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 ), if not a native speaker ( List of accepted proofs of English proficiency )
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:
- Applicants who hold a German bachelor’s degree or currently studying a bachelor’s program in a German university should directly apply to Freie Universität Berlin.
- Applicants who do not fulfill the aforementioned criteria should submit their application via uni-assist .
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:
- Application form: refers to the questions you must fill on uni-assist or the FU application portal. No separate form exists.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) in English
- An official copy of your bachelor's degree certificate (diploma) and/or transcript of records (ToR) that specifies your final grade.
- 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)
- Diploma if you have already graduated
- 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:
- Self-disclosure form: Only if the name of your bachelor's program is NOT listed below under the Eligibility section.
- 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:
- cognitive science
- data science
- 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)
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
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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
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. If you have not finished the English-taught master's degree,
you need additional proof of English proficiency on C1 level.
Registration & Matriculation
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.