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  PhD opportunities in Cognitive Neuroscience


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 Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Programme

Join cognitive neuroscientists, clinical neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, neurophysiologists, psychopharmacologists, sports and exercise psychologists, and carry out cutting-edge interdisciplinary research to understand and restore human brain function and health.

Deep dive into fundamental and applied research into brain function using techniques such as:

  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),
  • electroencephalography (EEG),
  • electromyography (EMG),
  • eye-tracking,
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS),
  • transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS),
  • infrared thermography

together with psychophysics and cognitive behavioural paradigms in health and disease.

We can help match you with an expert supervisor in the following areas and more:

Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Vision – attention, perception, and visual cognition
  • Action – decision making, executive control, and performance (e.g., sport, safe driving and cycling)
  • Language – components and underlying mechanisms
  • Learning and memory
  • Written expression – underlying mechanisms of handwriting
  • Social cognition – multimodal emotion perception
  • Reward processing

Clinical and Forensic Neuroscience

  • Developmental and acquired language disorders
  • Agnosias and synaesthesia
  • Schizophrenia, autism, and mood disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy
  • Genetics of psychopathy and psychosis
  • Genetics of eating behaviour
  • Brain injury


  • Alzheimer's disease and related disorders
  • Parkinson's disease and related disorders

Rehabilitation and Neuroplasticity

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Interventions for DCD, cerebral palsy, and stroke
  • Promotion of healthy ageing
  • Enhancing sports performance (e.g., using music)
  • Auditory attention training
  • Mindfulness

Cognitive Psychopharmacology and Addiction

  • Oxytocin
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Alcohol
  • Psychostimulants (e.g., caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, and cannabis)

Methods and Analysis

  • Experimental Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Eye Tracking
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Functional fMRI
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Brunel

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.
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