your confidence and improve your skills in analysis and writing. The majority of our students gain better marks in their 4th year, than they did in their third year.

It provides you with a breadth of academic experience, which is both enriching and attractive to employers.

3. Support at every step of your programme

You will have a Personal Tutor assigned to you, who is a member of the teaching staff and will provide you with academic guidance and support.

Your tutor will work with you to help you:

  • review your academic progress;
  •  reflect on how your learning can help you pursue your future development;
  • engage with a community of learners; and
  • address any concerns or problems that might affect your studies.

4. Enhance your employability

Your degree at Edinburgh offers you the opportunity to take option courses in subjects that complement your degree and allow you to develop skills that enhance your employability.

The School has a dedicated careers consultant who runs a series of careers seminars throughout the year inviting graduates to share their experiences of life and work post-university.

Find out more about careers

5. Vibrant student community

Benefit from being part of a large and vibrant undergraduate and graduate community. We have over 60 countries represented, with students coming from all corners of the globe to study at the School.

6. Experience what the world has to offer

The University of Edinburgh has more than 200 student exchange arrangements with Universities in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America.

Study abroad

7. You get to study in the beautiful city of Edinburgh

The University has a 400-year heritage and is consistently rated as one of the world's best. Located in the centre of Scotland's capital city, one of the cultural capitals of Europe, Cognitive Science at Edinburgh can offer a student experience that few others can rival.

8. Easy access to the UK and beyond

Edinburgh is well connected with very accessible travel within the UK and beyond. Edinburgh is just a 4.5 hour train journey from London, and just over an hour on the plane. Getting out to Edinburgh airport from the city centre is a hassle-free 30 minute bus or tram ride. Edinburgh airport has direct flights across most of Europe and to many international destinations.

9. Rich and rewarding experience

There are lots of societies, clubs and groups to get involved with at one of the UK’s largest universities and philosophy has a range of exciting opportunities for students who want to immerse themselves in the subject, meet like-minded people and enhance their development.

Student experience

10. Part of a supportive school environment

As a Cognitive Science student, you will be part of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences which is locally known as PPLS. Being part of the School opens up your network and provides a supportive environment in which to thrive as a student. The School also offers a range of welcome events for new students.

Student support