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Major: Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Cognitive and Brain Sciences


Department of Cognitive Science
Faculty of Human Sciences

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Introduction to Cognitive and Brain Sciences (3)
Delusions and Disorders of the Mind and Brain (3)

200 level

Cognitive Neuroscience (3)
3cp from
Memory (3)
Psychological Anthropology (3)
Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biology (3)
Neurophysiology (3)
Neuroanatomy (3)
Introduction to Psycholinguistics (3)
Introductory Phonetics and Phonology (3)
Evolution, Mind and Culture (3)
Body and Mind (3)
Developmental Psychology (3)
Biopsychology and Learning (3)
Introduction to Psycholinguistics (3)
Cognitive Processes I (3)
Perception (3)
Design and Statistics II (3)

300 level

Cognitive Science in the Real World (3)
Current Problems in Cognitive Science (3)
6cp from
Ecological Anthropology: Body and Place (3)
Animal Behaviour (3)
Child Language Acquisition (3)
Current Issues in Phonology (3)
Philosophy and Cognitive Science (3)
Agency and the Self (3)
Cognitive Processes II (3)
Real-world Applications of Visual Perception (3)
Neuropsychology in Clinical Practice (3)
Principles of Behaviour Change (3)
Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience (3)
The Science of Speech Production (3)
Developmental Speech and Language Disorders (3)
Acquired Speech and Language Disorders (3)
Speech Perception and Hearing Science (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Deciphering the operations of the mind and brain is one of the greatest scientific challenges facing human society in the 21st century. The Major in Cognitive and Brain Sciences is for anyone interested in exploring how the mind and brain work. This major gives students a solid background in a wide spectrum of exciting research methodologies and disciplines within the cognitive and brain sciences. Students will have the opportunity to pursue a flexible program of coursework and acquire strong research skills in neuroscience, psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, biology, and anthropology. This major offers an optimal combination of intellectual breadth and depth, giving students exposure to foundational and cutting-edge research on a diverse range of challenging and engaging topics including perception, attention, action, memory, language, decision-making, and the information-processing and brain systems that support these capacities.

Key features:
• You will take units that reflect cutting-edge research in cognitive and brain science.
• You will learn from internationally renowned expert researchers who together form one of the largest and strongest research communities in cognitive and brain science in Australia and the world.
• You will have the opportunity to develop your research skills while working on an individualized scientific project with one of our research teams in state-of-the-art facilities.
• Expert teachers and researchers will help you to develop strong critical thinking capabilities including complex problem solving and effective communication skills essential for success in research environments or the workplace in the 21st century.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:
- demonstrate sound theoretical and technical knowledge of key theoretical frameworks, concepts, and discipline areas of cognitive science (K)
- demonstrate specialised, advanced knowledge in at least one of the discipline areas of cognitive science (K, T)
- show understanding of relevant research methodologies including research design, data analysis, and interpretation by critically evaluating research in cognitive science (K, T, P)
- flexibly apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to independently identify, analyse, and solve problems related to various research domains in cognitive science(T, P, I, J, L)
- examine and integrate scientific information from a variety of primary and secondary sources in cognitive science and communicate this in a clear and coherent manner through a range of media (T, P, I, C)
- employ a sound ethical framework for research and show an appreciation of the professional, social, and ethical dimensions of cognitive science research (E, A, J)

Learning and Teaching Methods The required units of study in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences major employ a mixture of lecture, tutorial, self-guided, and peer-supported learning to develop a solid understanding of the mind and the brain.

The program uses a range of methods to develop student understanding in cognitive and brain science. In the early stages of the major, students will be introduced to concepts, theories, and methods that are foundational to understanding the complex nature of cognition, perception, and action, and the brain systems underlying them. In intermediate stages of the major, learning methods include problem-based approaches designed to promote independent thinking and research capabilities. In later stages of the major, students will have the opportunity to apply their advanced knowledge and skills to design and carry out individualized research projects in cognitive science.
Assessment Assessment tasks in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences major are designed to help build a sound foundation of knowledge and skills in the discipline. Assessment criteria for each task provide detailed descriptions of what is required at each band of achievement. Detailed information about each assessment task including (a) assessment criteria, (b) relevant resources, and (c) the specific learning outcomes to which each assessment task is mapped are provided in the unit guide for the relevant unit.

Assessment in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences major includes both formative and summative feedback. Formative feedback is ongoing feedback delivered during progression of a task. Summative feedback is feedback that is received at the end of a task and typically includes a grade and comments on performance. Both types of feedback are vital for helping students identify areas for future improvement in their performance. Feedback will be provided in written form or in discussion with peers or teaching staff. Assessment tasks are designed to provide students with early and repeated opportunities to monitor their intellectual and academic progress.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability The Cognitive and Brain Sciences major provides students with a solid background in an exciting scientific discipline. It prepares students for higher study in cognitive science, neuroscience, and other professional degrees including medicine, law, or business. Depending on student emphasis, the major may also provide a suitable foundation for a career in information technology, data science, health care, or science communication.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2018 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148