Staff member? Login here

Cognitive Science

Course overview

(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Cognitive Science
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BSC C831

A-levels: BBB, including Mathematics
Please note we are unable to accept A-level Use of Mathematics in place of A-level Mathematics

IB: 30 points, including Higher Level Mathematics grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 PS114-4-FY Research Methods in Psychology Core 30
02 MA108-4-SP Statistics I Core 15
03 CE151-4-AU Introduction to Programming Core 15
04 CE152-4-SP Object-Oriented Programming Core 15
05 Option from list Compulsory with Options 15
06 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
07 PS116-4-FY Preparing for University Psychology Compulsory 0
08 PS117-4-FY Introduction to Personal Development and Employability Compulsory 0

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 PS415-5-SP Memory Attention and Language Core 15
02 PS411-5-SP Brain and Behaviour Core 15
03 MA200-5-AU Statistics II Core 15
04 CE213-5-AU Artificial Intelligence Core 15
05 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
06 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
07 PS417-5-FY Enhancing employability and career planning Compulsory 0

Year 3 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 PS300-6-FY Psychology Project Core 30
02 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
03 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
04 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 30
05 PS492-6-FY Advanced employability skills and career progression Compulsory 0

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

This interdisciplinary course will combine psychology, mathematics and computer science skills to enable graduates to gain the skills required for careers in the IT industry, data science and data journalism or trades and professions that rely heavily on computing systems, including media, communications, finance, energy and medicine. The course plays to the strength of the psychology department with world-leading academics in cognitive psychology and a number with background training in cognitive science, computer science and mathematics.

Its teaching aims are to enable students to acquire a broad understanding of cognitive science, while also providing opportunities to develop expertise within particular areas of specialisation; to provide students with a foundation for further study, research and professional development; to produce students who are statistically literate, have programming skills and can perform data analysis; to provide teaching which is informed and enhanced by the research activities of the staff.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Basic psychological theory, research methods and statistics.
A2 Experience in mathematical computer packages and programming
A3 Statistical theory and experimental design appropriate for cognitive science
A4 Use of probability and statistics for research methods, data analysis, hypothesis testing and statistical modelling
Learning Methods: Lectures are the principal method of delivery for the concepts and principles involved in A1-A4.

Students are also directed to reading from textbooks, academic papers and material available online.

Understanding is reinforced by means of classes (A1-A4), laboratories (A2, A3, A4) and assignments (A1-A4).

Assessment Methods: Achievement of knowledge outcomes is assessed primarily through unseen closed-book examinations, and also, in some modules, through marked coursework, laboratory reports, statistical assignments, project reports, and oral examinations (A1-A4).

Methods employed to assess knowledge and understanding of statistics include: class presentations, written coursework, project work and class tests.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Critically evaluate the relative strengths of a range of theories and techniques used in cognitive science.
B2 Understand psychological, mathematical and programming problems and select the most appropriate tools for their solution.
B3 Assemble and integrate evidence from a variety of sources, including primary sources.
B4 Analyse and interpret quantitative information and determine whether appropriate statistical tests have been used.
Learning Methods: The basis for intellectual skills is provided in lectures and laboratory classes. The skills are developed by means of recommended reading, guided and independent study, assignments and project work.

B1 is developed in both lecture-based and laboratory-based courses.

B2 is developed in most laboratory assignments, and is developed through exercises supported by classes.

B3 is developed through lectures, guided reading and tutor led discussions groups, as well as the final-year research project.

B4 is developed in statistics and laboratory courses, as well as the final-year research project.

Assessment Methods: Intellectual and cognitive skills are assessed primarily through unseen closed book examinations, and also through marked laboratory reports, essays, assignments and project work.

Methods employed to assess knowledge and understanding of statistics include: class presentations, written coursework, project work and class tests.

C: Practical skills

C1 Use computational tools and packages.
C2 Organising and presenting data.
C3 Ability to apply relevant practical and laboratory skills.
C4 Plan, undertake and report an empirical project.
Learning Methods: Learning methods
Practical skills (C1-C4) are developed particularly in laboratory classes, exercise classes, assignments and project work.

C1 is acquired through the learning of at least one programming language and the use of a number of computer packages.

C2 is taught in laboratory-based project work, exercise classes and further developed in the final year research project.

C3 and C4 are developed and enhanced throughout the course especially in laboratory classes and during the supervision of the final year project.

Assessment Methods: Practical Skills C1-C4 are assessed throughout course by means of marked laboratory reports, written coursework, oral presentations, class tests, end-of-year examinations, and the final year empirical project.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicate ideas effectively by producing written reports/essays and using programming skills.
D2 Use appropriate IT facilities to prepare and present laboratory reports and essays and to use statistical software to analyse quantitative data.
D3 Collect, analyse and present numerical data and use statistical techniques correctly.
D4 Problem solve and reason scientifically in cognitive science.
D5 Improve own learning and performance by working autonomously, showing organisation and time management.
Learning Methods: Students are introduced to statistical and computing software in their first year, and thereafter the development of key skills forms an integral part of their learning activity.

D1 is developed throughout the course in laboratory classes, lecture-based courses, tutorials and the final year individual project.

D2 is developed through the use of word processing and computer packages in a number of modules.

D3 is developed in laboratory courses, statistics modules and in the final year project.

D4 is developed in lectures, exercises and laboratory classes.

D5 is developed and enhanced throughout the course of the degree by means of rigid deadlines, feedback on assignments and discussions with class tutors.

Assessment Methods: Key Skills are assessed throughout the modules comprising the degree by means of examinations and coursework.
D1 is assessed through coursework, oral examination and the final year project.

D2 is assessed primarily through coursework.

D3 is assessed through laboratory reports, statistical exercises and in the final year project.

D4 is assessed throughout the degree and is intrinsic to the assessment in cognitive science.

D5 is assessed mainly through successful submission of coursework including the final year project.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: