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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions relating to the Masters programmes at the ICN.

Can I apply for the Cognitive Neuroscience MSc/MRes as part of my 1 plus 3 studentship?

Yes, but you must have already been accepted for your PhD and 1-plus-3 studentship before you make your application to the Cognitive Neuroscience MSc/MRes. Please speak to your PhD supervisor if you would like more information regarding this.

Can I still apply if my undergraduate degree is not in psychology or neuroscience?

Yes. We ask that your undergraduate degree is in a relevant subject, however, including but not limited to: Linguistics, Speech Science, Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Anatomy, Cognitive Science or Physiology.

We are unlikely to accept degrees in unrelated subjects such as Drama, History, Art, Religion, Geography, Archaeology, Space Sciences or Pure Mathematics.

You should be aware that cognitive neuroscience is an experimental science and without a basic scientific grounding (e.g. statistics, experimental design) you are likely to be at a disadvantage. You will need to be able to demonstrate competence in these areas (e.g. by taking a top-up course) and a clear commitment to the subject (e.g. to have already undertaken wide reading). You need to have the ability, knowledge and skills to successfully complete the MSc.

If you are unsure whether your degree is relevant then please do enquire at cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk

Can I apply with professional experience instead of fulfilling the undergraduate degree requirement?

Yes. It is possible to enter with a professional qualification that is equivalent to an upper second-class undergraduate degree (e.g. three years relevant experience in a medical, neuroimaging, or neuropsychological profession, with the ability to demonstrate the ability, knowledge and skills to successfully complete the MSc).

Can I apply from overseas?

Yes, we welcome overseas applicants. Please visit our International Students page to browse or search information regarding this.

My qualifications were not acheived in the UK. How can I tell if they are equivalent to the entry requirements?

Please select your country and you will find tailored advice about your qualifications.

Can I visit the Institute of Cognitive Neurocience before I apply?

The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience is a working research institute comprising mainly of testing rooms and offices. Regrettably we cannot provide tours. We welcome any questions you may have, however, via email (cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk) or telephone (020 7679 4754). If you would like to discuss topics such as accessibility and disability, it may be possible to arrange a meeting with the Teaching Administrator.

You can of course visit other areas of UCL, please see our page on Open Days, Visits and Tours for more information.

Can I visit the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience after I have received an offer but before Induction?

Once you have received an offer for a place on the MSc/MRes programme and would like to discuss whether to take up your offer, it may be possible to arrange a meeting with the Programme Director or Teaching Administrator depending on the nature of your queries. Please contact cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk to arrange this.

Please note that this will not include a tour of the Institute as the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience is a working research institute comprising mainly of testing rooms and offices.

You can of course visit other areas of UCL please see our page on Open Days, Visits and Tours for more information.

I have not yet completed my undergaduate degree, can I still apply?

Yes. If your application is successful, you will receive a provisional offer with the condition that you achieve at least a 2.1 or equivalent degree classification. In your application, you will need to show that you are currently at a 2.1 or equivalent level (for example via your second year transcript). If you expect to get a 2.1 or equivalent degree classification, but your latest transcript does not show that you are currently at this level, you should apply after you have been awarded your final degree classification.

Can I have my application checked by a member of the staff before I submit it?

We are unable to check individual applications. There is a lot of information and guidance about the application process online for you to view. We are unable to comment on specific students or documents in the light of the volume of applications we receive and to ensure that no one is at a disadvantage.

What are my chances of being accepted?

The MSc and MRes Cognitive Neuroscience are competitive programmes which usually receive more applications than there are spaces, so even if you fulfil the entry requirements you are not guaranteed a place. However, this should not deter you from applying. We are always happy to receive applications from those interested in the programmes and do encourage you to apply if you meet the minimum entry criteria.

When will I know if I have been accepted?

Once you have submitted your application to UCL, the UCL Admissions Department will check that you meet the minimum entry standard. Your application will then be forwarded to the Admissions Tutors at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who will evaluate your application. Because we receive more applications than we have places on the programmes, the Admissions Tutors evaluate applications once a sufficient number has been received. This happens on a regular basis, usually starting around February of the year in which you apply to enrol.

You will be informed about the outcome of your application as soon as possible, but this may take some time depending on the strength of your application and when applications are evaluated. Applications are not evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. You may receive an automated reply from UCL Admissions indicating you will hear about the outcome of your application within six weeks, but this does not apply for the Cognitive Neuroscience programmes. If you need an urgent decision on your application (for example because of a funding application) or would like to know the status of your application, please email cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk

What are the differences between the Cognitive Neuroscience MSc and MRes?

An MSc is a Taught Masters and an MRes is a Master of Research.

Students on the MSc study more taught modules and do a smaller research project while MRes students study fewer taught modules and do a larger project. You should decide how you want to learn about cognitive neuroscience. If you want to learn primarily via taught sessions in a classroom, the MSc may be more suitable for you. If, instead, you want to learn by being immersed in active research, the MRes may be a better choice. We expect MRes students to be able to engage in cognitive neuroscience research relatively independently and you are expected to have the relevant skills and experiences to accomplish this. Please note that the MRes programme is not designed to teach you how to do research.

Why wasn't I offered a place on the course?

In the first stage the UCL Admissions Department will reject all applications which do not meet the minimum entry criteria. Then the ICN Admissions Tutors look at all aspects of an application, including the type and quality of an applicant's degree, past research experience, performance on taught modules relevant for this programme, the quality of the Personal Statement, and the applicants' references and career plans. In combination, your application was not as strong as some of the others we received and we therefore, regrettably, could not offer you a place on the programme.

