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      Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind and Brain - Master's Programme

      Programme, Master's (2nd cycle), 60 credits, MEDHA
      Degree of Master

      Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind and Brain - Master's Programme

      Programme, Master's (2nd cycle), 60 credits, MEDHA
      Degree of Master


      Choose a programme instance to display its syllabus, courses and entry requirements

      Autumn 2024, Location: Campus (Skövde), Pace: 100%


      Application code HS-41251 at

      Programme Syllabus

      When? Where? How?

      Study period: 2 September 2024 - 8 June 2025
      Location: Skövde, Campus
      Pace of study: 100%

      Courses (syllabus)

      Find the complete course list in the programme syllabus.

      Admission Requirements

      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. This is normally demonstrated by means of an internationally recognized test, e.g. IELTS or TOEFL or the equivalent.


      Credits awarded.


      The courses are conducted in English.
      Do you want to learn more about the relationship of consciousness and the brain? Do you want to critically evaluate how brain functions are understood? This English-language master’s programme gives you the opportunity to develop your knowledge within these issues at a high level.

      About the programme

      The University of Skövde offers a one-year master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind and Brain, taught entirely in English. This is a demanding master’s programme for students with a background in cognitive neuroscience / neuroscience or consciousness studies, or in closely related subjects. It may also be suitable as a conversion programme for students with an interest in these subject areas and a background in a subject such as psychology, cognitive science, or philosophy. The programme provides a sound basis for research and teaching at a higher level within cognitive neuroscience. It requires ongoing, focused studies over the course of a year (two consecutive semesters).

      Opportunities for further studies

      The programme began in 2011, and has already achieved strong academic results. After graduating, the majority of students have continued their studies at second- or third-cycle level at various universities, both in Sweden and abroad, including Max Planck Society, University College London, the Karolinska Institute, KU Leuven, the École Normale Supérieure, and the University of Bern.

      Application period

      International students apply during the international application period. Students from Sweden can apply additionally during the national applications period.
      Check for more detailed information.


      Most senior members of teaching staff at the department also carry out active research, in some cases as part of major research projects and with international collaborators. We encourage our students to take part in our research activities and be involved in presentations and publications of their research findings. Find out more about this research, publications and previous theses at the research pages Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy.

      Constituent courses in the study programme

      During the first semester, you will study four courses within different subjects:

      This takes the form of lectures, seminars, workshops and group discussions. The focus lays on a critical evaluation of the current approaches in consciousness research and in cognitive neuroscience research more generally, for example we embrace meta-analytical approaches.
      Several of the courses are given by internationally leading researchers at the department, and joined by internationally renowned guest lecturers for specific activities.

      During the second semester, you will carry out an empirical or theoretical study within cognitive neuroscience, either in our own lab facilities or with one of our affiliated research groups. This forms the basis for a final degree project. During the semester, you will receive personal supervision from an experienced member of teaching staff in your studies and your work.

      Potential supervisors for a degree project within our department

      A number of students used this opportunity to write their thesis also at other institutions in Sweden such as the University of Gothenburg, Linköping University, or Karolinska Institute. We are in contact with other research groups as well, which may offer an opportunity for a degree project.

      Potential partners outside our department


      If you have more questions about how to apply and how the program works, see our FAQ which addresses some of the most common questions we get.

      If there are questions which are not addressed there, you can get in touch with us:

      For further questions about your study, you can get in touch with our Study counsellor Ingrid Christensson.

      If you have further program specific questions, please contact the program coordinator Pilleriin Sikka.


      You  need to apply via 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, and via their website only.

      International students must apply via the international admissions round. The deadline for this is typically in Mid-January. National (Swedish) students can apply in both the international and the national admissions round (the latter is typically later, Mid-April).

      For all questions relating to the overall general admissions procedure, such as deadlines and similar, please see the information and contact details available at You can also see an How to apply overview from the University.

      University Admissions will check that your degree qualifies for further studies in Sweden and calculates a merit rating based on your previous degree and course work. Lastly, your application will be scrutinized by us to check if your background is suitable for studies in Cognitive Neuroscience. We typically admit students from many different academic backgrounds (and not only with a background in Cognitive Neuroscience).

      Please note that we (Program director, Admissions) cannot provide you any information of your chances to be admitted or your prospective merit rating (that is done by University Admissions).

      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, to evaluate the suitability of your background to undertake studies in Cognitive Neuroscience.

      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. Without having seen your whole application documents (i.e., the application passed by University Admissions), any information on your chances of being admitted are only preliminary and without any guarantee.

      You have to provide a 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.

      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.

      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. Please see the university scholarships page.

      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 programme-specific 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 cannot 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.

