Cognitive Science and Neuroinformatics

Course options and guidance for the Cognitive Science and Neuroinformatics topic area

What will I learn from courses in this topic?

Courses in Cognitive Science and Neuroinformatics provide students with the opportunity to study the structure and behavior of the mind and brain, as well as software methodologies for brain research: the emerging field of Neuroinformatics. These courses may be of interest not just to students on the Cognitive Science degree, but also those in related areas such as AI or Data Science, who wish to understand more about the relationship between human and machine intelligence, or the brain as a source of data to be analyzed.

Courses cover material ranging from models of high-level cognition (such as language, reasoning, vision, and learning) to cellular and subcelluar computational processes. Students on the Cognitive Science degree are also encouraged to broaden their view by taking related courses in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS); see the optional external courses list below.

What background is typically needed?


The courses in this specialist area vary in terms of which programming languages are used, with Matlab and Python being most common. Most courses in related areas of AI also use Python. Therefore, if haven't programmed in Python before, we recommend you start to learn it before you arrive. Find an online (or local college) tutorial at your level. The Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing is relevant for students also doing courses in Natural Language Processing, and it starts from scratch, but learning to program well takes time: starting early will help, and will leave you more time to devote to other aspects of the programme.


Depending on the courses you choose, the level of required mathematical knowledge can vary widely. Nevertheless, the most common refrain we hear from students is "I wish I had spent more time preparing for the maths I would need."

At a minimum, you should go through the material on Sharon Goldwater's maths preparation page, which covers important basics including probability theory. This will prepare you for the Semester 1 course Computational Cognitive Science.

Sharon Goldwater's maths preparation page

Other courses may require additional knowledge (especially of linear algebra); if you click on the course link below you should see these requirements listed in the "other requirements" box of the course descriptor.

What courses are available?

Courses from PPLS

Semester 1

Semester 2

Related topics

Computation in Social Systems

Human-Computer Interaction and Design

Natural Language Processing

Machine Learning

Vision, Robotics, and Autonomous Agents