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Goldsmiths, City or Birkbeck for MSc Cognitive Neuroscience?

Hey guys,

I got offers from City and Goldsmiths for studying Msc Cognitive Neuroscience and waiting for an answer from Birkbeck. ( City: MSc Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, Goldsmiths: MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience , Birkbeck : MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology).

I am struggling to decide what is the best choice. Please, give your opinion based only on academic criteria :smile:

Thanks
Reply 1
Original post by Rafaela09
Hey guys,

I got offers from City and Goldsmiths for studying Msc Cognitive Neuroscience and waiting for an answer from Birkbeck. ( City: MSc Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, Goldsmiths: MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience , Birkbeck : MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology).

I am struggling to decide what is the best choice. Please, give your opinion based only on academic criteria :smile:

Thanks


Don't really know about the courses but when it comes to social life/work balance then Birkbeck is more full-time work friendly. If you want to work full time then that's the best choice. But if you want a full on student experience and don't have to work or just part time then either City or Goldsmiths (not sure why but I'd put them in this order -> 1. Birkbeck 2. City 3. Goldsmiths, but that's just my opinion)!
Reply 2
Original post by Rafaela09
Hey guys,

I got offers from City and Goldsmiths for studying Msc Cognitive Neuroscience and waiting for an answer from Birkbeck. ( City: MSc Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, Goldsmiths: MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience , Birkbeck : MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology).

I am struggling to decide what is the best choice. Please, give your opinion based only on academic criteria :smile:

Thanks


Hello there! you posted this question 2 years ago, I assume you must've completed your degree. I am facing the same confusion at the moment; have received an offer form Goldsmiths and Birkbeck for the same courses as you had applied and mentioned here. I wish to know which uni did you choose and how was your experience? I am supposed to choose one amongst these. Thank you in advance!
Reply 3
Not one Uni is better than another, in terms of absolutes. I would carefully inspect what material is covered, as the modules will not be the same, and the courses may take slightly different approaches to what is important in cognitive neuroscience. Most importantly, you need to look at what research is being carried out and what are the research interests of the potential supervisors for your dissertation. The dissertation is an important part, so knowing in advance whether you`ll be able to carry out a project about a topic that interests you is particularly important. Generally speaking, Birkbeck is at the forefront of developmental and brain development, you`ll have plenty of research opportunities in this respect. Check Goldsmith's research supervisors too, as they are more likely to supervise projects on psychopathologies. Additionally, pay attention to the skills that you`ll learn. Nowadays, some level of programming and advanced quantitative methods is vital (not just essay writing skills), so make sure the course gives you plenty of analytical, hard skills. Also, look at UCL, they are entry requirements are usually tighter, but it may easier to be accepted this coming academic year. And if you can travel away from London, check the course at York University (it looks great). Do your due diligence. Good luck.
(edited 4 years ago)
Hello Rafaela09 and Shravyo. I don`t think that any of those Universities can be recommended outright, as they are not the best, for either student satisfaction or research output. I would try and look outside London, perhaps Brunel University, which is within travelling distance from Central London. Whereas I can not speak directly for City or Goldsmiths, I can share with you my personal experience with Birkbeck, as I am a former student in the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology, at Birkbeck College. In my opinion, Birkbeck is a excessively money-driven institution, whose cunning marketing team will encourage you to signing up for what eventually turned out to be a negative experience. The course is overtly theory-based, taught by researchers with limited interest in your learning, as they were mostly concerned about a) progressing their academic career b) disseminating research for their own reputation. Even though they do advertise some PhD opportunities, these were extremely limited (and sometimes irrelevant) and felt like more like a marketing stunt than anything else.

In terms of the entry requirements, the course has actually lowered the bar for the current academic year 2020, with now accepting students with a UK 2:2. If anything, this is an example of how their selection process has become even less strict, which may be a warning sign for the quality, desirability of the course. Unfortunately, the website "admission report" does not publish the ratio of applications to offers. But, if this is anything similar to Brunel University, I would safely guess that Bikrbeck makes offer to about 90% of their applicants - this is a far cry from being a competitive course. It is a shame that most students do not understand this.

