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Brain and Cognition (interdisciplinaire minor)

Overall coordination:

Dr. Z. Sjoerds


This interdisciplinary minor emphasizes the diversity and complementarity of various cognitive neuroscience approaches to understanding the human brain.

  • Aspects of (bio-)medical sciences, biology, pharmaceutical sciences, linguistics and psychology will be connected

  • You will gain insight in the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, neuropharmacology and behavioural sciences.

  • You will acquire knowledge of cognitive psychology and neuro- and psycholinguistics.

This minor is offered by the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition, based on collaboration between the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Faculties of Humanities, Science, and Social and Behavioural Sciences of Leiden University.

Please be informed that the participating faculties may have different approaches to their education. This can result in differences with regards to the relation between contact hours and hours of self study, different use of Blackboard, large or small scale education, practicals and other educational support. Some courses may require mandatory presence in practicals, tutorials and/or symposia. The courses that form part of this minor will inevitably differ from one another. This can be challenging, but forms a vitable part of interdisciplinary education. Of course you will be supported.

For whom?

The minor is intended for third year students in Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Psychology, Pedagogical Sciences, Law, Linguistics, Biology and Biopharmaceutical Sciences. Students from different study programmes can only be admitted if there is space left, and if they are highly motivated and show considerable commitment. For students who miss background in both neurosciences and psychology/linguistics, we offer the opportunity to follow both introduction courses. One of two is mandatory; the second introductory course can be taken on a voluntary basis, no EC’s are given for it. Students that have less than 90 credits in their main study programme are strongly discouraged to apply. Students without a first year (propeadeuse) diploma, will not be admitted.

Brain and Cognition is not a typical ‘neurosciences-minor’ in the (bio)medical domain, as considerable attention will be given to cognition, linguistics and animal cognition in this minor.

Minor or electives

The 30 EC minor consists of three parts:

  1. Introduction course (for alpha/gamma students: in Neuroscience; for beta students: in Linguistics and Neurocognitive Psychology) (5 EC)

  2. Specialisation courses (4 x 5 EC = 20 EC)

  3. Internship (5 EC)

The 15 EC minor consists of two parts:

  1. Introduction course (for alpha/gamma students: in Neuroscience; for beta students: in Linguistics and Neurocognitive Psychology) (5 EC)

  2. Specialisation courses (2 x 5 EC = 10 EC), you can choose your own courses from the 4 specialisation courses mentioned below.

Course periods

The entire minor is a full-time study programme spread out over one semester from September till the end of January. Courses will be offered in the following weeks:

  • Week 36-37-38: Introduction to Linguistics and to Neurocognitive Psychology (lectures at FSW)

  • Week 36-37-38: Introduction to Neuroscience (lectures at LUMC)

  • Week 39-40-41: Brain Diseases (lectures at LUMC)

  • Week 42-43-44: Perception, Attention and Decision Making (lectures at FSW)

  • Week 45-46-47: Neurochemistry (lectures at FSW)

  • Week 48-49-50: Language and Communication (lectures at FSW)

  • From week 51: Internship Minor Brain and Cognition

Admission and registration

You can register for this minor in uSis between 1 May and 15 June (uSis-code 6000MBRAIN). You will be placed on a waiting list. Confirmation on placement will take place in June or July.

Students that choose for a 15 EC Brain and Cognition minor, also need to apply in uSis for the 30EC Brain and Cognition minor. At a later stage, students that are admitted in this minor also need to apply for each courses’ examination separately. This is necessary for correct registration of examination results. Admitted students will be informed by email or a Blackboard message about how and where they can register for separate minor courses.

The minimum amount of participants is 30. The maximum amount of participants is 60. All applicants will be put on a waiting list. When there is a lot of interested applicants, the total amount of 60 participants might already be reached within the first week of May. You can find out yourself in uSis if your waiting list status has been changed into a confirmed admission. Only when over 60 students apply, selection will take place. With selection we will apply a first come, first serve policy, with the condition that students with an alpha/gamma and beta background are divided approximately 50/50 over the minor.

Language of instruction

All courses and exams are offered in English.

Reading list

For all minor students Brain and Cognition (used during the courses Perception, Attention and Decision Making and Introduction to Linguistics and Neurocognitive Psychology):

  • Ward, J. (2015). The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience. Psychology Press, 3rd Edition

For all minor students Brain and Cognition one of the following books. If you do not have these books, it is recommended to buy/use Bear (used during the courses Introduction in the Neurosciences, Brain Diseases and Neurochemistry):

  • Purves, D. et al. (2013) Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience. Sinauer Associates Inc, 2nd New Edition

  • Bear, M.F. et al. (2016) Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 4th Edition


For your questions about the overall minor organization, contact:

For your questions about registration, contact: het Onderwijs Service Centrum

For questions about the content of the individual courses, contact: the individual course coordinators