School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


MA Cognitive Science


Cognitive Science is a special interdisciplinary group honours degree offered by the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, closely coordinated with the similar BSc Cognitive Science degree in the School of Informatics in the College of Science & Engineering.

What will the MA Cognitive Science degree cover?

The Cognitive Science degree requires you to undertake a selection of basic courses in Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics to give 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.

First Year

Students from the MA degree take a Humanities-oriented introductory Cognitive Science course in PPLS, which highlights big questions in Cognitive Science from the perspectives of Philosophy, Psychology, and Linguistics as well as teaching students basic computer programming skills. Students from the MA and BSc degrees study together the more computationally oriented introductory Cognitive Science in Informatics, which gives an overview of perception, memory, motor control, language and reasoning, as well as covering experimental, neural and computational methods.

Students from the MA degree also take Logic and a Brief Introduction to Language.

Second Year

In second year you choose among more specific courses in the sub-disciplines: knowledge and reality (philosophy), language processing, linguistics, mind and language (linguistics), artificial intelligence, algorithms and learning (in Informatics), and various courses in psychology.

Third and Fourth Year

In third and fourth year the choices are: linguistics (e.g. language evolution, language acquisition, speech processing); philosophy (e.g. ontology of mind, theories of mind, theories of truth, ethics); psychology (e.g. psycholinguistics, memory and perception, attention, development, neuropsychology); and Informatics (e.g. language processing, neural computation, robotics and vision, machine learning). In third year you may participate in a group project, and in fourth year you undertake an individual research project.

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught by a mixture of lectures, tutorials, practical classes and projects, while being assessed by a combination of examinations and coursework.

Typically, in the first two years, your week will contain around 20 timetabled hours of lectures, tutorials and practicals, and you will need about 15 to 20 hours private study to consolidate the material from lectures, prepare for exams, and to work individually on tutorial and practical assignments.

In later years the balance tips more towards private study (e.g. with 10 to 15 timetabled hours per week) as you develop independence in thinking and working. You will have individual supervision for your final year project.

Recommended reading

If you are thinking of applying to study Cognitive Science it is a good idea to read some books on the subject, or look ar web-based resources such as Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

For example:

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