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Admission and Application

Information about application, admission, and eligibility; followed by an FAQ Section.

Admission to Cognitive Neuroscience is highly competitive and bound to a series of necessary preconditions. Applicants need to meet the following two criteria:

  • Bachelor's degree in psychology, neurosciences, cognitive science, data science, mathematics, physics, biology, computer sciences, or first two parts of the Certificate of Physician Exam (Ärztliche Prüfung) or equivalent.
  • Proof of proficiency in English ( C1 level). Accepted types of proofs are litsted on the general application websites of the Freie Universität. (Note: The MCNB accepts language certificates, issued up to 5 years before the application, even if the certificate has a different "valid thru"-date). 

The admission process consists of three steps that run from initial application in April/May to a final admission decision by the end of July (tentatively).

Candidates submit their applications in different ways:

Step 1 - Submit an application

The application period for the winter semester is every year between mid-April and the end of May. All the candidates must submit four documents listed below:

  1. Application form: refers to the questions you must fill on uni-assist or the FU application portal. No separate form exists.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English
  3. An official copy of your bachelor's degree certificate (diploma) and/or transcript of records (ToR) that specifies your final grade.
    1. ToR from your current academic institution or the B.A./B.Sc. degree with which you apply (including the specification of the sum of credits/ECTS)
    2. Diploma if you have already graduated
  4. Proof of English language proficiency: See above for valid proofs of proficiency.

Two documents listed below must be submitted if the specified condition applies to the candidate:

  1. Self-disclosure formOnly if the name of your bachelor's program is NOT listed below under the Eligibility section.
  2. Additional documents requested by Uni-Assist: Any other document uni-assist prompts you to upload for your application to be valid. This can include proof of identity (e.g., passport copy), an APS certificate, a high-school leaving certificate, a university entrance exam certificate, etc. The required documents can change from year to year and are within the responsibility of Uni-Assist. We will process your application only after Uni-Assist forwards it. Any questions with regard to these additional documents should be asked to Uni-Assist directly, including the APS certificate.

Step 2 - Attend the personal video interview

(beginning of July)

Admission to the Master Cognitive Neuroscience follows a downward point-based ranking ranging from 100-0 selection points (SP), with 100 being top score.

  • Grades of the undergraduate program will be transferred to a point score up to 60 SP.
    (for more information: student affairs office )
  • Promising applicants will be invited to 10 min interviews (online).
    The admission commission will evaluate the motivation and qualification of prospective students by means of these interviews and award them with up to another 40 SP leading to a maximum number of 100 SP.

Step 3 - Final Selection

(end of July / beginning of August)

All approval notifications will be sent out at the end of July / beginning of August.


The probability of being admitted to the program depends on the number of applications and other candidates. The necessary qualification (apart from English level C1) is a bachelor's degree in one of the following fields:

  • psychology
  • neuroscience
  • cognitive science
  • data science
  • mathematics
  • physics
  • biology
  • computer science
  • both parts of the Certificate of Physician Exam (Ärztliche Prüfung)
  • or an equal qualification, "gleichwertig" (see the following paragraph)

In cases where the name of the candidate's BSc/BA degree is not identical with the listed study programs, the selection committee has to decide if candidate's BSc/BA degree can be “considered as equal” (in German: “gleichwertig”). Decision on whether or not your degree is considered as equal depends on your background (i.e. TOR records) in the following fields:

  • mathematics / statistics
  • programming / Computer Science / Data Science
  • background in quantitative empirical research (e.g. an empirical thesis or internships)
  • cognitive psychology
  • neurobiology / medicine / biological psychology

To assist the admission committee with the decision if your study background can be considered equal, please fill out and submit the self-disclosure form together with your application (only if your study program is not on the list above): Click here for the form.

Please Note: It is not possible for us to confirm candidates' eligibility for the master's program in advance. Please DO NOT send an email with CV/TOR. Candidates' eligibility can only be assessed once they submit their applications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Application Documents

Yes, you can provide certificates from online universities together with your degree specification.

No, such letters will not be taken into consideration during the review of your application.

APS certificate is a country-specific document. Some candidates are asked to submit this document with their application before the deadline. Please consult this website for more information.

Also see:

APS India

uni-assist Info country by country

No motivation letter is required for the application

As MCNB is a consecutive master`s degree, your M.A./M.Sc. is irrelevant to your application. You will apply with your B.A./B.Sc. degree. If your B.A./B.Sc. degree is not in one of the disciplines listed on our website (based on the M.Sc. Cognitive Neuroscience Access Charter), you should submit the self-disclosure form, where you will find space to list qualifications gained during your M.A./M.Sc.

MCNB is a consecutive master’s program designed to follow a bachelor’s
degree. It is not designed as a second master’s degree. Therefore, a
master’s degree or a TOR cannot be a substitute for a bachelor’s degree as
proof of study background. Your admission will be based on the
evaluation of the bachelor`s degree. Candidates who have/will have a
master’s degree should apply with their bachelor’s degree certificate. You
can fill in and submit the self-disclosure form, if aspects of your master`s degree are informative to the
admission board.

If you studied one of the listed programs, apply with that bachelor's diploma/transcript of records. If your bachelor's program does not match with one of the listed programs, then fill out the study equivalence form, submit it along with other documents. There you can add details about your second bachelor's or master's education.

For the first step of the admission process, the grade of the bachelor degree with which you apply will be considered. 

No, fill out the self-disclosure form and submit it if and only if your bachelor's program, with which you are applying, IS NOT listed as eligible. There is no added benefit if you submit the form when you do not have to.

You should submit the self-disclosure form if your bachelor's program's name does not completely match the ones listed on the website (based on the M.Sc. Cognitive Neuroscience Access Charter).

Some names of B.A./B.Sc. programs might have names close to the ones listed but not identical. In these cases, it is important to submit the self-disclosure form. Some examples:

  • Applied psychology, clinical psychology, psychological counseling, psychology and journalism, work psychology, business psychology,...
  • Biochemistry, plant biology, human physiology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, life sciences, bioinformatics,...
  • Medical laboratory science, audiology, exercise physiology, speech and language pathology, molecular medicine,...
  • Information technologies, computer engineering, systems engineering, human robotics,...
  • ...

For all these, the self-disclosure form must be submitted to allow the admission officers to evaluate if your study background can be considered suited. When in doubt, submit the self-disclosure form, as it does not harm submitting it.

If you have already graduated and  your final grade is not written on your bachelor's degree certificate (i.e, diploma), please submit your transcript of records (TOR) along with your bachelor's degree certificate. Make sure TOR includes your final grade.

No, we do not. The end of the application period is a hard deadline. Candidates cannot submit new applications or documents (e.g., a language certificate) after the deadline.

Uni-assist is first to receive your application. They check your documents and then forward them to the respective universities. You can find useful information regarding assembling your documents via the following website:


The application form refers to the questions you have to fill on uni-assist or the FU application portal, no separate form exists.

If you are applying via uni-assist you could submit the form along with the other documents. Please do not send the form in advance to ask if you are eligible or not.

Application Period

Typcially not, as the start of the program is in winter/fall semester. 

Only in the case that not all places of the programm are filled (e.g. after drop-outs in the first semester), there will be an admisison in the summer term (in the past this happened rarely). To be considered for admission in the summer term, you need to have your Bachelor Degree completed and you need to submitt evidence that your study background can be considered equivalent to a student who has successfully completed the first semester courses of the MCNB.

Yes, the same semester fees and deadlines apply to all applicants.
Please note there are no study (tuition) fees, there are only semester fees. See the link below:


Each year Mid-April to end of May. The program starts on the following October


As long as prerequisites according to the Access Charter (Zulassungsordnung) are met, it does not matter if it is a BA or a BSc degree:

"Admission to the master’s degree program requires a higher education degree (bachelor degree) or professional qualification from a German or comparable non-German institution with at least 180 credits completed in the following areas: psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, data science, mathematics, physics, biology, or computer science. The completion of a qualifying examination in the field of medicine can also fulfill this requirement. "

Please find the Access Charter on the pages of the examination office.

"You can check the recognition of your university using the information portal "anabin" of the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). This is also where you can find out if your degree is equivalent to a German bachelor degree." (source: uni-assist.de) Your degree must be equivalent to a [3-year] German bachelor degree [typically 180 ECTS]. This involves the following criteria, among others: The initial degree must be attained at a university which is recognised (accredited) according to the laws of the country in question. Some countries also require the course of study itself to be accredited." (adapted from uni-assist.de, text within square brackets are not from the original paragraph)

Please visit the respective page on uni-assist and find the MCNB Access Charter on the pages of the examination office.

Depending on the course of study you are interested in, your initial degree course will need to be equivalent to a German bachelor course with a duration of 3, 3.5 or 4 years. You can find out on anabin which German degree is equivalent to your undergraduate degree. (information taken from https://www.uni-assist.de/en/how-to-apply/get-information/master/#tab-255559e4a63d07134475592512). We will not be able to aswer requests on this matter - if you are in doubt please clarify questions with Uni-Assist.

You need to have completed 2/3 of a 180 ECTS bachelor`s program (namely
at least 120 ECTS completed in your transcript of records) so that your
application will be considered valid.

No, as the Access Charter say: "Depending on the course of study you are interested in, your initial degree course will need to be equivalent to a German bachelor course with a duration of 3, 3.5 or 4 years. You can find out on anabin which German degree is equivalent to your undergraduate degree." (uni-assist.de)
Please visit the respective page on uni-assist and find the MCNB Access Charter on the pages of the examination office.

Candidates are expected to have knowledge/experience in the following areas.

  • Basics in mathematics and statistics
  • Basics in neurobiology / medicince / biological psychology
  • Basics in programming / computer science / data science
  • Basics in cognitive psychology
  • Experience in quantitative empirical research

Language Proficiency

No, you cannot. You need to take the test once again to reach at least 7.0.

