Option: Cognitive Neuroscience 

The program of the Option “Cognitive Neuroscience” focuses on the mechanisms and functions of the human brain underlying human behaviour. We offer in-depth exploration into current state of the art knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience, including social and affective aspects as well as changes of human brain functions across the lifespan. Importantly, students acquire the experimental and methodological skills needed to conduct high-quality research projects in this exciting area. Students actively participate in research projects and acquire several transferable skills, such as project management, logical and critical thinking, independent learning, oral presentation, and written communication. Finally, students acquire a broad knowledge base in major aspects of psychology. Evaluation of the students is done through writing exams, essays and/or hands-on exercises, depending on the course.

  • Structure
    Modules ECTS
    Basis module (E) 15
    Module I 15
    Module II 15
    Practical Experience 15
    Master Project and Thesis, incl. Colloquium 30
    Module IIIa or Specialisation Module A/B 15
    Specialisation Module A/Bb 15


    a: Option Module III is obligatory for students of the Master Option “Clinical & Health Psychology”. Option Module III is optional for students of the Master Option “Cognitive Neuroscience”. 
    b: Specialisation Modules A and B can belong either to the same or to different Master Options. They are taken outside of the main Master Option of each student.

  • Detailed descriptions of general modules (75 ECTS)

    Basis module (15 ECTS)

    This module includes state of the art lectures on important basic areas in psychological sciences. Lectures are mostly held by members of the department and involve topics that either represent basic psychological functions, influences, and processes, or general areas of applied psychology and related disciplines. The goal of this module is to provide students with a basic and current knowledge and understanding of core areas of psychology and of the focal themes of the department research units. All courses are taught in English, and a total of 15 ETCS must be validated.

    Module I: Current Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience (15 ECTS)

    The module “Current Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience” encompasses specialized lectures and research seminars on current topics in the area of human cognitive neuroscience. Students attend classes equivalent to 15 ECTS. 3 ECTS of this module or of the basics module need to be validated in a course labelled as “CogNeuro”. Importantly, the CogNeuro course needs to be validated before starting the master thesis. The goal of this module is to acquire deeper knowledge on the current directions and theoretical background of cognitive neuroscience. Almost all lectures and seminars are held in English.

    Module II: Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (15 ECTS)

    In this module, students acquire necessary skills to successfully and independently conduct experimental research in the area of human cognitive processes and their neural mechanisms. Courses in this module cover a wide range of experimental research methods, including behavioural methods as well as neuroimaging and brain stimulation techniques. Students attend classes equivalent to 15 ECTS, whereof 3 ECTS have to be validated in a course labelled as “Statistics”. Importantly, this statistics course needs to be validated before starting the master thesis. 
    The goal of this module is that students acquire the underlying theoretical bases of different research methods and learn to adequately and efficiently construct experiments. As such, students have the opportunity to actively try various techniques in different “hands-on” procedures. Of course, students also learn to master cutting-edge analytical skills to analyse behavioural as well as neuroimaging data. At the University of Fribourg, we also want students to get acquainted with different programming languages and software packages to enhance their possibilities of designing creative experiments. All courses will be held in English.

    Module III: SCAN (15 ECTS)

    (or 1 specialisation module A/B - 15 ECTS)

    The module “Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” includes lectures and special research seminars with a strong focus on topics and methods in social, cognitive and affective neuroscience. These specialized research seminars will allow students to train scientific argumentation and discussion as well as to hone their oral presentation and writing skills. Up to 12 ECTS related to Cognitive Neuroscience can be acquired from another department / faculty of the University of Fribourg or another Swiss university after agreement of the supervisor. The goal of this module is to acquire more profound knowledge in specialized areas related to Cognitive Neuroscience. Courses are in English, German, or French. However, most lectures are held in English. This Module III can be replaced by a specialisation module from all the other master options in the Department of Psychology.

    Specialisation Module A/B (15 ECTS)

    Detailed description of specialisation modules

  • Practical experience (15 ECTS)

    The practical experience is equivalent to 8 weeks full time in a psychology-related clinical, industrial or research environment. The practical experience can also be completed part-time. Alternatively, the practical experience can be attained by lab rotations. The goal of the practical experience is to refine the basic competences of students, to deepen their specialized knowledge, and to broaden their professional networks. The practical experience must be attained under the supervision of a psychologist und must be related to the Master Option chosen by the student. The activities and learning experiences during the practical experience or lab rotation must be described in a written report and will be evaluated.

  • Master thesis (30 ECTS)

    The Master thesis encompasses a research project that is conducted by students and related to their chosen Master Option. Though guided by expert supervisors during the whole process, students are responsible for preparing the project, recruiting human participants, conducting studies as well as preparing and analysing statistical data. Students must actively attend a master colloquium. Finally, students produce a written thesis, normally in the form of an extended research paper. This thesis can be written in English, German or French.