The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
This module will give you a good grounding in the basic principles of the nervous system of humans and other animals. Topics will include neuroanatomy, cellular neuroscience, neuropharmacology, sensory systems, neuroendocrinology, memory, behavioural neuroscience and diseases of the nervous system. These will be delivered through weekly lectures and practical classes.
Core Skills in Neuroscience
This module focuses on developing the core skills needed by neuroscientists such as statistics, pharmacology, neuroscience methodology, scientific writing, data handling and analysis, experimental design and scientific presentation. Alongside lectures, practicals and workshops, small-group tutorials are an important component of this module. In these tutorials, you get to know the member of staff who will be your tutor for the duration of your studies, discuss scientific topics relevant to your degree, and practice key skills such as essay-writing and data-handling.
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of the major systems eg cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, mostly in man, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.
Genes, Molecules and Cells
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. You'll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology.
Optional modules (20 credits)
You must choose 20 credits of additional modules. These can either be from within the School of Life Sciences or from other schools in the University. Options from within the School of Life Sciences are as follows:
Life on Earth
Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.
Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.
Higher Skills in Neuroscience
This module builds upon and employs the core skills introduced in the first year. In particular it focuses on developing your skills to design and conduct laboratory based research using a variety of neuroscience techniques. Moreover, we will develop your ability to work in a team and communicate your ideas and findings to different audiences using a variety of media. Alongside lectures, practicals and workshops, small-group tutorials are an essential component of this module to help you develop your own research and communication skills.
Structural and Developmental Neuroscience
This module enables students to understand how the nervous system develops, is organised and processes information. The module will describe the basic neuroanatomy of brain systems, major structures of the mammalian brain, what they do, and explain how these and the nervous system develops. Moreover it includes topics such as the evolution of the nervous system and how this differs between invertebrate and vertebrates, stem cells and neurogenesis.
Neurons and Glia
This module will provide you with an understanding of the mechanisms behind electrical conduction in neurones. You will learn about the generation of the membrane potential and its essential role in signaling within the nervous system. You will develop an appreciation of the role of ion channels in the generation of trans-membrane currents and how myelin can accelerate signal conduction. You will also learn about the important supporting roles that astrocytes and glial cells play in the nervous system in order to ensure its efficient functioning.
Neurobiology of Disease
This module will teach you the underlying neurophysiology and pathology associated with several common CNS disorders and the neuropharmacology of currently available medication. You will learn about the neurotransmitters and pathways involved in normal brain function and how changes in these contribute to abnormal function. You will also decipher the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs used to treat these CNS disorders. You will cover numerous human diseases including those with great significance such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism.
Optional modules (20 credits)
You must choose 20 credits of additional modules. These can either be from within the School of Life Sciences or from other schools in the University. One such option from within the School of Life Sciences is:
Animal Behaviour and Physiology
This module will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the study of animal behaviour, from the physiological and genetic bases of behaviour to its development through learning and its adaptive significance in the natural environment. Through practical classes, you will learn about the physiological basis of fundamental behaviours. Using examples from across the animal kingdom, you will learn how predictive modelling, experimental and observational approaches integrate to explain how and why animals behave as they do.
Neuroscience Research Project
The research project is a year-long module. Preparatory work including a literature review and familiarisation with laboratory techniques and protocols occurs in the autumn semester, with the bulk of the practical work in the spring semester. You will choose the topic of your project from a list of suggestions and will finalise the experimental plan this after consultation with your supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.
In this module you will synthesise the material taught on your course, bringing together the various ideas, concepts, fact and systems to understand how the nervous system functions.
You must choose 70 credits of additional modules. The majority of which will be from the neuroscience degree programme. Some examples of possible options from within the School of Life Sciences are:
This module provides an overview of the processing of sensory information by the nervous system examining the function of the somatosensory, chemosensory, visual and auditory systems. You will also develop your scientific research and evaluation skills. The module is delivered through lectures and seminar-based workshops.
Others modules may cover topics such as:
- Computational Neuroscience
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Biological Rhythms
- Environmental Neuroscience