Cognitive Science MSc
Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Cognitive Science
Cognitive Science is an exciting and interdisciplinary area spanning fields including computer science, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.
Edinburgh is a widely recognised leader in the area, and the School of Informatics has particular strengths in the computational study of higher cognition and reasoning, speech and language, and neuroscience; as well as related areas such as human-computer interaction, robotics, and computer vision.
The Cognitive Science degree offers courses in many of these areas, providing a strong grounding in the shared computational and mathematical foundations while also allowing students to pursue specialized courses in their particular interest areas. Many students also take advantage of relevant courses offered in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences or other parts of the University.
You will follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments. During this time you will also learn research methods (such as literature review and project planning) to prepare for your final project and dissertation, which is completed during the summer.
Students on this degree typically follow one of two tracks, either focusing:
- on speech and language processing in humans and machines, or
- more broadly on models of cognition, mind and brain
Example courses offered recently in these areas include:
- Accelerated Natural Language Processing
- Automatic Speech Recognition
- Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
- Computational Cognitive Science
- Natural Language Understanding, Generation, and Machine Translation
- Computational Neuroscience
You will round out your degree with courses in related areas from the School of Informatics and the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences (PPLS). Example courses offered recently include:
- Bioinformatics 1
- Human Computer Interaction
- Image and Vision Computing
- Introductory Applied Machine Learning
- Reinforcement Learning
- Simulating Language (PPLS)
- Speech Processing (PPLS)
Please note: This degree has flexible course options. Students are only admitted onto the degree if they will have a viable set of options, but not all courses on offer are appropriate for all admitted students. The School of Informatics offers a wide selection of courses, but not all optional courses are guaranteed to run every year, and a few high-demand courses may limit enrolment to students on the most relevant degree(s).
Find out more about compulsory and optional courses
We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.
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This programme will give you a deep understanding of the expanding domain of cognitive science through formal study and experiments. It is excellent preparation for a rewarding academic or professional career.
The quality and reputation of the University, the School of Informatics and this programme will enhance your standing with many types of employer.
You will be based in the School of Informatics’ main teaching building, Appleton Tower. The building provides purpose-built facilities and dedicated learning and teaching spaces, all located in the University's Central Area.
IT facilities include computer labs with more than 250 high-spec machines and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.
The Informatics Student Support Team is based within the Informatics Teaching Organisation in Appleton Tower.
Take a virtual tour
Take a closer look at all our facilities on the University’s Virtual Visit site:
These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology, plus experience in computer programming.
Entry to this programme is competitive. A typical offer will normally require a UK first class honours degree.
You must have a sufficient mathematical and informatics background for your chosen area of study.
This should include experience of computer programming equivalent to an introductory programming course and completion of the equivalent of 60 SCQF credits or 30 ECTS credits of mathematics during your degree that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: calculus (differentiation and integration), linear algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete mathematics and mathematical reasoning (e.g. induction and reasoning, graph theoretic models, proofs), and probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov chains etc.)
Students from China
This degree is Band B.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
If you receive an offer of admission you will need to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your place on the programme:
- £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)
Find out more about tuition fee deposits:
You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.
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School of Informatics scholarships
Scholarships and student funding
You can find funding opportunities, tuition fees and costs of living for prospective UK and international postgraduate students on the University website.
You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding outside the University for which you may be eligible.
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
MSc Cognitive Science - 1 Year (Full-time)
MSc Cognitive Science - 2 Years (Part-time)
MSc Cognitive Science - 3 Years (Part-time)
|Programme start date||Application deadline|
|11 September 2023||31 March 2023|
Due to high demand on our programmes, the School of Informatics operates an application deadline of 31 March.
We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but will hold the majority of applications until the advertised deadline.
Decisions will be made as soon as possible once the deadline has passed. We expect to make the majority of decisions within eight weeks of the deadline.
The deadline may be extended if there are any places remaining on the programme.
|Programme start date||Application Deadline||Expected Decision date|
|11 September||31 March||31 May|
(Revised 10 November 2022 to clarify when decisions on applications will be made)
- School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
- Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
- Contact: email@example.com
- School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
- 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
- Central Campus
- EH8 9LE