The MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (MCNB) Master's Degree programme is an international programme offered by the Department of Education and Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin.
MCNB is a research-focused consecutive Master's programme that aims to provide students with the theoretical and methodological skills to qualify for a career in applied research in general and neurocognitive psychology, biological psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.
Candidates complete 9 compulsory modules (75 ECTS) + elective modules (15 ECTS) and a Master's thesis (30 ECTS).
The programme is divided into two phases, study and research, which correspond to the two years of the programme.
During the first year, in the study phase, the students are expected to take courses covering the programme's core themes. The study phase aims to provide an in-depth theoretical introduction to the three research themes and equip the students with appropriate methodological skills for the research phase.
In the research phase, the students will have the opportunity to pursue their own research projects under the supervision of the programme’s faculty members. In the second year of the programme, the class schedule will be reduced to a week of class or one or two sessions a semester.
Regulations for structure and sequence of studies are provided by the study regulations. They contain detailed descriptions of the contents and qualification goals of each individual module and provide an exemplary study plan. The examination regulations define the type and requirements of the module examinations and the Master's thesis. The regulations specify the credit points (LP) for each module or course as well as the workload in time hours for the entire study programme.
The Master's thesis is intended to demonstrate that students are able to independently work on and present a research problem using scientific methods. Upon successful completion of the study programme, the university degree Master of Science (MSc) is awarded.
(1) Cognitive Neuroscience: Perception, Attention, Action, and Cognitive Control (10 LP)
(2) Cognitive Neuroscience: Memory, Emotion, Language, and Consciousness (10 LP)
(3) Cognitive Neuroscience: Research Practice (10 LP)
(4) Neurocognitive Methods and Data Analysis (10 LP)
(5) Probabilistic and Statistical Modelling (10 LP)
(6) Introduction to Programming (5 LP)
(7) Neurocognitive Methods Practical (5 LP)
(8) Research Workshop (5 LP)
(9) Research Experiences (10 LP)
+ Elective module (15 LP)
+ Master's thesis and oral examination (30 LP)
International guest lecturers
The Research Experience module comprises an internship of 300 hours.
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
In total, the semester contribution amounts to 312.89 EUR. It includes a fee of 198.80 EUR for the transportation ticket contribution. This allows you to use public transportation in Berlin for free. Other costs covered by the semester contribution include a 50 EUR enrolment fee, a 54.09 EUR semester contribution to the student support service ("studierendenWERK Berlin"), and a 10 EUR contribution to the student union.
Costs of living
Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable. However, the cost of living has also risen somewhat in Germany in recent years. The prices for food, accommodation, clothing, cultural events, etc. are slightly above the EU average. You will need around 950 to 1,200 EUR each month to cover your living expenses. The biggest expense is monthly rent, which is between 400 and 700 EUR in Berlin.
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements
Admission to the MCNB programme is highly competitive and bound to a series of necessary preconditions. Applicants necessarily need to meet the following criteria:
Bachelor's degree in psychology, neurosciences, cognitive science, data science, mathematics, physics, biology, computer sciences, or first two parts of the Certificate of Physician Exam (Ärztliche Prüfung) or equivalent
Proof of English language proficiency
The admission process consists of three steps, from the initial application in April/May to a final admission decision by the end of July (tentatively).
Admission to the MCNB programme follows a downward point-based ranking ranging from 100–0 selection points (SP), with 100 being the top score.
Grades of the undergraduate programme will be transferred to a point score of up to 60 SP. (see the grade conversion table)
Promising applicants will be invited to personal interviews. The admission committee will evaluate the motivation and qualification of prospective students by means of these interviews and award them up to another 40 SP leading to a maximum amount of 100 SP.
Applicants who hold a German Bachelor’s degree or are currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme at a German university should directly apply to Freie Universität Berlin.
Applicants who do not fulfil the aforementioned criteria should submit their applications via uni-assist.
Possibility of finding part-time employment
There are many ways of earning money while you study, for example as waiting staff, academic assistants, or private tutors. Knowledge of German will improve your chances of finding a part-time job, but it isn’t necessarily required. However, it is important to be aware of the legal regulations.
The student support service at the university, called studierendenWERK Berlin, and the local representative of the "Bundesagentur für Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) can provide information about jobs for students. When searching for a job, look at online job boards, ads in local newspapers, and notice boards on campus.
You have the option to stay in a public/private student dormitory or in a private (shared) apartment. Student dormitories are not administrated by the university itself, so Freie Universität Berlin does not have any on-campus housing. However, it works together with "studierendenWERK Berlin" regarding student accommodation.
If you do not wish to stay in a student dormitory, you can try to find a room or an apartment on the private housing market. Many students in Berlin live in shared apartments ("WGs"). You can find these offers online (e.g. WG-gesucht or Craigslist) or on notice boards on campus.
Available rooms/apartments near the university are rare. Therefore, students mostly commute from other parts of the city. The commute via public transportation usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour, which is considered a normal travel time in Berlin due to the city's size.
Support for international students and doctoral candidates
Cultural and linguistic preparation
MCNB benefits from small classrooms with around 20 seats for each cohort. Depending on availability there is one lecturer for 5-10 students. Master's thesis supervision outside of faculty is also possible.
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