Find the suited language certificates on the website linked above

No, you need to submit your proof of English proficiency together with
the application, otherwise your application will be rejected.

No, you do not need to provide a language certificate (such as IELTS or TOEFL).

Your BSc certificate or the TOR need to make it explicit that your BSc program was in English! To avoid any problems in the application procedures, please upload the corresponding document (TOR or BSc certificate) as Proof of Language Document and clearly mark (highlight) where it says that the program was taught in English.

If you still have valid and sufficient proof of English language
proficiency, such as an IELTS score, you can use it again for the MCNB
application (even if 'officially' expired). Else, you can submit your
master’s degree certificate (i.e. diploma) as proof of English language
proficiency. Please upload the MSc certificate in the section where you have to upload the language certificate - make sure to highlight where it is said on the certificate that the languagte of instruction was English!

If you have not finished the English-taught master's degree,
you need additional proof of English proficiency on C1 level.

As long as your test certificate is one of the accepted for the MCNB
and satisfies the minimum requirement, you can apply with a language test even if the 
certificate is officially expired - we accept certificates up to 5 years after issue date.

Find the suited language certificates on the website linked above

Registration & Matriculation

Yes, they are notified. It is still your responsibility to assemble your documents on time and notice & complete the missing documents. 

Yes, please plan accordingly and be ready to send your documents via postal mail within the two weeks specified in your admission letter. Also consider using an express mail provider to make sure your documents reach to Admissions Office in a timely manner.

In extreme cases, yes, it is possible. Applicants must explicitly ask for an extension of the deadline before the deadline <zulassung@fu-berlin.de>

Yes, it is sometimes possible. Please inform <zulassung@fu-berlin.de> in this matter.

 A few days after the personal interviews, higher-ranking candidates (according to the Study Examination Regulation criteria) receive the first round of admission letters from the FU Berlin Admissions Office. Then, there is a narrow window of two weeks, in which candidates have to assemble their documents and send them via postal mail to FU Berlin Admissions Office. Not having received an admission letter is not necessarily A final rejection. It is possible that not all candidates accept the offer to enroll and consequently a second round of acceptance letters would be sent to fill the spots in the program


As soon as all places are filled, FU will send rejection letters (around mid-August), which will be the final decision.

No, we cannot issue such letters until the candidate submits their application and their application is assessed by the admission committee.

MCNB receives hundreds of applications every year. Around 23 students are admitted each year.

The exact number of admissions depend on multiple factors and will not be published here, but we assume that the number will be around 23.

Yes, you can. You need to have completed 120 ECTS credits at the time of application - this will be checked in your Transcript of Records, which you submit with your application. Please find this information in the Access Charter.

Yes, sometimes not all allocated seats are taken by the candidates and there might still be unoccupied seats available. In this case, FU Berlin Admissions Office may send the second round of admission letters to fill the empty seats. This means, candidates may still receive an admission letter towards mid-August. As soon as all places are filled, FU will send rejection letters, which will be the final decision.

No, admission decisions are only valid for the upcoming semester. If candidates do not register/matriculate, they lose their seat.

It is not necessary to have your bachelor’s program completed to start
the MCNB (e.g. you have not handed in your bachelor's thesis). Freie
Universität will allow you to matriculate even when your bachelor’s
program is not completed. However, you need to complete it and bring a
proof of completion by the end of the first semester in the MCNB (end of

Typically everyone starts from the first semester of the program. Admission to a higher semester is only possible if there would be free places (which in the past has been happening rarely). If there are free places and an application for the summer term is opening, you need to be able to show/argue that you have taken courses that cover the teaching content of the first semester of the MCNB. As this will be challenging and an admission rather unlikely, we advise applying for the winter term and discourage applying for the 'higher semester' in the summer term.

Admission letters are sent in batches (e.g., first, second, third) if not all candidates accept the offer (the first round) or do not send their documents for registration/immatriculation, Then, the seats that are not taken in the first round are offered in the second round.

You will be asked questions about your background, research interests, ambitions, and specific motivation to enroll in the MCNB.

For the interview, you should be prepared to shortly tell what your Bachelor's thesis (or a comparable project) was about. 

Please note that the interview will only be 10 minutes long. Be ready to answer the questions in a short and concise manner.

According to the German grading system, the cutoff in recent years
was between 1.4 and 1.6. In other words, candidates with final grades in
their bachelor`s degree below that cut-off did not make it to the second
round of the application process, namely the interviews.

Results are announced in mid to end of July.

Uni-assist deals with hundreds of thousands of applications yearly from various countries. The documents submitted to uni-assist are heterogenous, and there is no international standard for the documents they must assess. This situation requires a vast amount of manual work. Candidates who submitted their application towards the end of the application period may have to wait longer for their documents to be forwarded to FU Berlin. Such a delay does not negatively affect your application. Your case will be considered equally. There is nothing the FU Berlin or the admission committee can do to speed up the process until the applications are screened by uni-assist. We are asking for your understanding. To help speed up the process for everyone, make sure your documents and scans are of high quality, and you give proper names for your files before uploading.