      No, the programme is only given as a one-year, fulltime, campus-based programme. Thus, attendance in lectures, seminars, and practical workshops is expected.

      No, the programme only admits new students for an autumn term intake. Therefore it is very important to check deadlines and the application procedure in advance. If your application was not submitted to Universityadmissions in time, there is little we can do to include your application in our programme-specific assessment.

      Studying the programme

      Every year we typically admit about 10-12 students, thus we work in small groups in an intense way. Some of those students come from our own undergraduate program in cognitive neuroscience, the other students typically from outside Skövde and even outside Sweden. Our group of students therefore consists of people with different backgrounds, academically as well as personally.

      In our courses we emphasize a critical attitude towards our research area. For example, we look at how methodological aspects of an experiment impacts its conclusions and how this impacts the understanding of a given brain function. We believe that this critical mind-set is vital and beneficial when it comes to the study of the brain – mind relationship.

      Throughout the autumn term you will interact in particular with 3-4 of our lecturers and work intensively with them. Further, in recent years we had also international guest lecturers, e.g., from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), University of Turin (Italy), Karolinska Institute (Sweden), California State University (USA), and Tokai University (Japan) who joined us for journal club discussions (either in person or online).

      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. For further information you can look into the guidelines for academic writing / skills of the American Psychological Association which we typically use in our work.

      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.

      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). Further, you train hands-on how to conduct body illusion experiments, either manually or through virtual reality. We can further utilise a virtual reality platform that includes eye-tracking. We also can measure heart rate to assess physiological parameters (e.g., HRV) during behavioural experiments.

      You will have access to the laboratory throughout your studies and can use the whole range of equipment also for your thesis project.

      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.

      If you intend to write the thesis with someone from our department, you can propose an experiment by yourself or join a running project. Of course this project needs to be within the scope of one of our potential supervisors. The thesis can be theoretical (e.g., a theoretical or philosophical evaluation of a research question) or experimental (e.g., run an EEG experiment, a behavioural study in Virtual reality).

      If you aim for an experimental study, you can fully utilize our laboratory and its equipment. Find our latest publications to get an idea what kind of research our department is doing. In the DiVA Portal you can also find some examples of theses of previous years.

      Notably, a number of our thesis projects eventually resulted in publications, and we encourage our students to join our research projects and produce new and original research.

      If your interest is outside the scope of our department’s expertise, you may want to consider joining a different laboratory or group. If you intend to write your thesis outside the department (or even outside of Sweden), of course it is recommended to initiate the contact to this lab as soon as possible. As stated earlier, we may be able to help you to get in touch with other principal investigators. However, the responsibility to initiate and discuss such an arrangement is with you.

      The program is also part of the Network of European neuroscience – schools (NENS), which offers stipends to go for lab visits of other NENS affiliated schools. Please check (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) for further information.

      Further, there are also opportunities to apply for stipends to go abroad for a shorter duration. However, such a plan would have to be initiated as early as possible. If you want to understand what kind of options there are, please get in touch with our international office.

      The University provides support for students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD (and other forms of disabilities). In this case you have to get in touch with our student support. In this process you may have to provide further documents. Once our student support has checked your case and recommends specific educational support, certain arrangements to your study plan can be made.

      It is your responsibility to initiate this process in due time. Once you have been granted this support, it is your responsibility to approach lecturers as early as possible to discuss how we can adjust for example deadlines or other aspects of the courses to fit your situation. This has to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

      Please be aware that this is a one-year program and all courses takes place only once a year specifically for this programme, thus it asks for a focused study and a relatively high work pace. If the time frame cannot accommodate the specific adjustments required for you, it may eventually result in the need to extend your study to the next year. These aspects have to be considered when planning your study with us. Also, consult our student counsellor who can provide help when planning your individual study plan.

      Living in Skövde

      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.

      If you are coming from outside Sweden, please consider that travel arrangements have to be made in advance, and that you need to be in Skövde the latest two weeks after start of the term. If you do not show up for the registration until then, you may lose your place.

      If you come from outside the EU, please note that the program coordinator cannot provide answers on questions like VISAs or residence permits, or similar issues. Also, the university can do only little when it comes to these legal procedures, and you have to check with the respective authorities to resolve these issues. You can contact our international office who may be able to provide some guidance.

      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.

      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).

      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.

      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 at


      Programme co-ordinator

      Study and Career Counsellor

      Interested in more information about the programme?
      Sign up for information newsletters about the programme:

      The University of Skövde will only use the information you submit via the form for this specific purpose. For more information on how we process your personal data, please see

      Published: 4/24/2020
      Edited: 10/12/2023