Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience


Marina Rodriguez Lopez, Cognitive Neuroscience MRes

"Be open to discover new passions and new areas of neuroscience that you can fall in love with."

Photo of Marina, smiling at the camera

Why did you choose to study your programme and what made you choose UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience?

I chose to study the MRes in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL because of how broad and flexible the programme was. I studied Psychology during my undergraduate degree, so my shift towards neuroscience meant that I still had some important gaps in my knowledge. However, I didn’t want to do just a taught masters as I thought it wouldn’t feel that different from my undergraduate degree. In this way, this MRes programme was perfect for me, as it allowed me to spend most of my time working on a research project, which felt like a step up from an undergraduate degree, while still attending some courses that could help me expand my knowledge in areas that I was less familiar with.

What do you enjoy most about your programme?

I enjoyed the flexibility that the course offered. I could choose to do a few modules from a wide selection, so I got the opportunity to study the topics that I was most interested in or that I knew the least about. I also really loved the variety and broadness of the programme. I got to learn about so many different areas of neuroscience from some of the world’s leaders in the field, which was very exciting. It was great to have the opportunity to learn about topics that I had never even heard of; it really helps you to start figuring out what you like and what you don’t and which path you would like to take in the future.

What advice would give prospective students thinking of studying at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience?

I would suggest to stay open minded and ready to learn about new things. The course is very broad, so you will have the opportunity to learn about topics that you wouldn’t have thought of in the beginning. You might start the year with a very clear idea of what you like and, by the end of the programme, you have completely changed your mind. Be open to discover new passions and new areas of neuroscience that you can fall in love with.

What are your plans for the future once you have completed your degree?

I am now working as a research assistant for Prof Dominik Bach’s lab, here at UCL. After this, I am planning to start a PhD and probably continue in the path of academia. However, after these 2 years of pandemic, I have learned that everything can change, so you can never be sure whether your plans will stay the same in a few years.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your time at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience?

Due to the pandemic, my opportunities to meet my course mates were limited. However, in the last few months, after having finished the course, I had the chance of meeting a few of them. Being able to connect with people doing the same programme as you, with similar prospects and doubts and ideas for the future is very comforting and rewarding. I believe that during non-pandemic years, the ICN is very good at getting all the students together, so to all future students: make sure you meet other people in the course, you can learn so much just by talking and sharing your ideas with each other!