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M.Sc. Cognitive Science

Offered at the world-renowned Center for Mind/Brain Sciences – CIMeC, this Cognitive Science programme from University of Trento is characterized by training and research activities in the fields of experimental psychology, brain-imaging, animal cognition and computational linguistics.

The two-year CIMeC Master’s in Cognitive Science provides students with advanced theoretical and methodological knowledge in behavioural, cognitive and computational neuroscience and computational linguistics through an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind-brain system. The program emphasises the interplay between biology-based and technology-based explorations of the human mind and a close relationship between teaching and research. Together with training discipline-specific knowledge and skills, the program develops key transferable skills such as critical thinking, scientific speaking and writing. During the first year students are mostly involved in both theoretical and methodological courses, while during the second year they enroll in an extensive internship and research project where they acquire an invaluable direct exposure to the scientific research practice having access to the laboratories at CIMeC, working with CIMeC PIs and their groups, and gaining hands-on experience with cutting-edge research technologies.

Students choose between three tracks:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience (CN)
  • Computational and theoretical modelling of Language and Cognition (CLC)
  • Fundamental Behavioural Neuroscience (FBN)

The tracks share some common basic courses including introduction to cognitive neuroscience, basic programming, research designs and statistical analysis, and a selection of specialized courses that allow students to tailor their training to their academic interests.

Quick facts

Degree awarded Master of Science – “Laurea Magistrale” – in Cognitive Science
Workload The total workload for each student is 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System)
Duration 2 years full-time
Intake September each year
Fees and funding
(approximate rate)
EU: 340€-3400€ (fee range based on personal income and merit);
Non-EU: 1000€-4500€ (fee range based on merit only, i.e. score in the application evaluation)
Location TrentoItaly

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Cognitive Neuroscience (CN) track:

Cognitive neuroscience is the study of the mind and brain, and it is concerned with the neural and cognitive bases of how and why people perceive, think and act the way they do. The CN track trains students to combine a variety of behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to understand the neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying human cognitive functions, from perception to motor control, from language and memory to conceptual processing. It offers a range of theoretical and practical courses in basic and advanced cognitive neuroscience and neurobiology, in healthy individuals and in neuropsychological patients, and courses in advanced signal processing and data analysis with a special focus on brain imaging (EEG, MEG, functional and anatomical MRI) and brain stimulation techniques (TMS, tDCS). This track prepares students to pursue a research-oriented career in the field of human cognitive neuroscience, whether in academia or industry.

Computational and theoretical modelling of Language and Cognition (CLC) track:

Communication via language and other modalities is a fundamental component of human activity. It is therefore not surprising that the technologies originated from the scientific study of these activities are having a major impact on modern society. This track emphasizes the use of computational approaches to model and understand human cognitive functions, with a special emphasis on language. The program offers basic courses in theoretical and computational linguistics, computer science and cognitive neuroscience, allowing students to develop expertise in aspects of language and human cognition that AI systems could or should model. The program also offers courses on research design and evaluation methods, which help students acquire the necessary skills to evaluate and improve the design of models and contribute to data collection and evaluation. Examples of professional outcomes include working as AI enablers, helping develop unbiased intelligent systems that meet human needs, or support health practitioners working on cognitive impairments.

Fundamental Behavioural Neuroscience (FBN) track:

The FBN track trains students to combine behavioural, electrophysiological and molecular biology in animals of different species to unveil the neural underpinnings of basic sensory and cognitive functions with a comparative perspective. It offers a range of theoretical courses in basic and advanced neurobiology and neuroscience, in healthy animals and in animal models of clinical conditions, and a set of hands-on courses in fundamental behavioural neuroscience data recordings and analyses. Behavioural techniques include conditioning, imprinting and preference choice, and neuroscientific techniques include single cell recordings, two-photon calcium imaging, immunohistochemical and fluorescent microscopy, gene expression analysis, genome editing, neuronal cell culture and viral-mediated gene transfer. This track prepares students to pursue a research-oriented career in the field of fundamental cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, whether in academia or industry.

Career opportunities

This Master’s program in Cognitive Science offers a unique opportunity for students aiming to train as research scientists both in academia and in industry. All three tracks prepare strong Ph.D. candidates who are well trained and that can be competitive and confident in performing high-quality research in international settings. Outside academia, the computational, theoretical and scientific skills learnt in this program define a unique and competitive profile that well fits the needs of the current strongly AI-based job market.

All courses are given in English by scientists who developed research programs in top-level international institutions and continue to do so through their wide network of collaborations.

Students have access to many different research laboratories at CIMeC during the Master’s program. This provides invaluable hands-on experience with the latest research tools in human and animal neuroscience (high-field fMRI, M/EEG combined with brain stimulation, single-cell recordings, two-photons calcium imaging, genome editing) and state-of-the-art technologies in computational linguistics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.


The Master in Cognitive Science program is international: our students arrive from all continents and, after graduation, find positions in their home countries and others.

Although the program is relatively young, its strength is already evident in the satisfaction reported by the students and in their placement after graduation. The combination of theoretical learning with hands-on research experience gives our students the adequate profile to successfully compete for entry into PhD programs at top universities. Career opportunities for our students also include paths outsides academia, where they may become AI enablers, helping develop unbiased intelligent systems that meet human needs, or support health practitioners working on cognitive impairments.


Application deadlines
(check on line for updates)

  • March for all candidates
  • May, extended deadline only in case places are not filled in the first deadline (EU and non-EU residents in Italy)


  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent – at least three years)
  • Background in the disciplines characterizing the cognitive sciences area
  • English at B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

How to apply

Please get in touch to receive instructions about the application process.

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