Postgraduate study

Understand cognitive neuroscience by developing your brain imaging techniques and data analysis skills.

MSc Brain Imaging
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent)
Other requirements
2:2 (or international equivalent) may be considered provided the applicant has at least one year of relevant work experience or another supporting factor; we welcome applications from students with a background in psychology, neuroscience, medicine or a bioscience disciplines as well as those with training in physics, engineering, mathematics or computing sciences
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in each element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£8,235 - Terms apply
International fees
£21,375 - Terms apply
University Park Campus




I’m a psychology graduate and I decided to join this course because I am interested in looking at how the brain changes depending on different problems. The most enjoyable part of the course is collecting brain images and analysing them.
Christina, MSc Brain Imaging

Our research-engaged teaching ensures you are taught by the brightest minds who are working towards understanding the complexities of the human brain. Be inspired and join our world. 

You will gain knowledge in imaging methods, experimental design, analytical research and data analysis. Optional modules let you explore areas in the field that you find most interesting. 

Meet your Course Director

Dr Denis Schluppeck
Course Director, Brain Imaging

I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and got a DPhil in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford. After five years of working as a post-doc in brain imaging labs in the US, I joined the School of Psychology in 2006.

The aim of my research is to understand how we use our senses of vision and touch to gather information about the world and how we use that information to make decisions. I use a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3T and 7T, psychophysics, and computational modelling. I am member of the  Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre where I do my scanning.

I also teach many MSc Brain Imaging modules, an undergraduate neuroimaging lab, and a programming course.

Read more about Denis

Psychology postgraduate event

Find out more about our courses and talk to staff and students at our open afternoon on Wednesday 12 June 2–4pm.



Full course details

Individual research project

This course is closely linked to several research groups in the School of Psychology:

Our broad research means we can offer a variety of research projects. Past project titles have included:

  • Investigating brain networks in the healthy brain and in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How do interests affect distraction?
  • Decision making processes for others
  • Brain morphology in non-human primate
  • Functional brain imaging of face perception: an ultra-high-field MRI study of cortical maps representing facial features

Before you start your own research, you will undertake a placement with your project supervisor. This preparation usually includes:

  • training in software and tools that you may use
  • experience in experimental design
  • collecting pilot data 

Module spotlight

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a key tool for neuroscientists and at Nottingham we have a rich heritage of using this versatile technique. Sir Peter Mansfield was a physics professor at the University of Nottingham when he won the Nobel Prize for his work in MRI. Today, we have the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) on campus which houses various imaging facilities.

Seeing a scan be done from start to finish then working with the data is a really beneficial part of the course.
Charlotte, MSc Brain Imaging

In the Data Analysis for Neuroimaging module, you will get to see a brain imaging session in person at the SPMIC. You will analyse one of the data sets collected on the SPMIC scanner in the following lab classes. To get most out of this, the module introduces some of the standard tools used across many labs (including FSL, the FMRIB Software Library from Oxford). These hands-on data sessions are also an excellent opportunity to consolidate your MATLAB programming skills that you will have developed in the first term. 

I really enjoyed the visit to the scanner. I have had the chance to see things that I have learned during the first semester in practice. It has made what I’ve read clearer to understand.
Ahlam, MSc Brain Imaging

Photos from the scanning session

Click to see 

Carla, the student volunteer, prepares to be scanned. 

BrainImaging1Denis starts the scanning.


Various stimuli is shown to Carla to provide different scans.  

BrainImaging4Denis explains the scans to the group. 


In the next class the group will analyse the data gathered.


Photos from the analysis class

Click to see
BrainData7Denis presents a step-by-step guide on how to start the analysis.

BrainData5 Students use programming to see different results.

BrainData3 They compare the results from the different stimuli.

BrainData1 Students work in small groups.


Teaching and assessment

You will study a total of 180 credits. Teaching methods will be a mix of:

  • lectures
  • lab classes
  • seminars
  • workshops

Assessment can vary depending on the module being studied but most are assessed by continuous assessment.

This could include:

  • lab reports
  • coursework
  • presentations
  • research posters





Functional Imaging Methods

In this module, you will learn about modern functional imaging methods. It covers the foundations of recently developed non-invasive methods that are widely used in human cognitive neuroscience studies. The module covers:

  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • structural MRI (voxel-based morphometry)
  • magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
Experimental Design for Functional Imaging

Understanding how good and meaningful scientific studies are designed is crucial for applying high-tech imaging methods. This module introduces important principles of experimental design and how they link to data analysis. Specific lectures will cover: 

  • how to design neuroimaging experiments to address basic and cognitive neuroscience questions
  • consideration for conducting experiments
  • steps involved in analysing neuroimaging data, with particular emphasis on functional magnetic resonance imaging
Introduction to MATLAB Programming

Making sense of neuroimaging data requires sophisticated data analysis skills. A key aspect of these skills is learning how to use computers to customise and automate the use of existing software tools.

In this module, you will engage in problem-based learning to acquire some foundational skills in scripting/computer programming with MATLAB.

MATLAB is one of the most widely used scientific computing environments across academia and industry – here you will learn the fundamental aspects of computer programming and work on hands-on projects to, eg design and analyse a behavioural experiment, visualise functional MRI data, and perform statistical tests on data acquired at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre.

Analytical Research Methods

This module is a selection of brief, but in-depth workshops covering advanced statistics for the neurosciences. You will cover:

  • multiple regression
  • correlation analysis
  • exploratory factor analysis
  • bootstrapping
Data Analysis for Neuroimaging

Experience a brain imaging session at our on-campus MRI centre. You will then analyse one of the data sets in further lab classes. 

See the module spotlight under 'course details' for further information on this module including photos of what happens in the scanning session.

Research Placement

Working with a supervisor, you will undertake a placement to prepare for your own research project. A typical placement can involve:

  • working out the details of an experimental design for a study, preparation of stimuli, and a pilot study (for example in two subjects)
  • participation in an ongoing research project in the supervisor’s lab (for example during data acquisition and/or evaluation)
Research Project

A selection of projects provided by our research academics will be available for you to choose from. You may develop an experimental design or prepare stimuli and run a small study. Alternatively, you may evaluate existing data and interpret the results. 


Optional modules

You can tailor your course by choosing 30 credits of optional modules. These broadly fall into two streams: 

Cognitive Neuroscience

Focuses on the neuroscientific approach to cognition.  It is also rooted within neurobiology.

Available options include: 

  • Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognition in the Real World
  • The Visual Brain: Evolution, Development, Learning and Adaptation

Focuses on the brain-behavioural relation and addresses various functions in normal and disordered states, and across the lifespan.

Some of the optional modules include: 

  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Neuropsychology of Action: The Body in the Brain

Please be aware that the availability of choice depends on timetabling. Other modules from courses outside of the school may be available. 

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

UK/EU students

The Graduate School website provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Graduates in front of the Nottingham sign on University Park campus

Graduates of this course are well suited to studying for a PhD or working in research. 

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 94.7% of postgraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers – ranked in the top 10 in The Graduate Market 2013-2019, High Fliers Research.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our  Careers and Employability Service

Our  Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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