International Programmes 2023/2024

Cognitive Science (MSc) Cognitive Science (MSc)

Ruhr-Universität Bochum • Bochum

Master of Science in Cognitive Science
Teaching language
  • English

The entire curriculum is offered in English.

However, some optional classes with German as the teaching language can be attended as well.

Full-time / part-time
  • full-time
Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

Attendance on-site is mandatory for certain classes.

Before the actual courses start in the beginning of October, there are on-campus preparatory courses that you should attend.

Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

RUB registration portal opens approx. mid-May/beginning of June.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Cognitive science is a dynamic, interdisciplinary area of research. The driving questions within cognitive science focus on the theoretical understanding and empirical investigation of cognitive phenomena, e.g.:

  • What are the basic mechanisms of learning, forgetting, and remembering?
  • What are the principles of action guidance in humans, and how do we understand the actions of others?
  • What is the role of emotions in cognitive processing?
  • What are the neural processes underlying object recognition?
  • What does it mean to possess concepts and to be rational?
  • How did the cognitive capacities of humans and animals evolve?

The two-year Master's programme in Cognitive Science at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) offers a unique opportunity to enter into the fascinating field of cognitive science. It combines systematic and empirical approaches from philosophy, psychology, neural computation, psychiatry and the neurosciences. Students will be trained to use and combine different methodological approaches in order to gain new insights into key problems in the field of cognitive science and generate interdisciplinary solutions to solve them.

Key topics of research in the Master's programme in Cognitive Science at RUB are:

  • social cognition
  • learning and memory
  • perception and action
  • language, logic and categories

Key methods of research in the Master's programme in Cognitive Science at RUB include:

  • philosophical theory formation
  • behavioural and neuroimaging studies
  • statistical analysis/experimental psychology lab
  • basic and advanced logic
  • computational modelling

The programme is formally hosted by the Faculty of Psychology, but relies on strong interaction between several departments. Therefore, we can offer interdisciplinary classes as well as hands-on research experience in philosophy, psychology, neural computation, psychiatry and the neurosciences.

Course organisation

The two-year Master's programme in Cognitive Science at RUB is organised in eight different modules and a Master's thesis as module number nine.

First semester:
A1: Introductory Lecture (one lecture + one seminar)
BM: Basic Methods: (three courses out of the four methods)

  • Experimental Psychology Lab
  • Logic
  • Functional Neuroanatomy
  • Neural Networks

C: Topic Selection I (three courses out of the four topics)

  • Social Cognition
  • Learning and Memory
  • Perception and Action
  • Language, Logic and Categories

Second semester:
AM: Advanced Methods (two courses with two different methods)

  • Theory Formation and Conceptual Analysis
  • Advanced Analysis of Logic and Language
  • Behaviour Studies
  • Computational Modelling
  • Molecular Imaging
  • EEG training
  • fMRI training

C: Topic Selection II (five courses out of the four topics)

  • Social Cognition
  • Learning and Memory
  • Perception and Action
  • Language, Logic and Categories

Third semester: (five courses) - or optional exchange semester at a foreign university with individual study programme to be approved
I: Interdisciplinary Research Area (Students choose at least two focus modules from four areas which include philosophy, psychology, computational modelling and neuroscience.)
P3: Proposal for Master's thesis

Fourth semester: Master's thesis and examination

PDF Download
A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
Description of other international elements

We highly recommend a semester abroad. This includes the option to take classes or conduct the Master's project outside of Germany. The RUB International Office and the administration of the Master's in Cognitive Science programme provide advisory support with any organisational issues.

Moreover, we encourage students to actively participate in international conferences or attend international summer/spring schools. Our programme offers some financial support for students participating in eligible events.

Integrated internships

Internships are optional but strongly recommended.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

Students have to pay a social contribution fee of approx. 360 EUR per semester, including a semester ticket covering public transport in the entire state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Costs of living

Minimum of 950 EUR per month to cover personal and living expenses

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Students with outstanding academic performance who are involved in special social activities can receive 300 EUR per month for a year from the Ruhr-Universität Scholarship Fund “Deutschlandstipendium”: International students with good to very good academic performance who need financial support during the final phase of study can receive a graduation grant of 500 EUR per month for six months from the International Office at RUB:

Academic admission requirements

The minimal condition for application is a Bachelor’s degree from a university inside the EU with at least 180 ECTS or an equivalent degree from outside the EU. The following subjects are considered relevant for the programme:

  1. Cognitive Science
  2. Psychology
  3. Philosophy with a strong focus on analytic philosophy, especially philosophy of mind (at least 15 ECTS)
  4. Neuroscience
  5. Informatics/Information Technology
  6. Linguistics
  7. Mathematics
  8. Biology with a focus on Neurobiology or Bioinformatics or similar topics (at least 20 ECTS)

If the applicant’s Bachelor programme consisted of two subjects, at least one of those subjects has to be considered relevant (see list above) and must have been studied for at least 60 ECTS. The second subject has to provide at least 15 relevant ECTS.

Language requirements

The programme is taught entirely in English. All students are required to provide proof of English proficiency. We require a proficiency level of at least B2+. German is not a requirement.

The following tests are accepted as proof of English proficiency:

  1. UNIcert II (grade 2.0 or better)
  2. IELTS 6.5 (with at least a 6.0 in all four subcategories)
  3. TOEFL iBT 85 (with at least 18 in all four subcategories)
  4. FCE (grade A or B, respectively C or B2)

Test certificates have to be uploaded by the applicant via the application portal. Do not send any hard copies.

If you have completed a language test that is not listed here and can proof equivalency, please send an e-mail to to inquire whether this test can be accepted as well.

No test certificates are required if

  1. you are a citizen of the following countries:
    1. Australia
    2. Canada (excluding Quebec)
    3. Ireland
    4. New Zealand
    5. United Kingdom
    6. United States of America
  2. you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree in English and the programme lasted for at least three years and your graduation dates back no more than two years

German participants need proof of English proficiency just like non-German applicants. The German Abitur does not count. Furthermore, if your language of instruction in school was English, yet you do not fulfil any of the other conditions, you are still required to submit a language test.

Language certificates have to be verifiable at the final application day.

Application deadline

15 July for the following winter semester

RUB registration portal opens approx. mid-May/beginning of June.

Submit application to

Application procedure

Online application


In the city of Bochum, you can find a variety of affordable and pleasant accommodations. On average, students in Bochum pay approximately 350 to 400 EUR per month for a single apartment, which is below the average rent in Germany. A room in a shared apartment is available from around 270 EUR. 

About 5,000 students in Bochum live in 18 student halls close to the campus, which are run by the Akademisches Förderungswerk (AKAFÖ). In the halls, each student has his or her own single room and shares a kitchen and bathroom with other students, or alternatively, a student can rent an apartment with a private bathroom and kitchen or share an apartment with one or several flatmates.

More information on the student halls can be found at and

In addition, eight private and church-affiliated student halls accommodate up to 1,000 students:

Career advisory service

The RUB career service offers personal coaching and some events and workshops to support students regarding their future career. Moreover, the administration of the MSc programme Cognitive Science organises Alumni talks and offers personal consulting.

General services and support for international students and doctoral candidates

The International Office provides information and gives advice to all prospective and current international students.

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

University location

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