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BackgroundCognitive problems frequently occur in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and profoundly affect their quality of life. So far, the best cognitive treatment options for MS patients are a matter of debate. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effectiveness of two promising non-pharmacological treatments: cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). Furthermore, this study aims to gain additional knowledge about the aetiology of cognitive problems among MS patients, since this may help to develop and guide effective cognitive treatments. Methods/design In a dual-centre, single-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT), 120 MS patients will be randomised into one of three parallel groups: CRT, MBCT or enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU). Both CRT and MBCT consist of a structured 9-week program. ETAU consists of one appointment with an MS specialist nurse. Measurements will be performed at baseline, post-intervention and 6 months after the interventions. The primary outcome measure is the level of subjective cognitive complaints. Secondary outcome measures are objective cognitive function, functional brain network measures (using magnetoencephalography), psychological symptoms, well-being, quality of life and daily life functioning. Discussion To our knowledge, this will be the first RCT that investigates the effect of MBCT on cognitive function among MS patients. In addition, studying the effect of CRT on cognitive function may provide direction to the contradictory evidence that is currently available. This study will also provide information on changes in functional brain networks in relation to cognitive function. To conclude, this study may help to understand and treat cognitive problems among MS patients.