Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Subject area: Cognitive Science (Humanities)

Why choose Cognitive Science (Humanities) at the University of Edinburgh?

  • The University helped create the field of cognitive science and is still at the forefront of it. You will not only be taught by researchers who laid those foundations but by researchers who are still making key advances.

  • Cognitive science comprises psychology, philosophy, linguistics and informatics. Our broad-ranging research supports a wide range of advanced courses in later years, including those on consciousness, metaphysics, language acquisition, computational neuroscience, the computational mind, language pathology, and human agency and free will.

  • You will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities including electroencephalogram (EEG), non-invasive brain stimulation and eye and motion tracking equipment. You will also have access to a dedicated psychology and philosophy library.

  • The University is one of the largest centres in Europe for the study of human cognition and the only university in Scotland to offer it at undergraduate level.

  • Our teaching is innovative, fostering interactive engagement that promotes long-term understanding. Particularly in your early years, you will engage in small group discussion on problems that are answered via an online voting systems. Many courses actively encourage collaborative working so that you will learn from your instructors as well as your peers.

  • You will have the opportunity to undertake hands-on laboratory work for training in transferable skills like computer programming.

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I feel like the University really wants to develop students as people not just academically.

Kat Steggles 3rd year MA (Hons) Cognitive Science
Kat Steggles 3rd year MA (Hons) Cognitive Science

Introducing 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 – in 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 brings together scholars from linguistics, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and computer science.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary attempt to understand the human mind. It focuses on abilities such as reasoning, perception, memory, awareness, emotion, attention, judgement, motor control, language use, and the connections between them. Cognitive science uses methods such as computer modelling, linguistic analysis, philosophical reasoning, robotics, neuroimaging and psychological experiments.

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 and the course 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 linguistics, philosophy, psychology and 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.

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