Cognition and Computation (MA)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


Two days a week full-time or one day a week part-time, plus some evening teaching

Other entry years for this course


This programme studies the cognitive processes and representations underlying human thought, knowledge and behaviour. It integrates a wide range of disciplines and methodologies with the core assumption that human cognition is a computational process, implemented in neural hardware.

Key topics include: the nature of computational explanation; general principles of cognition; methodology of computational modelling; theories of the cognitive architecture; symbol systems; connectionism; neural computation; and case studies in computational cognitive modelling.

The programme involves intensive training in experimental design and methodology, building computational models, and carrying out a substantial piece of original research.

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  • Draws on academics from many disciplines, including internationally renowned researchers in psychology, computational modelling and neuroscience.
  • Good foundation for a research career in the cognitive sciences.
  • Develops an understanding of core theoretical principles of human thought and an expertise in computer simulation.
  • Designed for graduates of either the computational sciences or the psychological sciences.
  • The Department of Psychological Sciences has an outstanding research tradition, with an outstanding international reputation in all aspects of cognitive neuroscience, and especially developmental cognitive neuroscience.
  • You will have the opportunity to interact with world-class researchers in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive neuropsychology, and attend research seminars organised by the Department and a number of other local research centres and institutes.
  • Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked fifth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and we achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to research of world-leading quality.
  • Psychological research at Birkbeck has ranked fifth in the world in a category of the Best Global Universities Rankings 2016, an important and influential index of research quality.
  • ESRC funding may be available in conjunction with PhD study.
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Course structure

The programme is made up of seven taught modules and an extended critical literature review.

There are six core modules, which provide you with a firm basis in both the theory and practice of cognitive science and computational modelling, and one specialist module that you select from a list of option modules. The option modules and literature review allow you to pursue your own specific interests.

Students with a background in computing normally complete the module Core Topics in Psychology II. Students with a psychology background normally complete a MatLab Programming module.

Read more about modules
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