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Neuroimaging: Methods and Applications (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

An introduction to the MSc course in Neuroimaging at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)

Study at one of Europe’s top brain imaging facilities and gain the specialist skills and knowledge for a career in neuroimaging research.


Based at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)

CUBRIC is one of Europe’s top brain imaging facilities and you with some of the world’s most advanced neuroimaging equipment.


Research-active staff involved in course design and delivery

Most of our teaching staff are practising researchers and, in many cases, leading experts in their fields.


Innovative teaching

Our variety of teaching methods aim to give you both theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on skills.

Neuroimaging enables us to image the structure and function of the brain so we can understand how it works and what causes it to go wrong. On this programme, you will discover the scientific principles that underpin neuroimaging techniques and learn about the advances being made to further understand cognition and clinical disorders.

On this course you will be introduced to a wide range of neuroimaging and stimulation methods, including: structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), Electroencephalography (EEG), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (TES). The first semester aims to give you a solid grounding in how these techniques work and considerations when designing and analysing neuroimaging studies. In the second semester you will learn about the contribution that neuroimaging is making to our understanding of: memory, perception, emotion and a variety of clinical disorders.

A diverse range of teaching methods and hands-on activities are used on the course including: lectures, journal clubs, workshops, computing sessions and lab classes, which are led by internationally acclaimed 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 in the final semester.

You will be based at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), our dedicated brain imaging facility, where you will have access to some of the most advanced neuroimaging equipment, including: MRI (4 scanners), MEG, EEG (including EEG sleep labs) and Brain Stimulation. This is one of only a handful of research dedicated centres in the world that contains this variety of equipment all in one building. 

We welcome graduates from a wide range of scientific backgrounds, including: psychology, engineering, physics and the biological sciences who are interested in a career where brain imaging forms a major focus. The course also aims to put you in a competitive position for a PhD studentship or research position in neuroimaging.

Studying Neuroimaging at Cardiff opened a number of doors for scientific discovery and personal development for me. Being based in CUBRIC with world-leading researchers also provided me with the unique opportunity to experience and get involved with fascinating neuroscience research.
Izzy Ward, MSc Neuroimaging: Methods and Applications graduate. Now completing a PhD in Developmental Neuroimaging.

Where you'll study

School of Psychology

Study in a dynamic and stimulating learning environment, informed by our leading research in psychology and neuroscience.

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Admissions criteria

Academic requirements:

Typically, you will need to have a 2.1 in a relevant science-based degree or a recognised equivalent qualification.

Acceptable subjects include Biology, Engineering, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, and Psychology.

Other essential requirements:

You will also need to provide:

  • two references, one of which should be an academic reference. If you are a current Cardiff University student, you are not required to supply references.  
  • a personal statement of no more than 500 words which answers the five questions below.
  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?

English language requirements:

IELTS with an overall score of 7.0 and 6.0 in all subskills, or an acceptable equivalent.

Selection process:

If you meet the entry requirements, you will be made an offer.

Application deadline:

Offers are made on a first come, first served basis and so early application is recommended.

Find out more about English language requirements.

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

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

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 6 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 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

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.

Learning and assessment

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, Can we cue memory replay in REM sleep, Linking the functional organisation of sensorimotor cortex to behaviour, Quantifying brain physiology using MR, Visuo-motor decisions in the brain, The Neurobiology of transcranial electrical stimulation (tES).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in a variety of ways across the programme.  Six modules to the value of 20 credits each are studied in Semester 1 and 2. Two modules are assessed 100% by coursework, three modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and written examination (two are essay questions and one is short answer format), and one module is assessed 100% by written examination (short answers and multiple choice questions). In Semester 3 the Research Project (60 credits) is assessed via a journal article style dissertation (70%) and an oral presentation (30%).

The coursework assessments vary across the modules, these include essay-based assignments, a MEG analysis assignment, a programming assignment, a practical report, a research proposal and a registered report assignment.  All these assessments are summative (they contribute to the final module mark).  There is also a formative assessment in Semester 2 which will be used to develop skills in oral presentation of research.

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

How will I be supported?

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries and resource centres.

All modules use Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central on which students will find course materials, bibliographies and discussion boards.  Lectures are recorded via Panopto and are available to students throughout their studies.

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.   Your project supervisor will schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance.


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

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.

Tuition fees for 2022 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,200 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £23,450 £1,000

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

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

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

No specific equipment required.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

The main aim of this course is to prepare you for a neuroimaging research position in academia, industry, or business. Examples of which include:

  • a research 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.

Wider careers

However, there are a wide range of other careers available for graduates. This is because as well as providing you with specific neuroimaging research skills, the course will also help you develop key skills including critical thinking, data analysis, the ability to plan and organise, and communication skills. All of which are attractive to potential employers.

Some examples of other careers our graduates have gone on to do are:

  • research and statistics manager at the Intellectual Property Office
  • data analyst at Deloitte
  • research officer at the Office for National Statistics
  • project manager focusing on neuroimaging tools
  • research analyst at a pharmaceutical company
  • cognitive scientist and Test Analyst.

PhD study

This course also serves as excellent preparation for PhD study. Our graduates have completed PhDs across the UK and internationally and their research covers cognitive and clinical neuroscience, as well as neuroimaging methods developments.

Examples of their doctoral research includes:

  • characterising brain function and structure in Mild Hepatic Encephalopathy (Plymouth University)
  • probing the tumour microenvironment in-vivo with ultra-strong gradient MRI (Cardiff University)
  • understanding emotional processes in health and disease (University of Trento)
  • investigating the relationship between patterns of neurophysiological states and cortical atrophy in Alzheimer’s Disease (Oxford University)
  • the electrophysiology of motivated memory consolidation (Cardiff University)

Graduate careers

  • Neuroimaging Researcher - pharmaceutical industry
  • Neuroimaging Researcher - academic
  • Neuroimaging Researcher - healthcare
  • Neuroimaging Methods Developer
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Researcher
  • Neuro-marketer
The first time I ever saw an MRI scanner in action was during one of the lab sessions in as part of the MSc Neuroimaging course. It fascinated me to see the volunteer's brain right there, straight away in the demonstration, given by the chief radiographer. And it inspired me so much so that I'm now working in MRI research!
Alix Plumley MSc Neuoimaging graduate


Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to students with a home fee status intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Next steps


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HESA data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2020. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, published by HESA in June 2020.