Functional Neuroimaging MSc
About the course
- How does brain scanning equipment work?
- What can brain scanners tell us about brain function?
- How do differences in brain structure affect brain function?
Recent years have been characterised by a rapid development of functional imaging technology, with increasing availability worldwide of high resolution scanners for research and clinical applications. Functional brain imaging requires an understanding of current concepts in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, as well as a basic appreciation of neuroimaging techniques and the mathematical and statistical foundations for data analysis.
This programme, the first of its kind in the UK, provides a strong theoretical and practical introduction to the world of neuroimaging research.
The course is a good preparation for a PhD in functional brain imaging, or for working as part of a neuroimaging team with fMRI and/or other imaging modalities.
The rapid development of functional imaging technology and research has contributed to the call for improved education and training in functional imaging. Within this context, on this programme:
- You will be provided with a strong theoretical and practical introduction to the world of neuroimaging research.
- You will be equipped with a range of practical research skills to enable you to successfully complete research of this kind, either as part of a research team or as an individual.
- You will also be provided with the necessary training in safety and in the rules of scanner operation, to allow you to conduct a neuroimaging research project under the supervision of an Authorised User on Brunel’s 3T scanner, or else to conduct a project on one of its related ERP imaging or psychological laboratory facilities.
Whether you want to pursue neuroimaging research, or simply become an expert in this important field of science, the Functional Neuroimaging MSc provides the relevant skills and knowledge.
How has neuroimaging increased our understanding of brain function? This module covers learning and memory, language and the brain, cerebral lateralization and specialization, the control of action, executive control and frontal lobes, emotional mechanisms, evolutionary perspectives, development, plasticity and consciousness.
Principles of Neuroimaging*
How can we image the human brain? This module reviews Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and also introduces Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Electroencephalography (EEG), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (NIRS), and Magnetoencephalography (MEG). The module will focus especially on functional MRI (fMRI), considering safety, signal generation, contrast mechanisms and pulse sequences, haemodynamic activity, BOLD FMRI, and spatial and temporal properties of fMRI.
How do we design, conduct and analyse neuroimaging experiments? How can we use this knowledge to evaluate other neuroimaging studies? This module includes EEG equipment operation, using a Siemens TRIO 3T MRI scanner, experimental design, image processing, statistical analysis, statistical inference and data presentation.
Processing the information received by our eyes involves nearly half the cortex. In this module, we study the visual pathways and along the way consider a number of topics including: visual motion and the dorsal stream, biological motion, object recognition and the ventral stream, face recognition, disorders of vision, visual development, visual imagery, visual awareness, change blindness and neuroaesthetics.
*These modules are also available as CPPD (Continuing Personal and Professional Development) courses. To find out more information and to apply, please click here.
Under the supervision of one of the CCNI’s research team, students will conduct a functional imaging experiment. This could involve the in-house EEG or fMRI facilities. Recent examples include:
- Responses of the Cortical Reading Network
- The Role of Personal Familiarity in Visual Processing: An fMRI study of the FFA and LOC
- MT/V5 area & STS activation to video and point light display of perceptual skills in badminton: an fMRI study
- An fMRI Study of Different Responses of the Brain while Presenting Two Opposing Stimuli Simultaneously and their Dominance
- Attentional Modulation of the Human Primary Visual Cortex. An fMRI Study.
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
Staff involved in the course and their research interests include:
Dr Adrian Williams
Sensory perception; organisation of the human visual system; low-level aspects of vision; visual encoding; development and plasticity; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); artificial neural networks.
Dr Justin O’Brien
Brain imaging; visual psychophysics; form and motion coherence; retinotopic mapping; developmental disorders.
Dr Andrew Parton
Cognitive neuroscience of processess associated with vision (eg attention) and visuo-motor control (e.g. response conflict) in normal and clinical populations (e.g. stroke and Parkinson's disease).
Dr Noam Sagiv
Perception and its neural basis; synaesthesia; face perception; perceptual anomalies; neural correlates of consciousness.
Dr André Szameitat
How humans deal with multitasking – investigated using the psychological refractory period (PRP) and behavioural (response time measures) and neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques; functions of the lateral prefrontal cortex and executive control functions of working memory.
Prof Michael Wright
Visual perception: psychophysics of visual motion; visual memory; stereopsis, shape from shading; perception of shape. Neuropsychology: neglect; visual fields; constructional apraxia. Psychology of consciousness.
Prof Taeko Wydell
Cognitive Neoropsychology of language; psycholinguistics; reading processes involved in alphabetic and non-alphabetic languages' developmental and acquired (with neurological patients) dyslexia; brain imaging research on reading with MEG, MRI and fMRI.
Teaching and Assessment
Three of the taught modules are assessed entirely by coursework (essays and lab reports). The Principles of Neuroimaging module is assessed by a combination of essay and multiple-choice examination.
The dissertation is based on a student's own research project and includes a review of the relevant literature. It allows students to undertake in-depth study and investigation of their own functional neuroimaging design in an area relevant to them. If desired, the dissertation can be written in the format of a full-length paper as published in neuroimaging and related journals.
The module essays are coursework that are submitted towards the end of each module, and reflect a student's learning and investigation into one of the many topics covered by the module.
The MSc Functional Neuroimaging is an invaluable companion or prelude to a research degree (MPhil or PhD) or a research position in functional neuroimaging, one of the most rapidly growing fields of scientific research.
Academic or research positions:
- MPhil/PhD in neuroimaging or related subject
- Research Assistant on a neuroscience project, or related project in psychology or biology. Imaging has applications now from the physical sciences to projects in economics and the social sciences.
- Technical Assistant in functional neuroimaging.
- Any occupation that requires a higher level of analytical, technical and presentation skills than can be offered by a graduate in the life sciences.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Fees for 2016/7 entry
£8,350 full-time; £4,175 part-time
£17,200 full-time; £8,600 part-time
Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.
Entry Criteria 2016/7
A UK first, (2:1) or (2:2) Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a Life Science or related discipline.
2.2 Honours degrees or equivalent internationally recognised qualification will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants with other degrees in the specified subject area together with relevant experience in an area related to neuro-imaging will be considered on an individual basis
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.
Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.