The brain is incredibly complex, as are our experiences and behaviours. The interdisciplinary master’s programme in cognitive neuroscience (iKoN) conveys the knowledge and skills to understand the neural mechanisms underlying mental functions such as thinking, perceiving, feeling, remembering, dreaming, acting, speaking and problem solving. The study of these functions in cognitive neuroscience is strongly influenced by current methodological developments in various research fields. These include imaging techniques and the use of neural networks and artificial intelligence, as well as address research questions from psychology, biology, medicine, exercise science and other subjects. Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential for successful research and teaching in this field.
Neuroscientific research methods such as electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational modelling contribute to the understanding of the processes that underlie experience and behaviour. These methods and findings are taught theoretically and applied practically at iKoN by professors of psychology, medicine, biology, physics and sports science. This broad-based approach allows you to benefit from the full research potential of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Münster.
With your BSc degree under your belt, you will enter the programme with valuable interdisciplinary expertise from different disciplines (e.g. psychology, physics, mathematics, biology, medicine, computer science, movement sciences, neuroscience) and will have the opportunity to develop new, interdisciplinary approaches in seminars and practical courses together with other students and instructors.
The iKoN programme is characterised by a high degree of interaction between instructors and students and a pronounced practical orientation. The individual study content serves to strengthen competence in the field of cognitive neuroscience research, development and application. This, in turn, will allow you to apply these skills in future to the corresponding professional fields of science, business and industry. Specifically, you will acquire in-depth knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- structures and functions of the nervous system underlying human behaviour and experience
- experimental methods and procedures of neuroscientific research, e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, virtual reality and eye tracking
- mathematical modelling of neural networks and machine-learning applications
- scientific programming and analysis of neuroscientific data
- interdisciplinary communication and teamwork
In the lectures of the module “Neurocognition”, you will become familiar with theories and models of cognitive neuroscience. This will enable you to classify scientific findings that you are sure to encounter during your studies and in your future career. You will be able to determine whether these findings support existing theories and models, and to identify inconsistencies between different theories and models. In the “Neural Systems” module, these skills are enhanced through active seminar work using examples from the latest research.
Are you interested in examining a real brain and exploring it in detail? This is possible in the module “Neuroanatomy”, a unique anatomical dissection course which introduces you to the structures and functional units of the nervous system in small groups and in a very practical way. This course will give you a concrete idea of how the brain is spatially constructed and enable you to recognise generic structures in individual brains and distinguish them from individual variations in morphology.
How is an EEG measured, how do you analyse fMRI data, and how does an eye tracker work? In the “Methods of Neuroscience” module, you will be given a hands-on introduction to these and other important empirical methods of cognitive neuroscience and learn how to find the appropriate method for your own research project. You will then practice and expand on this knowledge with concrete examples in various laboratories during your research internship.
In the “Computational Neuroscience” module, the theoretical understanding of brain functions is deepened, concretised and augmented by the area of modelling and programming. You will learn about the processes of information processing in individual neurons and in cell networks and understand how to model and interpret them.
Depending on your bachelor’s degree, you will choose from different course offerings in the elective module “Discipline-Specific Foundations” and thereby complement your academic training in a very specific and individual way. You will further expand these areas of competence with the elective module “Interdisciplinary Deepening”, during which you can deepen them based on your personal research profile, knowledge and interests.
The crowning glory – your own research paper! In the final module, “Research Module and Master’s Thesis”, you will learn how best to go about this with practical academic supervision. Based on existing research results, you will develop hypotheses and professionally test them with the aid of appropriate methods and procedures.
The special interdisciplinary breadth of the programme combines all relevant disciplines of cognitive neuroscience and is practiced by instructors and students alike. Students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, biology, computer science, mathematics, physics, or exercise science – and related subject combinations – are welcome to apply! We are convinced that disciplinary diversity leads to the best possible learning and research results. See for yourself what excites students and faculty of all disciplines about neuroscience:
With my background in biology, I find neuroscience totally exciting because it allows us to study the mechanisms behind human and animal behaviour, thinking and feeling. From imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging to electrophysiological measurements of individual neurons, neuroscience allows us to specifically explore complex questions and better understand our brain and its functions.
I started the BSc in Psychology with the firm idea of working as a psychotherapist later on. During my bachelor thesis, however, I had so much fun analysing data and designing experiments that I decided to pursue a neuroscience master’s degree and was able to broaden my interests during that time. Today, as a research assistant, I still enjoy transforming a research question into an appropriate experiment and trying out new statistical methods.
After completing my master’s degree in psychology with a focus on cognitive neuroscience, the path to neuroscience research wasn’t too far. Still, I have learned a lot from my time in science and there is always so much more to know because our brains haven’t quite figured out how they work themselves.
The most successful teams are interdisciplinary. This is precisely the added value that iKoN students will experience directly.
Studying electromagnetic fields in the human brain is a very special application of physical phenomena, and there is an incredible amount to discover. The idea of using my research to better understand neuronal functioning or to contribute to understanding or curing diseases is very motivating.
This is a research field that brings together many different disciplines. Through mathematics, I have an understanding of the algorithms used to create medical image data. My background in psychology as a minor enables me to gain neuroscientific insights from the final medical image data. In the field of artificial intelligence, I see multiple potentials to gain new insights in cognitive neuroscience in the future.
Your talents are in demand, and we support you individually!
