Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind and Brain - Master's Programme, 60 credits

Admission requires at least a Bachelor's Degree (equivalent to a Swedish Bachelor’s Degree) in Cognitive Neuroscience or equivalent. A further requirement is proof of skills in English equivalent of studies at upper secondary level in Sweden, known as English course 6 / English B. This is normally demonstrated by means of an internationally recognized test, e g IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent.

Degree of Master
autumn -19Old Study Plans


Are you interested in understanding the relationship between our thoughts and our bodies, the mind and the brain? Do you want to get hands-on experience of state-of-the-art electrophysiological brain research? This international master’s programme allows you to study these and related issues in depth.

Programme overview

Our one-year master's programme Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind and Brain is an academically challenging programme for graduates with a background in cognitive neuroscience or consciousness studies. It might also be suitable as a conversion programme for students interested in these fields, with a background in relevant topics such as cognitive science, neuroscience, experimental psychology, philosophy of mind, or biology. The programme, which is taught entirely in English, serves as a strong academic foundation for subsequent research and teaching in cognitive neuroscience. It requires sustained and focused student effort over one year.

Programme content

During the first half-year semester, successful applicants complete four courses, in topics including cognitive neuroscience, consciousness studies, electrophysiology and statistics. These are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and group discussions, several of which are held by internationally leading researchers at the department. During the second semester, students receive one-on-one thesis supervision from a senior faculty member, in order to successfully carry out an empirical or theoretical study in cognitive neuroscience, as the basis for their final thesis.

Placement record

The programme was established as recently as 2011, but has already achieved a solid placement record. Of the students who have completed their degree, the vast majority have successfully gained entry to other graduate programs or internships at various prestigious institutions abroad and in Sweden, including Max Planck Institutes, University College London, the Karolinska Institute, KU Leuven, École Normale Supérieure, the University of Bern, Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Luxembourg, the University of Gothenburg, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Umeå University, Central European University, the University of Turku and Örebro University. More detail is available in several of our student alumni testimonials.


Most senior faculty members conduct research in addition to their teaching duties, some of which takes the form of collaboration on various research projects. For an up-to-date overview of academic life within the department, please see our independent department website. There is also more general (and possibly somewhat out-of-date) information on the official University webpage of our research group.

Practical information

You can also have a look at for information about studying in Sweden.

FAQs - Admissions

Where can I find specific admissions information, like deadlines and similar?

The admissions procedure for the entire country of Sweden is administered centrally at a national level, via Applications to our programme, like applications to any other university study programme in Sweden, happen via their website. Once they have established that you pass the general entry requirements, your application is forwarded to us for programme-specific assessment (more information on which below).

For all questions relating to the overall general admissions procedure, such as deadlines and similar, please see the information and contact details available at

Do I need to have a Bachelor's degree in cognitive neuroscience in order to apply?

We admit students from many different academic backgrounds, but in addition to the general admissions criteria, they all have the following in common:

  • They have some familiarity (through coursework or similar) with cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, neuroscience, psychobiology, biological psychology, or similar; that is, topics that in some manner aim to span the mind-brain gap, linking (aspects of) the mind with its underlying biology.
  • They have some familiarity (through coursework or similar) with relevant considerations of methods, experimental design, and statistics.
  • They have an explicit interest in pursuing research within cognitive neuroscience.

Without these, you are likely to be at a serious disadvantage, and so need to demonstrate competence in the relevant areas (e.g. through extra coursework) in addition to a commitment to the field (e.g. through familiarity with relevant literature).

In particular, if you do not have a robust background in cognitive neuroscience, then in addition to the above, we recommend that you study e.g. Gazzaniga, Ivry & Mangun (2014): Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind (4th ed.), New York, NY: W. W. Norton; Purves et al. (2013): Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience (2nd ed.), Sunderland, MA: Sinauer; or Kolb, Whishaw & Teskey (2016): An Introduction to Brain and Behavior (5th ed.), New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Parts of these are required reading for several of our undergraduate courses, and prior to embarking on our programme, we would expect you to have assimilated the majority of the information to be found in any one of them.

