Postgraduate study
Understanding the human brain is one of the grand challenges of science and is important for basic science, health, and technology.
MSc Neural Computational Neuroscience, Cognition and AI
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; for quantitatively minded students with a background in psychology, neuroscience, or biosciences as well as those with training in physics, engineering, mathematics, or computer science; no specific biology or computer knowledge required
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any 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



Computational neusroscience

Key facts

  • An interdisciplinary course that uniquely combines aspects of psychology, mathematics and computer science
  • Computational Neuroscience aims to better understand brain function, develop better analysis tools for neural data and inspire artificial intelligence algorithms

Recent developments

A number of developments make this course particularly relevant:

  • Recent successes in machine learning are based on analogies with animal brains, i.e. artificial neural networks; these successes have put the analysis of brain computation at the forefront once more
  • In particular study of the biological brain is being considered as a way to resolve some outstanding issues in AI, such as learning with a limited number of samples, generalisation, and the development of explainable AI
  • The study of the brain is currently undergoing a revolution as computational models are becoming powerful and accurate enough to complement experimental approaches
  • Revolutions in experimental recording methods necessitate the use of advanced analysis methods to deal with the enormous volume of data that these methods can produce

Full course details

How you'll be taught

Gain a hands-on experience in computational neuroscience research through a blend of traditional courses, individual and group projects.

Emphasis will be on the direct application of the theoretical foundations. You will learn the relevant neuroscience and computer knowledge as the course progresses.

What you'll learn

  • How the brain is believed to work on the cellular, network and systems level
  • How to develop mathematical models of brain function and how to implement them in simulations
  • How cognitive phenomena are related to brain activity
  • Current AI algorithms and how they are based on neuroscience findings
  • An inventory of experimental approaches to measure and analyse brain function

Some topics that will receive particular attention are how:

  • memories are stored and organized in the brain
  • networks of neurons perform computations
  • visual illusions find their origins in neural circuits


You will be assessed using exams, coursework, and project reports.


Study in a state-of-the-art computing lab.



Modules are mainly delivered via lectures and/or problem classes. They take place at University Park throughout the Autumn and Spring semesters. During the Summer semester students undertake an individual research project.

Most module content directly combines insights in brain function with relevant computational approaches. Many modules are supplemented with coursework and tutorials.

Core modules

The course consists of the following modules:

  • Neural Computation
  • Machine Learning
  • Cognitive Science
  • Brain Simulation
  • Biological Maths
  • Research Topics in Computational Neuroscience

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

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

UK/EU Students

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

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies which you would need to factor into your budget.

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

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This course will provide an ideal preparation for a PhD in computational neuroscience, psychology or artificial intelligence.

Other careers include:

  • biomedical modelling
  • artificial intelligence
  • data science
  • brain imaging

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

The 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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