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Master's Programme in Cognitive Science

  • Number of credits 120 Credits

How do we perceive the world? How should we understand memory, language and consciousness? Are human thought processes unique, or can other organisms – maybe even machines – think in ways that is similar to how we do it? You will have the opportunity to probe these questions from the perspective of psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy and neuroscience. The program is research connected, but also gives you knowledge and skills that are useful in a variety of non-academic domains.

Admitted to the programme

Here you will find everything you need to know before the programme starts.

While studying

The programme is aimed at you who wish to deepen your knowledge in the field of cognitive science. The education includes a broad mix of courses that each touch upon some aspect of cognitive science and that together give an overview of the field. The first year can be seen as a sort of smorgasbord of courses that will give enhanced knowledge in subjects ranging from research design and theoretical perspectives, to consciousness and brain imaging, and that ends with a thesis. The second year gives you the opportunity to adapt the programme according to your own areas of interest.

A multidisciplinary programme

The programme is multidisciplinary, which is highlighted by the fact that the courses are given by a total of five different departments. The Department of Psychology coordinates the programme and is also responsible for a few of the courses. The remaining courses are given by the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious studies, the Department of Language Studies, the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Integrative Medical Biology.

The first semester starts with two parallel courses – one in scientific perspectives and research design, the other in higher cognitive functions. You will learn to understand and design scientifically sound research projects, while learning more about theories and empirical studies of mental processes. You will then take two additional courses in parallel. The first is a philosophy course that concerns the problem of consciousness from a philosophical perspective. The other is about the relationship between language, brain and cognition, for example, how development and representation of language is affected by cognitive factors.

The second semester begins with a course about theoretical perspectives on cognitive science where questions and problems of a more theoretical nature will be discussed and analysed. In parallel with this runs a course in brain imaging, with a particular focus on fMRI from a theoretical and practical perspective. During the second part of the semester you will write a 15 credits master’s thesis, which is a good opportunity for practice and preparation for the 30 credit thesis of the last semester.

The second year is more practical in nature. The fall semester starts off with a course in data collection and analysis, which builds on the methods course of year one and focuses on different ways to collect and analyse data. Then follows a couple of project courses where you will be given the opportunity to work within ongoing research projects related to cognitive science. The idea behind these project courses is to give students opportunities to get hands on experience of how research and development projects are conducted. During the final semester, you will write a 30 credits master’s thesis.

Tailor your education

There are many opportunities to adapt your education within the programme.

The Programme syllabus recommends that you write two thesis. One 15 credit thesis during the first year and during the second year a 30 credit master thesis. This along with individual projects during the 3rd semester, at a total of 22,5 credits, in different research groups will provide a good preparation for continued research and a uniquely profiled education for each student.

Second semester

The first opportunity to adapt your education is made before the second semester. The smaller thesis can be exchanged for 15 credits of elective courses. Students who want to do this will apply for courses from the available selection at the time of application, and will do so in competition with other students. Last day to apply is 15th of October.

Third semester

During the third semester you will take two individual project courses at a total of 22,5 credits. You are responsible for finding a research group or company that you are interested in doing a project in collaboration with. The projects are meant to work as a kind of work experience and will give you a personal profile to your education. Different research areas at Umeå University can be found here:

If you are more interested in taking theoretical courses you can, from the available selection of courses at the time of application, choose to apply to one or more courses based on your interest and background. Last day of application is 15th of April.

Fourth semester

If you have written a 15 credit thesis during the first year, you have the choice of taking elective courses according to the same principles as described above and write a second 15 credit thesis.


All teaching is conducted in English.

Studying abroad

You can spend one or two semesters at one of Umeå Umiversity's partner universities, and can apply to include these courses in your degree. Read more about our partner universities. 

Fees and Financial Aid

With a few exceptions, all citizens of countries outside of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are required to pay application and tuition fees for education at the undergraduate and advanced level. Umeå University will be offering a limited number of scholarships to students from outside the EU/EEA.

Read more about Application and Tuition Fees at Umeå University
Read more about Scholarships and Financial Aid

Master's Thesis written by former students

Further down this page you can find some of the Master's Thesis written by former students at the Master's Programme in Cognitive Science.

Programme overview

Career opportunities

A Master's degree in Cognitive Science is a good preparation for conducting research, both in academia and the industry. Many employers seek cognitive science graduates because of their understanding of how to make complex information, technology and systems more accessible.

Contact us

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Programme is given by
Department of psychology
Contact person for the programme is:
Jenny Feltenmark