BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Foundation Year)

Overview

Our BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology (including foundation year) is open to Home and EU students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your English language and academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. At Essex, we will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be a leader in the development of novel technologies for the rapidly expanding neural engineering industry, building systems that can change people’s lives. You will be taught in a collaboration with the Department of Psychology, which will give you a foundation in the cognitive processes within the human brain.

On our BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology you can study a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Brain-computer and neural interfaces
  • Analysis and classification of neural signals
  • Brain-activity recording (neuroimaging) and simulation technologies
  • Human experimentation
  • Brain and behaviour
  • Neuroscience
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. We are home to many of the world’s top engineers, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination, as well as technical excellence. You graduate as a creative, experimental and focused engineer ready to explore further how engineering can impact the people and world around you.

Programming at Essex

Teaching someone to programme is about opening a door. In Year 1 at Essex you will study a module that introduces you to programming using Python. We assess your ability to think in a programmatic way in the very first week of term and if you require additional support, we offer classes which will boost your skills and confidence with programming.

Our expert staff

This course is taught by world-leading researchers in BCI, Neural Engineering, Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. The course is led by Professor Ricccardo Poli, who has many years experience of BCI and AI research, and has been successful in developing BCIs to improve decision-making. Professor Poli’s research has obtained research funding of approximately £2.6m from the UK Ministry of Defence, and he has been principle investigator in two large US/UK projects, co-funded by the US Department of Defence.

Professor Reinhold Scherer has many years experience working in one of the best BCI Laboratories in the world, the Graz BCI Lab. He is a world leader in BCI research, and has extensive experience developing applications to improve the quality of life for individuals with cognitive and motor disabilities, including those affected by stroke, cerebral palsy, and other neurological disorders.

Additionally, several academic staff from the Department of Psychology, will teach specialist modules in the course.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering also offers excellent on-campus facilities:

  • The Essex BCI-NE laboratory has state of the art equipment and laboratory facilities which are available to BEng Neural Engineering with Psychology students. Facilities include numerous top-of-the-range brain activity recording devices, including electroencephalography and functional near-infrared spectroscopy, several brain stimulation devices (including transcranial magnetic simulators and transcranial current simulants), a sophisticated robotic positioning system, three soundproofed Faraday cages (which reduce electromagnetic and ambient noise during human experimentation), and virtual reality systems.
  • We have six laboratories that are exclusively for Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs when they are not being used for teaching.
  • All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10.
  • Software includes Java, Python, C++, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio and Project.
  • Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (QMNet++)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robots, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.

You will also benefit from the extensive learning resources within the Department of Psychology

  • Our multi-million pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) allows staff to investigate brain activity, and to measure eye movements and other physiological responses.
  • Dedicated laboratories, including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite.

Your future

Interest in neural engineering technologies for both disable and able-bodied individual has grown exponentially in recent years, and today there are a plethora of technologies being trialled that improve communication, decision making, motor control, memory, attention, learning and problem solving. But also, correspondingly, large-scale initiatives, from the US and UK military, to Elon Musk’s Nueralink project, are seeking practical exploitation of such technologies.

This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to be a leader in the development of novel technologies and applications for this rapidly developing and innovative industry, as well as the well-established biomedical, electronic and software engineering.

The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering has a large pool of external contacts who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities. Read more about computer science and electronic engineering career destinations here.

We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.


Why we’re great

  • You will be taught in the Essex Brain-Computer Interfaces and Neural Engineering (BCI-NE) Laboratory – the largest and best equipped of its type in the country and one of the largest in Europe.
  • 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
  • Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed as subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.


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