Neuroimaging: Methods and Applications (MSc)

Our MSc in Neuroimaging aims to provide you with a critical understanding of the human brain using advanced neuroimaging tools and techniques.

Our MSc Neuroimaging course aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of a variety of neuroimaging techniques and their application to cognition and behaviour in health and disease.  We welcome graduate students from a wide range of scientific backgrounds, including, but not limited to, psychology, engineering, physical and biological sciences.

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods and hands-on activities which will include lectures, journal clubs, workshops, computing sessions and lab classes – we pride ourselves on our level of contact time with you.  Classes are led by international experts in both the methods and applications of neuroimaging.  Depending on your background and interests, you may then choose to specialise in either methodology or applications-based research for your project.

You will be based in Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) which has recently been expanded with a £44M investment.  This is one of only a handful of research-dedicated centres in the world that contain multiple neuroimaging techniques in one building.  You will have access to a wide range of equipment, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), Electroencephalography (EEG, including EEG sleep labs) and Brain Stimulation (TMS/TDCS).

The course aims to put you in a competitive position for a PhD studentship or research position in neuroimaging.

Distinctive features

  • Based in Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), a world leading centre of its kind.
  • Taught by international experts.
  • Course timetables which will reflect the variety of teaching methods, hands-on activities and high level of contact time you will experience.
  • Each year the School of Psychology offers several funded PhD positions to exceptional students including projects within CUBRIC.Graduates from this programme will be in a good position to apply for one of these competitively awarded places.
  • Opportunity for further learning opportunities by invites to seminars/events in related areas of interest organised from within CUBRIC, the School of Psychology and the wider University.
  • Learn about the principles of open science and how to write a registered report.
  • Cardiff University was ranked 2nd in the UK for Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience (REF 2014).

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2018. Applicants are recommended to apply by 24 August. Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are available (an early application is advisable). Overseas applicants are recommended to make an earlier application due to the time needed to process visas.
Duration1 year

Admissions criteria

Applicants must hold a degree of a 2.1 standard or equivalent in a relevant science-based degree. This includes (but is not restricted to) Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Biology, Neuroscience or Psychology based subjects. Overseas students with equivalent degree classifications, where English is not their first language, must provide proof of proficiency in the English language (usually IELTS score of 7 or above).

Applications should be made via the Cardiff University Online Application Service.

For your personal statement please answer the following questions in no more than 500 words:

  1. Why would you like to study the MSc Neuroimaging: Methods & Applications?

  2. Why would you like to do this at Cardiff University, in CUBRIC?

  3. Which aspect of our Neuroimaging course interests you most and why?

  4. Please discuss a research finding that used neuroimaging which  you found interesting.

  5. How will completion of this Neuroimaging course help you to achieve your career goals?

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to an interview.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

This one-year full-time course starts in September and is a mixture of two taught semesters and a research project in the final semester.

Each Module must be completed with a mark of 50% or greater. All 10 taught modules must be passed before the research project dissertation can be submitted at the end of Semester 3.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

You will attend lectures, participate in seminars and tutorials, and gain experience in the MRI, MEG, EEG and TMS labs. Learners play the leading role in their own training.  The School facilitates learning by identifying appropriate reading and organising practicals.  Depending on their background and interests, students may then choose to specialise in either methodology or applications-based research, or a mixture of both, for their projects in Semester 3.


The emphasis is on research articles, chosen to bring you to the cutting edge of the subject matter. These are supplemented by review articles and textbooks in order to sustain a coherent context.


Nationally and internationally renowned researchers give seminars in CUBRIC’s weekly seminar series.  This exposes you to cutting edge research and enables you to discuss this with the people carrying it out from across the world.  The seminars are supplemented with a short primer, often delivered by the invited speaker, before the main seminar.  You will be encouraged to attend other seminars around the University that are relevant to the course and your general learning.

School Seminars

As well as the CUBRIC seminars that form part of the course modules, the School holds regular research seminars throughout the year.  These seminars are presented by visiting speakers and members of staff and allow you to keep up to date with the latest research ideas.  Students are strongly encouraged to attend these seminars.