We cannot offer any specific feedback but you are of course welcome to reapply for the next year when you may be able to improve on some of the above criteria.

Can I apply with a 2.1 and not First Class degree?

Yes, the minimum entry requirement is a 2.1 degree or equivalent.

I do not have any practical experience, can I still apply?

Yes, we encourage you to apply to the MSc. Applicants to the MRes programme are expected to have some prior research experience and clear research interests. 

Should I be concerned about Brexit?

Brexit is the name coined for the UK leaving the European Union. The European Union is a large multinational organisation which operates a single market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states as well as creating laws for the member states.

UCL is strongly committed to supporting students from all over the world, including the European Union. If you would like to view the most up-to-date information about Brexit and UCL, please see the relevant UCL statement (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/eu-referendum). 

Can I apply for this intake and then defer my place?

No. Unless there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. you have a studentship with date restrictions), we do not allow deferrals for the MSc and MRes Cognitive Neuroscience. You must apply for the intake you wish to join.

Where can I find information about UCL scholarships?

Please see the UCL postgraduate funding page as well as the UKCISA page. Unfortunately the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience does not have any funding to help you with the education fees. 

How can I get a hard copy of my offer letter?

Please email cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk with your request.

What are the course programme dates?

The programme follow the UCL academic year.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the 2021/22 cohort is 30 July 2021. It is possible all places on the programme will have been allocated before then, however, and you are encouraged to submit your application as soon as you can. You are not more or less likely to get a place on the programme depending on when you submit your application, however (see “When will I know if I have been accepted?” question above). 

How well do I have to speak and understand English?

You need to be sufficiently proficient in the English language to complete the MSc, please refer to the UCL English language requirements.

Do I need to include a research proposal with my application?

MSc applicants do not need to enclose a specific project proposal with their application. On the application form, you need to describe your academic and research interests and reasons for applying. In addition, we require the completion of a personal statement. See the how to apply section for details.

Can I follow the programme as a part-time student?

You can follow the MSc programme as a part-time student over two years. We regret that the MRes programme is only available in full-time mode of study. It normally takes one year to complete the programme.

Do you hold interviews to select applicants?

Interviews are not part of the usual selection process but we may occasionally contact an applicant for further information.

Can people with a disability complete the programme?

The programme is generally suitable for students with disabilities. Some of the teaching will be done in laboratories that contain neuroimaging equipment (e.g. MRI scanner, EEG/MEG recording facilities). Depending on the nature of the disability, access to this equipment may not be possible due to space constraints, presence of strong magnetic fields, or the location of the laboratories. Every effort will be made to enable access and reasonable adjustments will be made if possible. If you are interested in the programme, feel free to contact us or the UCL Student Disability Services.

Where and when is the programme taught?

The programme is taught in central London, at UCL. Most of the teaching takes place at the ICN. The taught modules will be taught during UCL term times. Some of the work, especially the research project, will have to be completed outside of term times.

Do I need to live in London to complete the programme?

The taught modules and research project are mandatory. The taught modules take place during regular term times in central London, at UCL. In addition, you will need to be able to spend considerable time in London to meet with the supervisor of your research project and fulfil other aspects of the project (e.g. data collection).

Can you give me a rough timetable for the programme for full-time students?

Full-time students take eight taught modules over one year. Four of these run in the first, and four in the second, term. Any examinations will be held during and/or at the end of each term. The rest of the academic year will be spent on the research project. Students should decide on a project during the first term, set up the experiment in the second term, and conduct the research during the third term, in which there is no time-tabled teaching. Students submit their dissertation at the end of the academic year.

How will the programme be assesed?

The taught modules will be assessed with a combination of written reports, essays, and an unseen written exam. See the overview of the taught modules for details. The project will be assessed with a written dissertation. Informally, you will be given the opportunity to develop your presentation and other general skills.

Will the programme prepare me to work with patients in a hospital or for a career in counselling?

The programme is not a clinically accredited programme. However, if you plan to go on to a clinical psychology training programme, completing the MSc may help your application as you will be able to demonstrate that you can engage in scientific research. You can also endeavour to find a clinically-oriented research project.

Will I be given the opportunity to play with MRI machines?

You will get experience with fMRI. We will try to organize practical demonstrations to see neuroimaging equipment in action and you will learn how to analyze and interpret neuroimaging data. Your research project may also involve fMRI.

Will I learn about SPM?

You will be given an introduction into Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) and will receive demonstrations of analyzing neuroimaging data with SPM.

Can you guarantee that I will get a research project in a particular area?

No. The nature of the projects varies widely. Students will be given a description of the research interests of lecturers who are willing to supervise projects and an outline of possible projects. Students are also encouraged to generate their own ideas and approach lecturers to find a supervisor. Which project you will do depends on a number of factors, such as your own efforts, the timing of your project, availability of supervisors and equipment, and so on. 

Do I need to arrange a research project and supervisor before starting MSc?

No. We will help you with this process. MSc students will be given a description of the research interests of lecturers who are willing to supervise projects and an outline of possible projects. Students are also encouraged to generate their own ideas and approach lecturers to find a supervisor.

Where do most students end up after the programme?

Many students on the programme will go on to pursue PhDs and research careers in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology. The programme also provides a basis for the application of this research in applied settings in a range of areas including marketing, teaching, and consultancy. Other students have been successful in obtaining Assistant Psychologist positions, with a view to gaining entry onto a clinical training programme.

Any other questions?

Please email cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk if you are unsure of who to email or have questions not covered on the website. If we cannot answer your query we will find out who can.

Please email cogneuro_admin@ucl.ac.uk if you are unsure of who to email or have questions not covered on the website. If we cannot answer your query we will find out who can.