Brain Sciences MSc

Over the last two decades there has been an explosion of interest in brain sciences across academia, industry and the media. The integration of cognitive brain imaging with neuroscience will play a central part in discovering how the brain functions in health and disease in the 21st century, as illustrated by the Human Brain Project in Europe and The Brain Initiative in the USA. The taught master in Brain Sciences will help you gain interdisciplinary knowledge “from molecules to mind” and enable you to develop research skills in cognitive brain imaging, fundamental neuroscience and brain disorders.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • You will study in an Institute that strives to understand the brain at multiple levels of function, from cells to cognition using approaches ranging from molecular, cellular and systems level investigations to brain imaging of human behaviour and cog
  • Lectures will be given by staff who are international research leaders and who publish cutting edge research at the forefront of brain sciences.
  • You will attend seminars on a wide range of topics given by eminent external speakers visiting the Institute from around the world as part of our Current Research Topics course. 
  • You will carry out a research project working in labs equipped with technology and expertise at the forefront of brain sciences research, including:
    • 3 Tesla fMRI system to image human brain function
    • Magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography to study neural activity
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation for non-invasive brain stimulation
    • 7 Tesla experimental MRI scanner for studying models of disease 
    • Confocal microscopy for high resolution cellular imaging
    • Models of disease for pharmcolgical, gene and stem cell therapies
  • You will receive in depth training in research design and statistical analysis
  • The programme allows student choice and flexibility. Through your choice of optional taught courses you can develop in-depth specialist knowledge to enhance further academic research as well as transferable skills for a career outside academia.
  • You will join a vibrant community of masters students from other programmes and for your research project you will be based in laboratories alongside PhD students, postdocs and senior researchers.
  • Through the range of teaching methods and assessments used you will gain skills in critical appraisal, independent working, presentations, writing scientific documents and time management.

Programme structure

The programme will consist of compulsory taught courses, selected optional courses and a research project spread over 11-12 months.

Core courses and Research Project

  • Fundamentals for neuroscience research
  • Cognitive brain imaging
  • Statistics and research design
  • Current research topics in brain sciences
  • Neuroscience: animal models of disease and function
  • Designing a research project
  • Brain sciences research project

Optional courses

  • Introduction to Matlab for biologists
  • Neuroscience: in vivo models
  • In vitro and analytical approaches in neuroscience
  • Bioimaging for life sciences
  • Current trends and challenges in biomedical research and health
  • Technology transfer and commercialisation of biomedical research

Teaching and Learning Methods

Taught courses are delivered by lectures, tutorials, problem-based learning and computer-based sessions supplemented by a wide range of electronic resources for independent or group study. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource and through project work will develop skills in team-working, experimental design and data interpretation.  Through assessment of coursework you will gain skills in oral and written communication.

Research Projects

Projects are available on a wide range of topics using a variety of methodological approaches. Here is a selection of masters level projects offered in the Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology in the last 3 years:

  • Decoding real-time referential activation in language comprehension with EEG.
  • Differential effects of brief constant light on serotonergic resetting in aged mice.
  • Alterations in neuronal morphology following interference with the kynurenine pathway.
  • Predicting the emergence of decisions from EEG recordings.
  • Testing the concept of genome editing as a therapeutic intervention in Rett Syndrome.
  • Investigating inputs onto long descending propriospinal neurons in the spinal cord.
  • The role of parietal alpha phase-locking in spatial and temporal anticipation: a TMS Study.
    • The localisation and modulation of MAP2K7/JNK pathway kinases in neurons.
    • The own-age bias in age judgements.
    • Hyperglycemia and cerebral blood flow in experimental stroke.
    • Reactivation of visual short-term memory by transcranial magnetic stimulation.
    • An investigation of receptor expression of respiratory rhythm generating neurons.
    • Do distinctiveness and attractiveness really have independent effects on face recognition?
    • Does minocycline alter the morphology of NG-108 neuronal cells?
    • Relating cortical thickness to autism quotient scores.
    • Biological motion perception in major depressive disorder: a re-analysis of fMRI data.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

You should have at least a second class Honours Degree or equivalent in Neuroscience, Psychology, Physiology or a relevant subject. Alternative qualifications will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. You are required to provide two references and a full degree transcript with your application.

Further information regarding academic entry requirements:

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Full time fee£18900

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme: please see: Deposits for entry in 2015/16

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

The University of Glasgow MSc in Brain Sciences provides you with many career opportunities. 

Research:  MSc students can enter a research career, mainly by undertaking further postgraduate research studies towards a PhD, or by working in research laboratories in academic settings.

Industry: Other options include going on to work in a wide range of commercial sectors including the pharmaceutical or biotechnological industries and scientific publishing.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now