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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
October 21, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Cognitive Neuroscience Masters (M.Sc.) program

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Students in the Cognitive Neuroscience M.Sc. program at Laurier begin conducting research with a faculty advisor in the fall of their first year. Over the course of 16 to 24 months, with the close mentorship of their thesis advisor, students learn how to develop their own program of research, how to use new research methodologies and statistical techniques, how to present their work in talks and posters, and how to hone their academic writing skills. Students form close bonds with faculty and peers through small, intensive courses, research lab groups, and regular area meetings including seminars and journal clubs. Students with a Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience often enter Doctoral programs, or pursue employment in environments requiring research skills.



"My experience at Laurier has been a positive one in all regards. The hands on training that I was able to recieve in EEG techniques, as well as exposure to techniques like fMRI, EMG as well as TMS have further complemented the broad theoretical base that Laurier has provided. In addition, the dedication of Laurier's faculty members to ensuring top quality research allows students to excel, both academically and otherwise."

-Jenna Harwood, M.Sc candidate

Admissions Information

For admission to the M.Sc. program in Cognitive Neuroscience, a student must have completed a B.Sc. or B.A. Honours degree in psychology with a minimum B average in the last 2 years of study. We encourage all applicants to personally contact faculty members with whom they would be interested in working in advance of their application, but this is not a requirement. We usually make offers of admission beginning in late March. We maintain a rank-ordered reversion wait-list in case one or more applicants from the final list declines our offer of admission.

Applicants to the Cognitive Neuroscience M.Sc. program are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Academic performance, as indicated by GPA, especially in the applicant’s last 10 one-term courses. The GRE is recommended but not required.
  • Academic Letters of Reference, which should be from academic instructors and advisors. Letters are weighed most heavily when they are written by: an honours thesis advisor, a faculty member in whose lab the student worked, or a course instructor who has evaluated the student’s written work and can speak to the student’s analytical skills and capacity for independent thought.
  • The Personal Statement, and whether the expressed interests fit with those of one or more faculty members in the Cognitive Neuroscience area. Applicants should check the faculty profiles page to determine which faculty will be accepting new students in the current year. Fit between potential supervisor and applicant is among the most important criteria for admission. It is recommended that applicants read one or two recent representative publications by potential faculty advisors before writing the statement.

For general information about applying to graduate programs in psychology at Laurier, or to apply now, click here. Students who wish to apply to the Masters program in Cognitive Neuroscience should indicate “M.Sc. program in Cognitive Neuroscience” when they complete their on-line application.

M.Sc. Curriculum

Five half-credit courses and a thesis constitute the degree requirements. Considerable emphasis is placed on developing and completing the thesis. The required courses include:

  • PS600 Advanced Behavioural Statistics I
  • PS601 Advanced Behavioural Statistics II
  • PS660 Principles of Cognition
  • One elective from PS663, PS670 and PS675
  • PS669 Research Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience

In addition, all students must complete a thesis (PS699) relevant to the option they have selected. All required courses, with the exception of the thesis, should be completed by the end of the first year.


Students admitted to the M.Sc. program receive information about their financial package in the offer letter mailed to them. Financial awards vary depending on a variety of factors, including undergraduate GPA. Students typically receive a package from the university that totals approximately $12,000 per year. This financial package is made up of teaching assistantships and Laurier graduate scholarships. In addition to the money offered by the university, faculty advisors within Cognitive Neuroscience typically offer additional financial support of $5,000 per year, paid directly from their faculty research grants. During their studies, Masters students may also apply for travel awards from the department and from Graduate Studies.

Students who hold a major external scholarship, such as those awarded by OGS and NSERC, receive the award from the agency ($17,500 for NSERC and $15,000 for OGS), as well as money from the university for teaching assistantships. Students with external awards are also eligible for a $7,500 Deans Scholarship. Thus, with an external award, yearly funding may be as high as $28,000 - $30,000.