Institute of Education


Educational Neuroscience MA/MSc

The Educational Neuroscience MA/MSc will introduce students to the methods and findings from the emerging field of educational neuroscience. It will develop their understanding of key issues in educational neuroscience and the application of neuroscience to education, and provide the opportunity for them to undertake research in educational neuroscience.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

For information about application dates for this programme please visit Birkbeck, University of London.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

See Fees Note (FT)
See Fees Note (FT)

Note on fees: Fees for this programme are set by and payable to Birkbeck, University of London.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A good degree (an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or above) in psychology, social science, cognitive science, speech/communication science, neuroscience or related disciplines. Applicants with a good undergraduate or postgraduate degree in education but no previous background in psychology or science will be required to complete the Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology (which covers psychology, neuroscience, and research methods) before applying for the MSc/MA Educational Neuroscience. Ideally students should have a background in both cognitive neuroscience and education. Relevant practical and professional experience may also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Special. Requirement of 7.0 in IELTS with 6.5 in each subtest and at least 7.0 in writing.

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Visa information

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October. Please contact Birkbeck for further information.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

This programme will develop students' understanding of research processes and give them the opportunity to be taught by staff with a wide range of expertise in psychology of education and developmental cognitive neuroscience. Students will also benefit from strong links with psychological expertise in other colleges of the University of London, especially Birkbeck, with whom this is a joint award.

Students undertake modules to the value of 210 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (90 credits), of which four are taught at Birkbeck and one at the IOE; two optional modules (60 credits) taught at the IOE; and a dissertation (60 credits) supervised by a member of academic staff at Birkbeck or the IOE.

Upon successful completion of 210 credits, you will be awarded a MA/MSc in Educational Neuroscience.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

* indicates modules taken at Birkbeck

Advanced Quantitative Methods*
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience*
Genetics of Development*
Neuroimaging Methods*
Issues in Educational Neuroscience

Optional modules

Students choose two of the following optional modules offered by the IOE.
Autism: Research and Practice
Cognitive Development and Learning
Language Development
Individual Differences and Social Psychology in Education
Reading and Spelling Difficulties
Social and Individual Development
Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development
Psychological Aspects of Counselling


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation. For the MSc, the dissertation must report an empirical piece of research relating to neuroscience and education.

Teaching and learning

This programme is delivered by face-to-face daytime or evening sessions and attendance may vary depending on your choice of optional modules. It is assessed by coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and a 10,000-word dissertation.

Each 15 credit module at Birkbeck requires a notional 150 hours of study, and each 30 credit module at UCL Institute of Education requires a notional 300 hours of study. The majority of that study time requires students to study independently.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Sources of funding may be available through Birkbeck.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as research assistants, while others have jobs as teachers. Graduates can also be found continuing their studies as PhD students.


Students gain experience of thinking critically about how to apply scientific theories and findings to educational practice, and how to build an evidence base for education. These are crucial skills that aid career development in both the science and the education sectors.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Department of Psychology and Human Development brings together staff with research and teaching interests that encompass psychological approaches to learning, development, and teaching from early childhood to adulthood.

The Centre for Educational Neuroscience (CEN) was formed in 2008 to promote applications of cognitive neuroscience within educational research, and build partnerships with professionals to translate findings into new practice. The CEN involves 30+ academic staff with expertise in developmental psychology, pedagogy and learning technologies (UCL Institute of Education), cognitive neuroscience and educational psychology (UCL) and developmental neuroscience and computational modeling (Birkbeck).

The CEN established the MA/MSc in Educational Neuroscience, with an intake of psychology graduates and education professionals, which feeds into an ESRC-accredited doctoral training pathway.

Department: Psychology & Human Development

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"Much current research focuses on the cognitive processes and skills that support effective science learning in primary school children. A central objective is to help develop new approaches to the initial teaching of science that will benefit a range of learners, especially those at the lower end of the ability spectrum. The sheer wealth of contact with other researchers that being in London provides me with has been and continues to be a major stimulus to my own work."

Professor Andy Tolmie

Educational Neuroscience MA/MSc, Child Development MSc, Psychology of Education MSc
UCL Institute of Education

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Who can apply?

This programme is suited to graduates of psychology or a related discipline (education, social science, cognitive science, speech/communication science, neuroscience) who want to progress to research careers or professional training, or to engage in professional development.

Application deadlines

For information about application dates for this programme please visit Birkbeck, University of London.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Educational Neuroscience at graduate level
  • why you want to study Educational Neuroscience at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL and Birkbeck, University of London are regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021