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Middle European interdisciplinary master programme in Cognitive Science
What is cognition?
What is free will?
What is the role of our bodies and the environment in cognition?
How can I understand another person?
Can we simulate our thinking on computers and/or in robots?
Is there more to thinking and feelings than our neurons?
This is only a small selection of questions that are in the focus of cognitive science. Cognitive science is an emerging interdisciplinary effort to study cognitive phenomena on various levels. A broad field of disciplines including philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, psychology, behavioural biology, anthropology, and others are collaborating to tackle these puzzling questions.
1) Study Overview
The Middle European interdisciplinary master programme in Cognitive Science (MEi:CogSci) is a joint master's programme offered by the following institutions since 2006: University of Vienna (& Medical University of Vienna), Comenius University in Bratislava, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, University of Ljubljana, and University of Zagreb.
MEi:CogSci aims at educating students in the field of Cognitive Science by providing an environment for truly interdisciplinary study and research as well as a large number of areas for specialisation offered by the different partner institutions.
Being enrolled in the joint master’s programme, students acquire 30 ECTS at a partner university and are awarded a joint academic degree by the participating institutions.
The joint master's programme MEi:CogSci enables students to acquire fundamental concepts in cognitive science, as well as training in state-of-the-art methodological and research skills. With the goal to study and understand phenomena of cognition, cognitive science attempts to bridge approaches of natural sciences and humanities, covering the whole range from perception, complex thinking processes, to motor behaviour, social cognition, and culture. Students develop expertise in a chosen area of interest, focusing on a cognitive phenomenon. An important feature of this programme is its interdisciplinary character manifested in the curricular architecture as well as in the didactical principles (e.g. working in interdisciplinary and intercultural teams, project orientation, research-orientation, etc.). It supports students in investigating and dealing with conceptual coherences and inconsistencies across disciplines, methods and terminologies by using innovative teaching/learning settings.
Due to the fact that each year only a small number of 25 highly qualified and motivated students are admitted to the programme, the teacher-student ratio is exceptional and creates an optimal study environment.
2) Admission/Entrance Examination
- The number of students attaining this master’s programme is limited to 25 per year.
- The course of study begins each year in the winter semester (beginning: October 1st).
- The application period for the academic year 2017/18 will be from March 1st until April 30th 2017.
- For detailed information about the application process please see here:
3) After Graduation
The programme provides graduates with the necessary theoretical/intellectual and empirical tools to pursue an academic career (PhD programme) in cognitive science or in one of the disciplines related to it. Apart from basic research, graduates in cognitive science increasingly find work in applied research. Depending on the direction of specialisation, prospective career fields include the IT-sector (interaction design, usability, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, knowledge management, cognitive technologies, AI applications, social media, etc.), education, and biomedical and clinical research, as well as economy. The generic skills (such as teamwork, ability to communicate, reflection and evaluation skills, ability to quickly learn and adapt) acquired by graduates are of use in a variety of careers in the private sector. Graduates of cognitive science are especially suited to work in highly interdisciplinary area, bringing experience in mediating between disciplines. These include the fields of natural sciences, humanities, IT and education (see above), as well as the areas of consulting, human resources, and science writing.
"At the moment, I am working as a trainee in the biotechnological/pharmaceutical field, as this is my first disciplinary background. For this work, I can use the interdisciplinary and cross-functional cooperative work approach learned in Cognitive Science. Self-organised and result oriented working methods of the study programme also accompany my current work.
After graduating in molecular biology in 2010, I wanted to go on seeking for the last unexplored and unsolved questions of science (especially those concerning the human brain). For this endeavour, Cognitive Science was the best option. At that time, the degree was offered in Osnabrück and Vienna. The emphasis in Osnabrück seemed to me more IT-based, while in Vienna it was more interdisciplinary orientated. Therefore, I chose Vienna.
In my opinion the interdisciplinary approach of the study, the excellent student-to-teacher ratio as well as the modular structure and the possibility of setting individual priorities are the three main points that characterise the master’s degree programme Cognitive Science."
- Michael Kecht, MSc
"Since January 1st I’m working at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI) as junior researcher. In my scientific work, I need all acquired knowledge of my study and many more – not acquired – aspects.
I chose to study Cognitive Science due to its topic and the interdisciplinary approach. To me, the degree offered a lot of appealing aspects: interdisciplinary thinking and working is the backbone of this degree programme. The small, very international and interdisciplinary student group as well as the teachers were strongly research oriented. A huge part of the degree had to be completed practically (by doing research internships) and an obligatory semester abroad had to be undertaken.
Cognitive Sciences offered the opportunity to choose one’s specialisations freely. Therefore, it was possible for students – who knew which field of research they wanted to focus on – to start working in this field even before finishing the degree. This implies, that one can even change from one field of study into an entirely different field of research with help of this programme (as in my case from philosophy to informatics)."
- Mag. phil. Wolfgang Hörleinsberger, BSc MSc
StudiesServiceCenter Philosophy and Education (SPL 18)
University of Vienna
Universitaetsstrasse 7 A-1010 Wien, Austria
Tel: +43 1 4277-461 80 or 81