After finishing my bachelors in Psychobiology I wasn’t sure how to continue my academic career. I’d come across many different things I liked, but wasn’t able to choose one of them. I decided to apply for the master Brain and Cognitive Sciences, because the flexibility of the programme allowed me to choose my own courses, so I could learn about all the different things I was interested in. For instance, I learned a lot about animal research and cellular and molecular neuroscience during the track specific courses of behavioural neuroscience. Those courses were characterised by many guest lectures of leading scientists from a broad variety of neuroscientific disciplines. However, I also took a course in neuroimaging and even one offered by the philosophy faculty. Taking some courses that were further off my main field of expertise gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizon. If I had already known what I wanted, I could have focused, but now that I was still hesitant, I chose to get a sniff of different aspects of neuroscience.
Besides the track specific courses and the electives I chose myself, throughout the year we had lectures and work-groups in the evening once a week. Those focused on interdisciplinarity by viewing one neuroscientific topic from different angles. During this course we did not only learn about interdisciplinarity, but also had to converse with our fellow students from different backgrounds. Those discussions were often continued when we went for drinks afterwards. The social contact with all those interesting people with different opinions and backgrounds gave an extra dimension to being in this master programme. Though it may not always felt as if I was learning about interdisciplinarity at those moments, in the end I realised I had come to understand people from other disciplines better, simply because we became friends. Overall the entire group of students of my cohort (and this is also what I’ve heard about other years) is rather close. The student union “Cognito”, study trip and weekly night lectures (+drinks) play an important role in this.
All in all, the content and social structure of the study have worked out very well for me, but a last thing that has really stunned me, is the outstanding organisation of the master programme. The programme offers a lot of personal attention (in no time, everyone is known by name!), extraordinarily quick responses to e-mails and countless handles for students to develop themselves. For instance, information meetings about finding and applying for internships, the possibilities after graduation and going abroad were organised throughout the year. Hereby the master programme supports the possibilities for students to deviate from the traditional ways of studying. This enables students to not only develop their academic skill and knowledge, but also develop personally. If I look at myself as well as at my fellow students, I think we’re all come a step closer to adulthood since we walked in here one year ago. Taken together, I’ve never regretted my choice for this master programme, because I feel like I’ve learned a lot during the last year. And not only about brains.