Lab-based practicals

You will have the opportunity for a significant amount of practical experience (both data acquisition and analysis) in various laboratories in Semesters 1 and 2, including MRI, MEG, TMS and EEG.  The practical skills gained will cement understanding of the theory presented in lectures and offer a basis for their research work during Semester 3.  These sessions are compulsory but are not formally assessed.


Lectures highlight not only what is known, but also what is not known. You will be encouraged to think of what needs to be done to advance knowledge. To this end the lectures are of two hours’ length to allow more complex arguments to be examined, and to encourage more time for discussion and questioning between students and lecturers.

Research Project

You will undertake a major research project which will commence in Semester 2.  Prior to this, you will be given a project booklet which will outline the range of projects and staff available to supervise the project; you will be asked to select 3 potential supervisors and we will try to match students with supervisors accordingly. Some students may do a project that involves the collection of data using the neuroimaging facilities at CUBRIC whereas others may do advanced data analysis on an existing dataset.  Examples of projects that have been offered previously include: MEG-measured oscillatory biomarkers in health and disease, Brain complexity and consciousness, Can we cue memory replay in REM sleep, An EEG study of reality monitoring in schizotypy, Linking the functional organisation of sensorimotor cortex to behaviour.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor. This tutor will be available to provide pastoral care and general advice and will also be responsible for monitoring academic progress. The tutor can also help in assigning potential supervisors for the Semester 3 research project.  The project supervisor will schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance

Students may already have a Personal Development Plan (PDP) in place from their previous University.  The benefits from PDP flow from an individual setting their own goals and considering the means to achieve them. The responsibility for participating in the PDP process rests with students but there will be support in this activity through meetings with Personal Tutors. Further information about the PDP, along with some resources to support students will be available via the Virtual Learning Environment programme - Learning Central. Course materials (e.g. handouts, presentations) will also be placed on Learning Central where appropriate.


Feedback will be provided via tutorials, practicals and coursework comment/mark sheets. There will also be regular meetings with personal tutors.

How will I be assessed?

You will study modules to the value of 60 credits in Semester 1

  • Two of these modules are assessed by written examination (one 2 hour exam, short answer format and one 3 hour exam, short answer and multiple choice questions).
  • One module assessed by a 4,000word essay.
  • One module assessed by MEG analysis assignment, a practical report and a proposal for design of a neuroimaging experiment.

You will study modules to the value of 60 credits in Semester 2 

  • Five of these modules are assessed by written examination, one will be short answer format and 4 will be essay questions.
  • One module will be assessed by a 4,000 word essay.

In Semester 3, the Neuroimaging Research Project (60 credits) is assessed via:

  • A journal article style dissertation (70%)
  • Oral presentation (30%)

A large proportion of the assessment in the MSc Neuroimaging programme is carried out via unseen written examination. This reflects the School's belief that examination is the best vehicle for testing a student’s unaided knowledge, understanding, powers of communication, critical analysis and skills.

Most assessments are summative (they contribute to the final module mark).  Formative assessments in two modules (PST504 and PST509) will also be used to develop skills in oral presentations, scientific discussion and meeting organisation in a manner realistic in the research environment. 

Module co-ordinators have chosen these as the best way of evaluating the acquisition of the basic knowledge, skills and experience in each module.

Each Module must be completed with a mark of 50% or greater.

What skills will I practise and develop?

By fully engaging with this course, you should acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those that are discipline specific and more generic 'employability skills'. Through the programme students will have the opportunity to develop technical laboratory skills, and will be presented with a number of opportunities to extend their communication and presentation skills, both oral and written. The course also offers the opportunity to acquire a number of specific skills, such as the ability to design an experiment, collect, analyse and interpret a range of complex neuroimaging data. A number of valuable research skills can also be developed through completion of the dissertation.

This course can prepare students for a range of career options, including:

  • A research and academic career in cognitive/clinical neuroscience or methods development
  • Industry applications such as research in pharma companies or neuro-marketing
  • Supporting the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques in healthcare environments.

Graduates in this programme will also be in a strong position to apply for PhD positions.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

No specific equipment required.