Neuroscience is as versatile as your interests. We want to provide you with individual support because we are convinced that you already have many relevant skills: interest in human experience and behaviour, logical thinking and empirical working methods.
In our master’s programme, you will learn to think outside the box professionally because we all come together from a wide variety of backgrounds. What unites us is the fascination with the brain. That’s why we have created a degree-relevant curriculum with courses from different subjects depending on your area of specialisation and combine your interests with those of others in an interdisciplinary way. See for yourself what you have in common with the other subjects, and find out what you can learn from others:
- What you already know: fundamentals in neurocognitive processes, general and biological psychology, empirical methods training and statistics
- What you will learn: neuroscientific methods: EEG, fMRI, computational modelling, neuroanatomy
- What you already know: theoretical and experimental approaches to fundamental questions about the world as well as understanding of the physical processes underlying neural (action potential, networks) and behavioural processes (optics, acoustics, mechanics) as well as measurement methods (EEG, MRI)
- What you will learn: structure and function of the brain, experimental investigation of psychological processes, neuronal information processing
- What you already know: mathematical understanding of analysis, linear algebra and probability theory, numerical methods
- What you will learn: empirical and experimental research methods, structure and function of the brain, applied modelling, data processing of human behaviour
- What you already know: understanding of the evolution and diversity of biological functions, knowledge of neurophysiological processes and structures and knowledge of behavioural analysis
- What you will learn: sound statistical data analysis, in-depth understanding of the human brain, neuroscientific methods (EEG, fMRI, computational modelling)
- What you already know: human physiology and anatomy, as well as their healthy function and pathology
- What you will learn: neuroscientific methods (EEG, fMRI, computational modelling), statistical data analysis, modelling
- What you already know: information processing, algorithmic methods for data analysis, programming experience, structured approach to implementing workflows, human-machine interaction
- What you will learn: empirical and experimental research methods, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, analysis and understanding of human behaviour
- What you already know: empirical methods for behavioural research, anatomical and physiological principles of movement control
- What you will learn: neuroanatomy: structure and function of the brain, neural methods: EEG, fMRI, MRI, computational modelling
- What you already know: fundamentals of neurocognitive processes and neuroanatomical structures, empirical research and statistical data analysis
- What you will learn: theory and methods for analysing human behaviour and experience
Neuroscience offers graduates a broad range of versatile and attractive career perspectives.
High-quality methodological skills enable graduates to take on challenging jobs in the field of data science and deep learning. Our modules provide knowledge about the human experience and interaction with a dynamic and complex environment, which is in high demand in professional fields such as human-machine interaction, robotics, autonomous driving, ergonomics, user experience (UX) design, artificial intelligence, medical technology or rehabilitation research.
Knowledge of neurological damage and disorders in brain function is fundamental for pursuing research and development endeavours in the field of psychiatry, neurology and cognitive rehabilitation.
The interdisciplinary approach and integrative understanding of complex problems related to the brain, experience, and behaviour prepare students for professional fields in which science communication and science-based consulting for the media, politics, organisations and individuals play a central role.
All faculty members at iKoN actively conduct neuroscientific research. You can find more information about their research interests on the following institute webpages. You can also find information on internships and completed theses.
Examination regulations, programme structure, performance overview and module handbook
The examination regulations contain all the rules and requirements for the interdisciplinary MSC programme in cognitive neuroscience. The programme structure shows the ideal course of study. In the performance overview you will find all required coursework and degree-relevant examinations which must be completed in order to graduate. Here, you can download the programme structure and performance overview. You will find descriptions of all the courses in the module handbook, which also contains the examination regulations.
Psychotherapy training (under the old law)
For admission to psychotherapeutic training (under the old law), the NRW State Examination Office requires, among other things, “a final examination passed in Germany at a university or equivalent institution of higher education in the course of study in psychology which includes the subject of clinical psychology ...”. It goes on to say, “‘Courses of study in psychology’ also include those courses whose designation indicates a focus or an addition, e.g., ‘Psychology and Psychotherapy’ or ‘Psychology, specialisation in clinical psychology’ (as distinct from a specialisation, e.g. ‘Rehabilitation Psychology’).” Thus, the interdisciplinary MSc programme in cognitive neuroscience does not meet the requirements for psychotherapeutic training (under the old law).
Please see our information on the regular application process and on special cases in the application process. This is where you will also find detailed information on admission requirements and the allocation of study places.
In addition to the general requirements for enrolment, the prerequisite for admission to the interdisciplinary MSc programme in cognitive neuroscience is the completion of a relevant undergraduate degree programme at a German or foreign university with a standard period of study of at least 6 semesters with the conferral of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a comparable professional degree. The following courses of study are considered “subject-relevant”:
Applied Physics, Bioinformatics, Biology, Biophysics, Bioscience, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Experimental Physics, Human Movement Analytics -Biomechanics, Motor Control, and Learning, Human Movement in Sports and Exercise, Human Movement Science, Human Biology, Computer Science, Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics, Cognitive Science, Cognitive Informatics, Mathematics, Mathematics in Medicine and Life Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematical Physics, Human-Computer Interaction, Natural Sciences, Neuro-Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Cognition, Physics, Psychology, Sensory and Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, Theoretical Physics, or a degree in Medicine.
Degrees from universities outside the European Union are reviewed for equivalency by the Student Admissions Office.