Cognitive Science

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Cognitive Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BSC C831


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

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

BTEC: DDD, only in conjunction with A-level Mathematics.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include Higher Level Mathematics grade 5. We will accept 5 in either Higher Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Higher Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) 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.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, only in conjunction with A-level Mathematics.

T-levels: Distinction, only in conjunction with A-level Mathematics.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

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 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 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.

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

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 23 October 2023 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.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
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.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

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

Year 2 - 2024/25

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

Year 3 - 2025/26

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

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.


If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

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