Cognitive Neuroscience PhD
MPhil option available
This course has an MPhil option
About the course
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.
The newly founded Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) focuses on fundamental and applied research into the relationships between brain function, behaviour and psychological processes - using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), eye-tracking, psychophysics, transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), infrared thermography and behavioural experiments.
Bringing together cognitive neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, cognitive psychologists and sports and exercise psychologists the group aims to carry out cutting edge research on cognitive/perceptual/motor processes and their neural substrates in these three main research strands:
- Vision – visual attention, visual perception, face perception, visual language.
- Action – motor control, executive control, performance (e.g. sport).
- Plasticity – lifespan changes, acquisition of expertise (e.g. in areas above such as vision, action and performance, sports), neurodegeneration/rehabilitation.
Find out more
Following the completion of the course students may follow several career paths, for instance:
- Career path within academia starting as a University Lecturer/Assistant Professor
- Career progression within research institutes commencing as a post-doc researcher and progressing to senior researcher
- Career path within government agencies (e.g., Sport England, UK Sport, English Institute of Sport, Department of Health, etc)
- Career path within Sport organisations and charities
- Career path in Health and Social Care
- Career path in Professional Education and Training
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry Criteria 2017/18
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study: IELTS 7.0 (with no less than 6.0 in any section). This applies even if English is the native language of your home country. An appropriate level of English language competence is also expected as listed below. Find out which alternative English language qualifications we accept. Applicants may also be required to attend compulsory in-sessional English language support. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.
Potential research students are encouraged to contact members of staff in their area of interest to receive guidance on how to develop a research project on their preferred topic. Staff provide tailored individual guidance to assist potential students in writing a high quality research proposal which will form the basis of their research.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.
Teaching and Assessment
Supervisors with insight
Our supervisors create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip research students with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse all potential supervisor profiles further here.
Each student will be allocated a supervisory team consisting of the principal supervisor, second supervisor and a Research Development Advisor. The supervisory team will set teaching and learning targets and advise the student how to achieve them. The progress of each student will be assessed by the supervisory team at regular meetings and by a formal Progress Review Panel at 9 months for full-time students (18 months for part-time students) and then annually. All academic supervisors receive university supported training in the supervision of PhD students.
Specialist equipment and facilities
Researchers in Psychology also have access to:
- 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner
- Electroencephalography (EEG) laboratory
- Mobile EEG system
- Eye-tracker (MRI compatible)
- Mobile eye tracking glasses enabling real world eye tracking
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
- Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
- 3D body scanner
- Thermal imaging camera
- Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)
Excellent research support and training
A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets. The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology. Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career. Students will also enrol in the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme which ensures all students are equipped with generic research skills including presentational skills and impact activities.
Extensive training and support is offered to all research students by the Graduate School, with regular Masterclasses and individual advice on academic issues as part of the Researcher Development Programme. Read more about the available Research Support and Training.
Brunel's library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 e-books, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject Information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.
- state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research publication and grant database
- one of the largest UK’s full text repository
- an integrated data management system
- analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
- Open Access centrally managed fund
Facts and Figures
In the 2014 REF, 59% of our overall research activity was rated as either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. Our research environment was rated as 100% “internationally excellent”. In terms of impact of our research on wider society, 73% of our submission (in areas such as screening for dyslexia and health promotion) was rated as 4*, i.e., outstanding in terms of its reach and significance. We were assessed as having an “exemplary strategic approach to impact”.
Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008. The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
Recent grants have included Pace Tune LLC, Rugby Footbal Union, Fundacao Bial, The Leverhulme Trust, West Ham United F.C. Ltd, British Academy and UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (UKOTRF), and ESRC.
Fees for 2017/18 entry
Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097
Full time: £17,500 Part time: £8,750
Full time: £4,121 Part time: £2,060
Full time: £17,200 Part time: £8,600
Additional course related costs
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.