But what about the paying, enrolled students? Not many showed to care in the department. Their course tutoring was quite non-existent, with limited academic support offered to students and no encouragement to excel whatsoever. They were pretty clueless about the meaning of prime education, their duty of care towards students and due role in supporting independent learning. Unfortunately, academics were way too busy (and at times uninterested) to support you through the studies, with little opportunity for research. The College is quick at taking your money, but it offers very poor value in return. In my personal experience, the Department of Psychological Science at Birkbeck is a mediocre department, and I recommend you take your education seriously and consider better options, such York University, Cardiff, Bath, Durham, UCL, Bristol just to cite a few.

The course content itself was too broad to offer any real expertise to pursue any further post-grad study, it was mostly like an undergraduate psychology course with a biological/neurological take on psychological processes. Despite the claims in their advertising campaigns (I`d assume they spend a lot in marketing), the opportunities for research were very limited, offering very little training in any of the neuroimaging methods which underpin the teaching. The lectures were often of average/low quality - more than once taught by recent post-docs or PhD students. Interestingly, the best lectures were from guest lecturers, such as from UCL. The least useful module was the Generic Research Skills, an expensive 10-hour waste of time, focused on literature searches, phantom PhD opportunities and guidance on using the library. Despite their claims for selecting students based on merit, they will most likely accept anybody who is keen to pay the full fees. Hope this helps with your decision. Take care.
(edited 3 years ago)
Original post by Rafaela09
Hey guys,

I got offers from City and Goldsmiths for studying Msc Cognitive Neuroscience and waiting for an answer from Birkbeck. ( City: MSc Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, Goldsmiths: MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience , Birkbeck : MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology).

I am struggling to decide what is the best choice. Please, give your opinion based only on academic criteria :smile:

Thanks


Hi. Unfortunately, in my opinion, none of those Colleges are going to offer value for money in terms of education. As a former student at Birkbeck in the same course as above, I am sad to say that I've been left with sour taste after the course. Birkbeck was farly disorganized and they showed little interest in the academic progression of their students, with very poor research opportunities. All the courses that you mention have very high acceptance rate of approx 85% (i.e. they are in little demand considered the cost), you can see for yourself by checking online at "whatdotheyknow" website which shows information gathered via freedom of information requests. On the implication of this is that there's in influx of unskilled graduates with poor practical experience, combined with a serious shortage of work opportunities after graduation, which is a toxic mix. Unless you`re able to get a self-funded or funded Ph.D following the MSc, you're going to struggle to find a relevant, decently paid job as competion in the field is fierce. You can check the performance for each university in the REF2014, which is very outdated now, so better wait for the most recent in 2021/2022 I believe.

I seriously recommend you look at other universities for the same courses (if you really keen on the subject matter). Such as UCL, Manchester, York and Cardiff which are a lot more reputable and seems to take a more pracritical approach to Cognitive Neuroscience. Also, I suggest you don't focus too much on their perceived academic reputation, but more on what you're going to learn during the course(e.g. practical skills, coding, analysis, matlab, R, phython). Overall, I'm not trying to discourage you, but just to make you aware that Universities often inflate the quality, usefulness, and breadth of their courses and the real work prospects available to you. Good luck.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 6
From the universities you are asking, Birkbeck has the highest ranking in psychology with excellent research records.
I am finishing a masters degree in this university (MSc Business Analytics) and I have had an excellent experience. Everything from the professors to the programs have been very interesting and I have felt supported all the way. They also have a lot of tools that you can use to get career mentoring and coaching among others. I got a job through the university network as well. I am thinking about doing another masters degree in the same university, and I probably I will. The same master is also offered at UCL but for doble the amount of money so I can’t apply there, but honestly I would have done it only for the "brand" because my experience at Birkbeck has been very good so far

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