MSc Human Cognitive Neuropsychology

Work closely with internationally recognised cognitive psychologists, clinical and academic neuropsychologists

Brain scans


Established by Professor Sharon Abrahams in 2006, this programme provides intensive training and specialist knowledge within human cognitive neuropsychology and related fields of study.

The teaching is closely integrated with the Human Cognitive Neuroscience research unit, a group of internationally recognized cognitive psychologists and neuropsychologists.

Programme content and structure

Full programme structure

Compulsory courses

Compulsory courses are aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of research design and application. There are statistics courses which provide both a grounding in the principle and theory of statistics and in statistical programming software (R). In addition, there are courses which focus on a range of research skills, from the understanding and application of different methods and research tools, to the writing of research proposals, and the dissemination of research.

Optional courses

Students have the opportunity to take a wide range of further courses covering topics such as clinical neuropsychology, brain imaging, frontal lobe functions, language disorders, working memory, perceptual awareness and multisensory integration. In addition, they can also choose from a range of courses in associated disciplines of Individual Differences, Informatics and Psycholinguistics. Please consult our comprehensive overview of the programme (above) to see the complete list of optional courses.


The dissertation is worth one third of the total credits that are required to qualify for an MSc, and involves conducting a research project under the supervision of a member of staff. Students then produce a written report, in which they describe their research and interpret their findings.

Learning outcomes and careers

On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained:

  • specialist knowledge within the fields of human cognitive neuropsychology and integrated areas of study, in addition to training in psychological research methods
  • an understanding of clinical neuropsychology (assessment and rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders), brain imaging, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology and critical awareness of cognitive and neuropsychological research and its application to clinical practice
  • a foundation for advanced research within human cognitive neuropsychology
  • a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of research design and application
  • competency in applying a range of methods and research tools
  • skills in research management, including managing data and conducting and disseminating research in ways consistent with both professional practice and the normal principles of research ethics

Who is this programme for?

The programme is intended for graduate psychologists who wish to pursue a research-oriented career in cognitive psychology / neuroscience / neuropsychology or a clinically-oriented career in neuropsychology.

This is a popular programme, and acceptance can be competitive. Applicants are selected on the basis of their prior academic performance.

Why study cognition at Edinburgh?

  • The University of Edinburgh is firmly established as a world-leading centre of research. The Research Excellence Framework in December 2014 placed Edinburgh as best in Scotland and 3rd in the UK, based on volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research in Psychology.
  • Students on the MSc Human Cognitive Neuropsychology have access to a wide range of research facilities, such as the Cognitive Neuroscience suite.

Cognitive Neuroscience suite

  • The University attracts a high calibre of visiting speakers. These talks are an excellent way to explore new topics and to get to know other postgraduate students.

Teaching and assessment

This programme comprises two semesters of taught compulsory and optional courses, followed by a dissertation. Optional courses within the area of human cognitive neuroscience can be selected to tailor the programme to your interests. You may also choose your optional courses from a range in associated disciplines, such as individual differences, informatics and psycholinguistics, with permission from the programme director.

Facilities and resources

Students can avail themselves of the resources (including study space, libraries, and computer labs) available within the school of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, as well as in the university more broadly.

Student support

In addition to the student support offered to all students in the school of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, your Programme Director or Supervisor will be able to provide you with academic advice and guidance specific to your programme of study.

Staff profiles

    Research interests
Elena Gherri

Dr Elena Gherri

Programme director

Action-perception links: spatial attention within and across sensory modalities; conflict and cognitive control.
Sarah MacPherson

Dr Sarah MacPherson

Frontal lobe functions such as memory, executive abilities and social cognition in healthy ageing and damaged brains.
Sharon Abraham
Professor Sharon Abrahams Neuropsychology and neuroimaging in motor neurone disease and frontotemporal dementia; memory dysfunction associated with hippocampal damage. (Professor Abrahams will be on research leave during the academic year 2017/2018, she will not teach nor supervise students).
Thomas Bak
Dr Thomas Bak Relationship between language, cognition and motor function.
Tom Booth
Dr Tom Booth Individual differences; quantitative methods.
David Carmel
Dr Dave Carmel The cognitive neuroscience of consciousness and perceptual awareness; Interactions between visual awareness and attention, emotion, and working memory; top-down influences on perceptual processing; foundations of cognitive science, in particular the scientific study of consciousness.
Sergio Della Sala
Professor Sergio Della Sala Cognitive neuropsychology, in particular in amnesia, visuo-spatial and representational neglect, apraxia and the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's Disease.
Robert Logie
Professor Robert Logie The cognition of human memory in the healthy brain across the lifespan, focused on experimental behavioural studies of working memory.
Alexa Morcom
Dr Alexa Morcom Cognitive neuroscience of memory and ageing.

Find out more

Fees, funding and how to apply