Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

BSc Cognitive Science

UCAS code: C859

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Informatics

College: Science and Engineering

Introducing BSc Cognitive Science

You will study the mental and computational abilities that make up the human mind. This includes reasoning, memory, problem-solving, human language and communication, and their underlying brain mechanisms.

You will explore how computational modelling complements the disciplines of psychology, philosophy and linguistics.

A cognitive science programme allows you to combine informatics with a range of courses from psychology, linguistics, philosophy and neuroscience.

Year 1

You will be introduced to basic principles of programming, computation and cognitive science, with courses in informatics and a choice of courses from psychology, philosophy and language sciences. You will learn how information can be represented and processed in computational systems, whether artificial (computers) or natural (humans). The year also includes courses in mathematics necessary for all areas of cognitive science. Together these form the foundations of more in-depth study of computation and cognition in future years.

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, and studying foundations of artificial intelligence. You will also develop further expertise in your chosen area of psychology, philosophy, or language sciences through a range of course options.

Year 3

Your studies will become more focused and you will have more choices in selecting specialised courses, according to your own interests, from a range of options in cognitive science. Coursework assignments typically provide you with experience in practical work and independent problem solving, and may involve group work or essay writing. Your exact curriculum depends on your selected courses. Options offered in recent years include courses in computational cognitive science, robotics, language processing, and machine learning, from the School of Informatics, as well as many course options from the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences.

Year 4

You will choose from a large number of advanced course options in cognitive science to build a portfolio according to your interests. Year 4 includes an individual honours project where you will learn to develop a viable project starting from a given topic. You will have a variety of choices in selecting your project and a supervisor to guide you.

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2017/18)

Our facilities

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

You will have 24-hour access to computer laboratories and quality software support is available.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and 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 or working on more theoretical topics with guidance from your supervisor.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by coursework assignments, larger projects and exams. Some project work will be undertaken individually and some together with other students. You will complete a large individual project in your final year (or final two years for MInf students).

Programme details

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.

Programme details (2018/19)

Our graduates have excellent career prospects. The vast majority make direct vocational use of their qualification in the IT industry. Increasingly however, our graduates also find work in the trades, industries and professions that rely heavily on computing systems, including media, communications, finance, energy and medicine.

Typical offer range

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA - AABB.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Access threshold

The access threshold for a contextual offer is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

Find out more about access thresholds and contextual offers

Detailed requirements for all applicants

To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S5 or AABBB/AAAB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6, to include Mathematics at Grade A. We strongly recommend that you study Advanced Higher Mathematics.
  • A Levels: ABB in one sitting, to include Mathematics at Grade A.
  • IB: 32 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 655 at HL to include Mathematics at Grade 6.

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

For direct entry to second year the minimum requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AAA to include Mathematics. Appropriate relevant computing qualifications or experience is required.
  • A Levels: A*AA in one sitting, to include Mathematics and Further Mathematics. Appropriate relevant computing qualifications or experience is required.
  • IB: 38 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 666 at HL to include Mathematics. The Diploma must include Computer Science.
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements


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 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

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 Unistats data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Cognitive Science

Additional costs



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