What are the English language requirements?

The formal English language requirements stipulate a minimum-level of acceptable English, as assessed through a formal grade or test. Success in your studies with us, however, requires a reasonably high level of comprehension of academic English, which is arguably higher than the formal requirements. Although we do not test for this, it is important to be aware of the following prior to applying.

To a large extent, the programme centres around reading and engaging with original, English-language, published research in cognitive neuroscience and adjacent fields, and so it is critical that you have the capacity to work with such literature. If you are in doubt, have a look at some of the free articles in e.g. the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; this is the sort of material you will largely be focusing on during the programme.

Do I need to submit any supplementary documents (e.g. a statement of interest, personal references, etc.) with my application?

Although we do not formally require any supplementary documentation beyond what is specified generally by, it may be in your own best interest to include such documentation anyway. To the extent that e.g. a cover letter or personal reference explicitly highlights relevant aspects of your grade transcripts, we will be in a better position to judge the strengths of your application in relation to our programme (see the two preceding questions, and the question "What are my chances of being accepted?" below).

Please also note the following: there are many resources online that give good advice on how to formulate strong personal letters, statements of interest, and references. As regards the lattermost - personal references - please bear in mind that a strong reference highlights the individual student's strengths and weaknesses, and gives a more complete and realistic appraisal of the student generally. For this reason, personal references that look like generic form letters, e.g. that speak only in very general terms about how studious and courteous and deliberate a given student is, and which could in theory have been recycled for dozens of separate applications, will not add any strength to an application.

A good reference letter instead includes, among other things:

  • A detailed assessment of a given student's strengths (with real-life examples) and weaknesses (with real-life examples).
  • A ranking of a student's academic capacities in comparison to some (specified) peer group, e.g. all classmates during a given year, with an explicit indication of the size of the peer group.
  • An explicitly justified prediction about how well the student is expected to do in their upcoming studies at the next level.
  • All of the above specifically geared toward the programme the student is applying to.

I am not from the EU/EEA, can I still apply?

Yes, we are happy to receive applications from anywhere in the world. However, if you do not hold EU or EEA citizenship, then you will be liable for tuition fees.

The university has a limited number of scholarships available for non-EU/EEA students to help offset a proportion of the tuition fees.

Do you have scholarships available?

Apart from the university scholarships, most of which only offset a portion of the tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students liable to pay them (see the previous question), we do not have any scholarships available from the university.

Although it varies from year to year, and eligibility varies from country to country, the Swedish Institute sometimes offers a limited number of scholarships, which typically cover both tuition fees, a living stipend, and travel costs up to a stipulated amount. For more information, see the scholarship information on the Swedish Institute's website. Unfortunately, we can not answer questions about these particular scholarships, as we are not involved in processing applications for them.

Apart from the above options, your best chance for receiving a scholarship of some sort is probably by applying to relevant instances in your home country.

Can I send my application documents straight to you?

No. As noted above, the admissions procedure for the entire country of Sweden is administered centrally at a national level, via Once they have performed a preliminary assessment of your application, and deemed that it meets the general entry requirements, they will forward your application documents to us, for topic- and programme-specific assessment. After we receive your application, we may be in contact with you, to request further specifications, as and when we deem this to be necessary.

What are my chances of being accepted?

Our internal admissions procedure (once applicants have passed's preliminary assessment - see above) for all applications received in time consists of two steps:

  1. An assessment of programme-specific eligibility: whether or not we deem you to have the necessary qualifications to be able to embark on the programme.
  2. A ranking of candidates by academic merit: the better the fit between your academic history and our ideal profile (as indicated in previous questions, and assessed by looking at e.g. grades, grade-level averages, courses studied, statements of interest, personal references, etc.), the higher your ranking compared to your applicant peers.

