MA Cognitive Science (Humanities)
UCAS code: C851
Duration: 4 years
School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Cognitive Science (Humanities)
Philosophers and scientists have long speculated about the nature of the human mind and the role of language in making the human mind what it is.
Recent developments, across fields as diverse as robotics, brain imaging, anthropology and speech technology, bring a host of new perspectives to our quest to understand our own inner workings.
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary attempt to understand the human mind. It focuses on abilities such as:
- Motor control
- Language use
Cognitive science brings together and forms connections between these, through use of methods such as computer modelling, linguistic analysis, philosophical reasoning, robotics, neuroimaging and psychological experiments. It brings together scholars from linguistics, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and computer science.
The University of Edinburgh played a key role in founding this discipline, by exploiting and enriching long-standing connections between the disciplines that contribute to the study of human cognition.
You will be taught by the researchers who both laid the foundations, and are still making key advances in the field. The programme content is regularly reviewed to ensure our students learn about current developments.
Our Cognitive Science (Humanities) programme requires you to undertake a selection of basic courses covering material in:
- Computer science
At Honours level, in Years 3 and 4, you will choose from a wide variety of more advanced courses in this range of disciplines, with the opportunity to specialise in one domain for your Honours dissertation project.
Our goal is to help you come to a broad understanding of issues such as the relationship between language and thought, the relationship between mind and brain and the philosophical implications of our increasing ability to look inside the working brain and to model its activities in computers and robots.
You will pursue two general cognitive science courses that give an overview of perception, memory, motor control, language and reasoning. You will also be introduced to experimental, neural and computational methods.
Courses will cover logic, to help understand the role of reasoning and deduction in the mind.
You will also cover the structure of language, to help understand this as one of the most complex phenomena that humans undertake.
You will also acquire background in philosophy, with options related to its history or to central concepts of morality and value.
Lastly, you will choose a further course from across the interconnected disciplines of psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and informatics.
You will choose more specific courses in the sub-disciplines such as: Processing Formal and Natural Languages (Informatics) and Knowledge and Reality (Philosophy).
You will also take Year 2 courses from Psychology and Language Sciences.
You can choose from informatics courses on topics ranging from:
- Language processing
- Neural computation
- Robotics and vision
- Machine learning
Or from linguistics courses ranging from:
- Language evolution
- Language acquisition
- Speech processing
Or from philosophy courses ranging from:
- Ontology of mind
- Theories of mind
- Theories of truth
Or from psychology courses ranging from:
- Memory and perception
As Year 3. In addition, you will undertake an individual research project.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
You will be taught within the University's Central Area.
You will have full access to the libraries, computer facilities and specialised laboratories in our Psychology and Linguistics departments, as well as other facilities available across our campuses.
Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.
How will I learn?
Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and small-group project work.
In Year 4 you will complete individual project work.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed by exams and coursework.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Graduates with cognitive science qualifications have excellent employment prospects in fields that will shape our society, including those which depend on computers, such as:
- Mobile systems
- Manufacturing and health
Plus those employment areas thought of traditionally as more humanities orientated, such as:
- The civil service
- Marketing and communications
- Social work
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by the end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.(Revised 08/04/2020 from AAAA-AAAB and to include alternate grades to be achieved by end of S6.)
- A Levels: AAB - ABB.
- IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 points with 666 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: Mathematics, Psychology or an approved science at B. National 5s: English at C. Mathematics at A or Mathematics and Physics both at B or Higher Mathematics at C.
- A Levels: Mathematics, Psychology or an approved science at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and Mathematics at A or 7 OR Mathematics and Physics both at B or 6 OR Mathematics, Science plus Additional Science (OR science double award) at B or 6.
- IB: HL: one of Mathematics, Psychology or an approved science at 5. SL: English at 5 and either Mathematics at 6 or Mathematical Studies at 7 (if not at HL).
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- SQA Standard Grade at 3
- SQA Intermediate 1 at A
- SQA Intermediate 2 at C
- GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate Grade C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:
- IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)
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It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.