Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BSc Cognitive Science

UCAS code: C859

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science is the study of the mind and how it works to solve everyday tasks. These include:

  • visual processing
  • reasoning
  • memory
  • problem-solving
  • language and communication

This programme focuses on both the behavioural and computational aspects of cognitive science. It gives you the opportunity to learn a range of skills and to explore different ways of studying the mind - from experiments with human participants to building computer simulations.

Your courses will be a combination of compulsory and option choices from informatics, with a range of options from psychology, linguistics, and philosophy.

The programme will teach you mathematical and programming skills, as well as a deeper understanding of:

  • computation
  • human mind and behaviour
  • the links between natural and artificial intelligence

Year 1

You will be introduced to basic principles of programming, computation and cognitive science through courses in informatics and a choice of courses from:

  • psychology
  • linguistics
  • philosophy

You will learn how information can be represented and processed in computational systems, whether artificial (computers) or natural (humans).

This year also includes courses in the mathematics necessary for all areas of cognitive science.

Together, these form the foundations for more in-depth study of computation and cognition in future years.


Students in the School of Informatics benefit from access to services created to support their learning, particularly in the beginning of their degree.

InfPALS is a peer support service for year 1 students focusing on material covered in courses but also general topics related to informatics.

InfBase is a drop-in helpdesk for year 1 and 2 students to get additional tutoring and support with their courses.

You will also be invited to join CompSoc, a tech society which offers a varied programme of events and ProgClub, to get more practical programming experience.

Pastoral support is offered by personal tutors and the Informatics Student Support Team.

Year 2

You will build on Year 1, covering more advanced computational and mathematical methods such as:

  • programming and data structures
  • working with data and statistics
  • studying foundations of artificial intelligence

You will also develop further expertise in your chosen area through a range of course options in:

  • psychology
  • philosophy
  • language sciences

Year 3

Your studies will become more focused and you will have more choice in selecting specialised courses according to your interests. We offer a range of options in cognitive science.

Your coursework assignments will typically provide you with experience in practical work and independent problem-solving. They may also involve group work and/or essay writing.

Your exact curriculum depends on the courses you choose. Options offered in recent years include School of Informatics courses in:

  • computational cognitive science
  • robotics
  • language processing
  • machine learning

You will also have many course options from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

Year 4

You will choose from a large number of advanced courses in cognitive science to build a portfolio according to your interests.

Year 4 includes an individual honours project where you will develop a viable project starting from a given topic. You will have a variety of choices in selecting your topic, with a supervisor to guide you.

Our facilities

You will be based in the School of Informatics, with lectures, tutorials and classes held in Appleton Tower. The building provides purpose-built facilities and dedicated learning and teaching spaces, all located in the University's Central Area.

You will have access to computer laboratories and quality software support.

The InfBase drop-in helpdesk is located in Appleton Tower. When access to the campus is restricted, InfBase operates as a virtual helpdesk.

InfPALS is run by year 2 and 3 students as small study groups in Appleton Tower. When access to the campus is restricted they operate regular virtual meet-ups.

The Informatics Student Support Team are based within the Informatics Teaching Organisation in Appleton Tower.

Take a closer look at all our facilities on the University’s Virtual Visit site.

Virtual Visit

Study abroad

In Year 3 you may have the option to study abroad through the University's international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical classes

In later years, you will spend more time working on projects that involve:

  • building computer systems from scratch
  • developing systems
  • doing experimental work
  • working on theoretical topics with guidance from your supervisor

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by:

  • coursework assignments
  • larger projects
  • exams

You will undertake some project work individually and some together with other students.

You will complete a large individual project in your final year.

Our graduates have excellent career prospects in the IT industry and beyond.

Graduates comfortably secure roles such as:

  • software engineer
  • hardware engineer
  • app developer
  • web developer
  • programmer

And increasingly, as data analyst/scientist or business analyst in the financial sector.

Popular employers

Popular employers include:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • IBM
  • SkyScanner
  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • ARM
  • Nvida
  • Keysight
  • RockStar North
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Citigroup

Other industries and professions that rely heavily on computing systems and are potential employers for School of Informatics graduates include:

  • media (e.g. BBC)
  • communications (Ericsson, Huawei)
  • energy (British Gas)
  • medicine (Canon Medical Systems)

Startups and spinouts

Our school boasts a record number of startups and spinouts over the last ten years, including those set up by our alumni, such as:

  • Unicorn company, FanDuel
  • Robotical
  • PlayerData
  • Speech Graphics

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA - AAAB (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. (Revised 13/04/2021 to provide more accurate information.)
  • A Levels: A*A*A* - AAB. (Revised 13/04/2021 to provide more accurate information.)
  • IB: 43 points with 766 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL. (Revised 13/04/2021 and 08/10/2021 to provide more accurate information.)

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at A. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. Advanced Higher Mathematics is recommended. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at A. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) at 6. SL: English at 5.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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.


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 at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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.

English language requirements

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Cognitive Science

Additional costs

Should you need to study from home, you might consider purchasing textbooks and a personal laptop for your convenience. Otherwise, you will have access to computing facilities in Appleton Tower.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering