Cognitive Neuroscience

Why study Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University?

This Master’s programme is located within the world-renowned Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, located on the campus of the Radboud University, with a research staff of over 500 scientists.

Nijmegen is one of the foremost centres of cognitive neuroscience in the world. Hundreds of scientists from various faculties and top institutes have joined forces on the Radboud University campus. Besides the Donders Institute there is the Radboud University Medical Centre and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Their researchers work together very closely, exchange expertise and share state-of-the-art research equipment to unravel the workings of the human brain.

This competitive programme provides a sound balance of theory and practice. Our selective approach guarantees excellence, especially during the research training period.

The Radboud University campus holds a large array of state-of-the-art equipment, like labs with fMRI, MEG, EEG and eye-tracking equipment. Master’s students are free to use these, enabling you to do any type of research in this field you’d want to.

The programme has its own, student-driven, scientific journal; based on the Stanford Exchange: Proceeding of the Master’s Programme Cognitive Neuroscience. 


Cognitive Neuroscience studies the cognitive and neural basis of mental processes such as perception, action, language, attention and memory. This relatively young discipline seeks to unravel the workings of the human brain. The research Master’s programme offers four specialisations that coincide with the research themes of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. 

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Student testimonials
Annika Mordelt
The best thing about my programme is for sure my peers. This may sound very cliche, but the people I met in my Master's programme are truly amazing. Everyone comes from a very different background ranging from Artificial Intelligence or Computing Sciences to Psychology and Biomedical Sciences. This means that every student has different expertise and views on certain topics, but at the same time we are all interested in the human brain. This connects everyone immediately.
Paid course type
Course details

The Master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience has a total load of 120 EC (two years). As a student in the Master’s programme you take part in the set of compulsory courses together with all other students of the programme. In these general compulsory courses you’ll become acquainted with the most important theories, models, techniques and analysis methods in Cognitive Neuroscience. Based on your specialisation, you also choose 30EC of courses to make up your specialized training. In addition, each student chooses two skill training courses. Finally, the theoretical training is completed by choosing two elective courses, either from your own specialisation, or from another specialisation to broaden your background knowledge.

Practical training: research project
The second year of the Master’s programme is primarily spent in the laboratory so that you gain ample hands-on experience. You’ll execute practical training in one of the participating research groups under the supervision of a researcher. In this way you’ll acquaint yourself with the discipline in actual practice. You’ll develop a theoretical research question and report on your research in a Master’s thesis. This thesis must be written in the form of a scientific article.

Entry requirements

The research Master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience is a selective Master’s programme. Every applicant will be screened individually. An interview (in person or via Skype) may be part of the selection process. An interview lasts for approximately 15-20 minutes and will cover topics such as your motivation to do the Master’s programme, your background (secondary education and Bachelor’s education), and of course you may expect questions about the Master’s programme itself (e.g., What courses would you like to take?).

Bachelor's degree
You are admissible if you have completed a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, Physics, Biology, Medicine, Mathematics, Behavioural Sciences (e.g., Psychology), Artificial Intelligence, or a related discipline. The graduation date of the last attained, for the programme relevant, BA/BSc degree must be within five years of applying to the programme. Please note that having a Bachelor’s degree does not guarantee admittance to this Master’s programme as this is a selective Master’s programme.

Motivation, CV and transferrable skills:
To apply for the Master’s programme in Cognitive Neuroscience you have to submit a letter (max. 2 pages, single spaced) in which you outline your motivation to do the programme, mention your preferred specialisation and state your desired starting date of the programme. In addition, an up-to-date CV is required to be sent in which you should at least outline your educational background, your English skills (see also below), your (relevant) working (and research) experience and other relevant skills and background knowledge that you may have. In this respect, it should be noted that background knowledge in mathematics (calculus), statistics and computer programming (e.g., Matlab or Python) is recommended for this programme and knowledge in these areas is therefore expected to be mentioned in your CV.

Proficiency in English: 
An adequate command of English is required for participation in the programme. This requirement is satisfied when the student is in the possession of a Dutch VWO diploma with English as a subject; or is in the possession of a diploma of secondary education, obtained at an English-language institution for secondary education in- or outside the Netherlands; or has successfully completed one of the following tests: TOEFL iBT: ≥ 100, subscores ≥ 22; IELTS Academic: ≥ 7.0 overall, subscores ≥ 6.5; a Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English stating a minimum overall score of C; or is in the possession of a Bachelor’s degree from a university wherein the language of instruction was English.

Reference letters & transcript
Two letters of reference are required. The referee should know you in the context of your academic background. For example, a referee can be the supervisor from your Bachelor’s thesis and/or a lecturer/supervisor from a course that you completed. The letters of reference can be sent along with your other documents, or your referee can send the letter directly to the programme secretary (email to: Finally, an up-to-date transcript of your Bachelor programme is required in which all completed courses are mentioned as well as their respective workload (ECs/credits) and results.

Specialisation-specific admission requirements
Besides the admission requirements outlined above, every specialisation has specialisation-specific admission requirements regarding expected academic background. 

Career outcomes

This Master's programme will give you the qualifications you need to attain a PhD position. About 80 percent of our graduates take on a PhD project in Nijmegen or in other parts of the world. Other graduates find jobs in the commercial sector or at research institutes.
Each year there are, on average, about 12 PhD positions available at the graduate schools Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience (DGCN) and the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).  

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Radboud University
Houtlaan 4
6525 XZ Nijmegen
The Netherlands
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+31 24 361 61 61
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