Programme title: Dual MSc in Brain and Mind Sciences
Final award (BSc, MA etc): Completion of one year only gives postgraduate diploma from
(where stopping off points exist they should be relevant University
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code: N/A
Cohort(s) to which this programme From 2006
specification is applicable:
(e.g. from 2008 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body: University College London
Teaching institution: University College London
Faculty: Institute of Neurology
Parent Department: Institute of Neurology
(the department responsible for the administration of
Departmental web page address: www.ion.ucl.ac.uk with links to psychology, anatomy & development,
(if applicable) HCS, linguistics, philosophy
Method of study: Full time
Criteria for admission to the A first or second class Honours degree from a UK university or an
programme: equivalent qualification from a recognized overseas institution, in a
Applicants must be able to follow lectures in English and French.
Length of the programme: 2 calendar years – 1 year at UCL and 1 year in UPMC/ENS Paris
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher Level M
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/default.
(see Guidance notes)
Brief outline of the structure of the UCL year – a taught component assessed by unseen examination; a
programme and its assessment library dissertation and a research project assessed by dissertation,
methods: thesis and viva voce examination.
(see guidance notes)
Board of Examiners: i) Name of Board of Examiners:
MSc in Brain & Mind Sciences
Professional body accreditation N/A Date of next scheduled
(if applicable): accreditation visit:
EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME:
To give students a personalized programme of study and research in the neurosciences and cognitive science
disciplines relevant to a career in Brain and Mind Sciences. Students will be able to re-orient; to apply different
disciplines/competencies already acquired in pre-masters study (eg engineering, mathematics, genetics) to
problems; to study basic and clinical neuroscience or cognitive science in depth. The complementary nature of the
strengths in the 3 institutions in mathematics, science, philosophy, imaging etc. will be used to give as up to date
an experience of the Brain & Mind sciences from theoretical through empirical viewpoints. Care will be taken to
provide a coherent course in the joint programme for all students in the two years by review by a steering
committee and regular meetings/liaison between the tutors. The overarching educational aim is to give a grounding
in Brain & Mind Sciences from a multi-disciplinary perspective and to provide a sound basis for choosing an
appropriate topic and supervisor for doctoral research.
Opportunities are available depending on a student’s choice of modules for:
1) A theoretical grounding in neurobiological and cognitive research including philosophy of science,
methods (including imaging, psychophysics and neuropsychology), molecular, cellular, genetic and integrative
2) An appreciation of the way Brain & Mind questions can be approached theoretically and experimentally
in humans and other model systems.
3) An appreciation of the interaction between theory, modeling and empiricism in tackling Brain & Mind
4) Practical experience of investigating Brain & Mind problems from two cultural perspectives (in the two
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
Upon successful completion of the 2 year joint MSc course, students will have had the opportunity to obtain a broad
understanding of the cognitive sciences and neurosciences or to examine in depth one or more of the constituent
disciplines of the area of knowledge subsumed under the title ‘sciences of the brain and mind’. These disciplines
include theoretical and mathematical/modelling approaches, epistemological and philosophical approaches to
human sensation, action and theories of mind, empirical approaches including molecular, cellular, integrative and
behavioural neuroscience that can include psychological and neuropsychological, linguistic and semantic analyses of
normal human behaviour and of people with nervous system disease.
In particular they will:
• Understand how mechanisms operating at the molecular, cell, network and system level subserve normal
• Have a good working knowledge of modern methods for scientific and clinical investigation of the human
nervous system including neuroimaging.
• Be aware of the major recent developments in research in the area of the sciences of the brain and mind.
Be able to embark upon a successful career in their chosen field of research into the expression of human
behaviour and its biological substrate.
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
aspects of modern neuroscience and Courses, tutorials, lectures, seminars and essays.
cognitive science in health and The main teaching methods consist of lectures delivered
disease: by a large number of individual UCL experts in various
Understanding of the contribution of fields of the brain and mind sciences. Lectures are
biological mechanisms to human supported by audio-visual aids and supplementary
behaviour and its disorders. The course is materials e.g. hand-outs, reading-lists and references to
designed to cater for students’ individual original papers and/or reviews. As a general teaching
interests and needs but there are major strategy UCL’s MScs are moving towards facilitating
themes that will be accessible to them learning by e.g. making the lectures more interactive.
through the existing MScs from which Among methods for encouraging more student
their curricula will be constructed participation are (1) experimenting with different
Theme A: Neuroscience - from molecules questioning techniques (2) working in buzz-groups (and
to systems reporting back to plenary) and (3) e-mailing students a
Theme B: Clinical neuroscience question/vignette so they can prepare in advance of a
Theme C: Language,linguistics and lecture.
