Cognitive Science

Information on the Cognitive Science specialist area.

The Cognitive Science specialist area gives students an opportunity to study the structure and behaviour of both natural and artificial cognitive systems. Relevant cognitive processes include language, reasoning, vision, and learning, which can be studied from neural, psychological, probabilistic, and symbolic viewpoints. Students are encouraged to also take courses from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS); see the optional external courses list below.

Edinburgh is one of the birthplaces of Cognitive Science, with great strengths in all its constituent disciplines. Students wishing to continue as academics find a Cognitive Science MSc an invaluable opportunity to “jump tracks” into a new area or topic. For instance, students with mathematical or computing backgrounds may learn to work on one of the fascinating problems found in brain/cognitive research. A range of academic departments employ people with a “Cognitive” background or specialism, from the purely computational through to Psychology and to more applied fields such as Design.

Students registered in this Specialist Area are recommended to select at least fifty credit points from these courses. While most students should take the core course, you can omit this course if you already have most of the material in your background.

Video introduction to the specialism (.mp4)



The Optional External Courses in this Specialist Area are offered by the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS), as part of their degrees in Language Sciences, Philosophy, and Psychology. These courses often differ from Informatics courses in their study patterns and number of contact hours; some of these courses only run for half of the Semester (a single "teaching block").

Register promptly for external courses. They can have limited numbers, earlier deadlines than Informatics, and course materials on Learn are only available after registering.


Semester 1 Semester 2
Core Course

Computational Cognitive Science (level 10)


Optional Courses

Accelerated Natural Language Processing (20 credits)

Automated Reasoning (level 9)

Computational Cognitive Neuroscience

Human-Computer Interaction

Introductory Applied Machine Learning (20 credits, level 10)

Introduction to Vision and Robotics (level 9)

Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition (20 credits)

Neural Computation

Adaptive Learning Environments 1

Advanced Vision

The Human Factor: Working with Users

Natural Language Understanding

Neural Information Processing

Topics in Natural Language Processing

Machine Learning Practical (20 credits, full year)

Optional External Courses

Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing

First Language Acquisition (20 credits)

Introduction to Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition (20 credits)

Language Behaviours, Brains and Cognition: Principles and Approaches

Language Production

Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R

Multivariate Statistics and Methodology using R

Sentence Comprehension

Simulating Language (20 credits)


Related links

Informatics sortable course list

Informatics course timetable