It is impossible, in any given year, to predict where an applicant will place in the ranking undertaken in the second step, since it depends on the amount of applicants that year, and the strength of their individual applications. Eligibility (step 1) is necessary for admission, but does not guarantee it, depending on where one's application ultimately ranks (step 2).

Can I study the programme part-time, or as a distance-based programme?

No, the programme is only given as a one-year, fulltime, campus-based programme.

Do you have any intake for the spring term?

No, the programme only admits new students for an autumn term intake.

FAQs - Studying in Skövde

Do I need to live in Skövde during term?

There is no formal requirement that you must reside in Skövde, during term or otherwise. You will, however, be expected to be in Skövde for a number of occasions - lectures, seminars, workshops, presentations, exams, etc. Depending on the time of the term, this may vary from several times a week, to only once every couple of weeks. It is up to you to determine from how far away you are comfortable commuting, should you consider such an option.

Can I bring my family to Skövde?

Yes, you can, but please note that you will probably not be eligible for standard student housing if you do. In particular, our student housing landlords will not permit children in the student flats. Therefore, if you intend to come with a partner, any children, and/or any other family members, then it is absolutely imperative that you contact the university accommodation office as soon as possible, so that you aren't denied housing altogether.

How might I go about organising my own non-student room accommodation?

Our university accommodation office can help give you relevant information (contacts, etc.). Please bear in mind that, unlike many other countries, it is relatively unusual to find furnished flats to rent in Sweden. If you are planning to sort your own accommodation, then be prepared either to bring or to buy all the home essentials: furniture, cutlery and crockery, etc. (Rented flats normally come with white goods - a fridge and freezer, and possibly a dishwasher - and, typically, access to shared laundry facilities).

Can I, or an accompanying family member, take on extra-curricular employment during my time in Skövde?

Although there is no formal restriction on extra-curricular employment, we strongly recommend against it, since the amount of effort required to successfully complete the programme entails a significant undertaking - in our experience thus far, students who attempt to work while studying the programme tend to never finish. In addition, you should be aware that it can be very difficult to find paid employment in Skövde and the surrounding region, particularly if you do not already speak Swedish relatively fluently.

What is the cost of living in Sweden?

Although Sweden has a historical reputation as a relatively expensive country, it is no longer particularly so, when compared to many other west European countries. More information can be found here.

FAQs - Programme content

How are the programme courses graded?

The programme courses are graded in a variety of ways, ranging from written or oral examinations, through presentations, to essays. Although there is some variation from course to course, expect a particular emphasis on formal presentations and written essays. Our admitted students are expected to have a grasp of the basics when it comes to both presentations and essays, so if this has not been a component of your undergraduate studies, then expect to spend some extra time brushing up on the relevant skills prior to commencing the programme.

Is the programme a good choice for students with clinical interests?

Many areas of research within cognitive neuroscience have direct or potential application in clinical settings, but our programme does not contain this sort of focus. Our programme emphasises developing general experimental and research skills in cognitive neuroscience. You are of course welcome to apply even if you have a clinical focus from before, and it may be that you benefit greatly from the programme for subsequent clinical studies, but there is no explicit clinical focus or training during the programme itself.

What sort of lab experience will I get at your programme?

The programme includes hands-on coursework experience in our state-of-the-art electrophysiology lab (using techniques such as EEG, ERP, EDA, etc., but with a particular focus on ERP). It is also possible to utilise the lab for your thesis experiment, possibly including access to our VR-equipment, depending on your topic.

Do I need to finalise a thesis topic and supervisor prior to embarking on the programme?

No, in fact, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with a number of potential topics and supervisors during the autumn term, prior to deciding at the beginning of the subsequent spring term.

Admission requires at least a Bachelor's Degree (equivalent to a Swedish Bachelor’s Degree) in Cognitive Neuroscience or equivalent. A further requirement is proof of skills in English equivalent of studies at upper secondary level in Sweden, known as English course 6 / English B. This is normally demonstrated by means of an internationally recognized test, e g IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent.

Degree of Master
autumn -19Old Study Plans


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School of Bioscience