semantics Each student is assigned an individual Personal Tutor (a
Theme D: Cognitive psychology and member of the MSc Committee) who agrees the year’s
neuropsychology curriculum from the courses on offer, monitors the
Theme E: Philosophical approaces to student’s academic achievement and attends to their
human sensation, emotion, action and pastoral care.
cognition A number of workshops are offered in certain courses
where students gain both knowledge and some
understanding of practical skills related to a range of
aspects of cognitive and neuroscience research (both
clinical and basic).
Students also will have an opportunity to gain further
understanding of chosen topics in an independent
learning situations and with a library and research
The knowledge and understanding of topics and related
sub-disciplines chosen by a student are assessed by: (1)
three written papers (2) a mock exam held in January
(3) a library project and (4) the main research project.
Students may also be able to complete a quiz at the end
of (some) workshops. Results of the mock exam and the
quizzes can contribute a fraction to their coursework
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Theoretical, philosophical, mathematical Courses, tutorials, problems, library, reading
and empirical background for the study of essays.
action, emotion, perception, cognition and In all components students are encouraged to critically
other aspects of behaviour. examine evidence. In some theoretical approaches will
be learned and ways of assessing their validity. In more
empirical parts of the courses offered the collection,
organization, analysis and interpretation of data will be
learned. There will opportunities to learn how to
conceptualise theoretical problems in experimental
Several of the constituent MScs have a specific module
often in the form of a small group seminar, on critical
appraisal skills to develop this particular aspect of
thinking skills. Students will be able to participate in
practical workshops where journal papers are critically
appraised by a group. A module covering presentation
skills and the skills of giving constructive feedback will
Generally students will be encouraged to develop self
direction, originality and critical thinking via consultation
with their supervisors in the early stages of the library
project and throughout the research project.
Thinking skills will be assessed in the marking of the
mock exam, the main exam, the library project and the
research project dissertation and when presentations are
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to): Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
relevant to the study of cognition Research projects, seminars, library projects, workshops
and neuroscience: with hands on experience.
Different programmes will result in
different proportions and types of skill
learning, from neuroscience techniques,
through physiological and imaging
methods, behavioural testing and data
analysis to posing meaningful hypotheses,
and establishing theoretical, mathematical
and experimentally verifiable models
Assessed when library projects and main research
projects marked and at the viva.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to): Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
(1) Empirical research: Students undertake a main research project. The project
is intended as an exercise in scientific investigation that
is written up and presented as a dissertation. Students
have an opportunity depending on their choice of course
to experience all major components of research i.e.:
searching the literature; formulating an hypothesis;
principles of research design; developing good working
relationships and integrating with multi-disciplinary
teams; laboratory, measurement and/or interviewing
techniques; data collection, coding and analysis;
statistical techniques, discussion and interpretation of
results and the writing of a dissertation (English
acceptable in booth countries).
Specific practical skills vary but could include cell culture
techniques, histological procedures, DNA analysis,
electrophysiology, image analysis, patient questionnaires
Research skills assessed when main research project is
marked. Also assessed during the student’s performance
in their viva.
(2) Literature searching: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Literature searching, systematic reviews, meta-analysis
and the principles of critical reading are taught in
research training seminars. Aspects of literature
searching and handling data-bases are also covered
during induction sessions by library staff. Practical
experience is gained when students carry out their
library project and research project.
Assessed when library projects and main research
projects marked and at the viva.
(3) Managing references: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Reference Manager software taught by library staff.
Assessed indirectly when library project and research
(4) Data-analysis and statistics: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Statisticians run a number of statistics workshops,
covering a range of topics, which are time-tabled into
MSc lecture programmes. Also, students are encouraged
to consult statisticians individually at the design stage of
Assessed indirectly as an important component of the
dissertation (Results, Study Design, Data-analysis and
(5) How to handle a viva: Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Seminar/interactive workshop. Discussion of what to
expect - including sharing experiences and suggestions
from students in previous years.
Performance at the viva.
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements (http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/FHEQ/default.asp);
the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
UCL teaching and learning policies;
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the
departmental course handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by
UCL and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Programme Organiser(s) Professor RSJ Frackowiak
Date of Production: November 2005
Date of Review: June 2007
Date approved by Head of June 2006
Date approved by Chair of June 2006
Date approved by Faculty November 2007