Neuroscience MSci


Fact file - 2019 entry

MSci Hons Neuroscience
UCAS code
4 years full-time 
A level offer
Required subjects
Two science subjects, one of which must be biology/human biology and/or chemistry. Second science subject can be from biology, chemistry, electronics, geography, geology, human biology, maths, physics or psychology. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GSCE English language and maths at grade 4 or above are also required.
IB score
34 (including two science subjects, either biology or chemistry, at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus and Medical School
Course places
Approximately 50 places shared with BSc Neuroscience


This degree provides an insight into the study of the brain. Your teaching will be influenced by the high-quality research being undertaken at Nottingham in this field. The MSci includes an additional year which is spent on a research project in industry or at a partner university abroad.
Read full overview

Highlights of neuroscience at Nottingham

  • Gain substantial laboratory experience from year one
  • Contribute to real research during your final year project, working within our research groups
  • Enjoy flexibility to change between the BSc and MSci once you start the course
  • Travel while you learn, with opportunities to study aborad in the third year
  • Have a large percentage of your learning based in a clinical environment

If you are curious about how our brains work, or would like to understand neurological diseases such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s, this course is ideal. You'll study the brain, spinal cord and peripheal nervous system. Disciplines studied will include:

  • behaviour
  • cellular and molecular biology
  • genetics
  • pharmacology 
  • physiology
  • neuroanatomy

Through optional modules and research projects, you can tailor the course to focus on the specific areas of neuroscience that interest you. You’ll be taught by scientists with varying specialities which helps broaden your understanding of neuroscience. 

The MSci is similar in content to BSc Neuroscience but includes a placement year in industry, or at an overseas academic institution, during which you will undertake an assessed research project. Past students have really enjoyed this element of the course. We have had students study in America, Australia and mainland Europe. Others have stayed in the UK and worked at companies including Syganture. Through the research project, you will improve your academic and research skills as well as develop transferable employability skills such as time management, communication and flexibility.

Yearly overviews

Year one

From the first term, you will study neuroscience specific topics. An introductory module to neuroscience will cover the basic principles of the nervous system of humans and animals, as well as the main areas of neuroscience that will form the foundations for your future studies.

You’ll join other life sciences students in modules covering the physiology of the major body systems in humans and the basics of genes, molecules and cells. 

Optional modules provide further study in another biologically related subject or something transferable such as languages.

Year two

Building on your knowledge from year one, you’ll undertake a series of practical laboratory classes that will conclude with a laboratory report. Small group teaching of around six students provides support in developing skills such as presenting data and critically appraising scientific papers.

You’ll also explore the nervous system in more depth, including basic neuroanatomy and the differences between invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems. The neurophysiology and pathology associated with several central nervous system disorders are investigated, along with the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs used to treat them.

Discover new topics via optional modules, providing you with a personalised course to follow future study or career aspirations. 

Year three

This year is spent outside of the University. There are opportunities to apply for placements in the UK or abroad in pharmaceutical companies. Another option is to study abroad at a partner university through the Universitas 21 programme. The year will be spent gaining expertise in one or more areas of neuroscience research, with training in information acquisition and presentation methods.

Year four

This year is about consolidating your knowledge and showcasing your skills through a year-long research project. Supervised by a research-active academic, this is your chance to contribute to the work of a research group in the University. You’ll be expected to collect data, analyse and interpret it, and present your findings in the form of a dissertation. 

Diverse optional modules will encourage you to expand your knowledge of neuroscience further. These may complement your research project or introduce you to something new.   


Learning and assessment

Teaching methods

You will learn through a variety of methods depending on the module. This may include:

  • laboratory classes
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops

Teaching will take place in the Life Sciences Building on University Park Campus and the Medical School, which is embedded in the Queen’s Medical Centre. There is a footbridge linking the Medical School to University Park Campus, allowing easy access to facilities on both sites.  

Assessment methods 

Assessment varies on the module being studied but is typically a combination of:

  • dissertations
  • essays
  • exmas
  • laboratory reports
  • presentations 

Exams happen twice a year at the end of each semester. 

Find out more about our teaching on the school website.


Student support

All students have a personal tutor. Personal tutors are members of academic staff in the school who will:
  • monitor your academic progress and check on your wellbeing
  • provide exam marks and help you reflect on feedback
  • act as a first point of contact for any guidance on academic or personal matters

At Nottingham we still offer small group tutorials. This ensures you have enough time to build a relationship with your tutor and benefit from their support. Your fellow tutees also provide peer support. 

Additionally, the school has a dedicated Welfare Officer and a Student Liaison Officer who are available to help you adapt to university life and provide advice on more complex issues.   

Peer support

NeuroSoc is the student-led neuroscience society. They organise social, sporting, careers and networking events.

There is also a school peer mentoring scheme. Your mentor will be there to help you settle into university life. They may also advise on how to manage your time or introduce you to other course members. 


Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our mature students website.


International applicants

We welcome applications from international applicants. The University provides dedicated advice and support throughout your application and preparation for coming to the UK.

Please see the entry requirements tab for English language requirements.

If you are unable to attend an open day, we can meet you in your country at one of our overseas events or arrange an individual visit to the University


Student profile video


Entry requirements

A levels: AAB, including two science subjects, one of which must be biology/human biology and/or chemistry. Second science subject can be from biology, chemistry, electronics, geography, geology, human biology, maths, physics or psychology. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. GSCE English language and maths at grade 4 or above are also required.

Understand how we show GCSE grades

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element).

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see alternative qualifications page.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


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.

Typical year one modules

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.
Human Physiology
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.

Typical year two modules

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.


Typical year three modules 

For MSci students, the third year is spent on aselected placement and training programme, either in industry or through a study abroad exchange. You will spend this year gaining expertise in one or more areas of neuroscience research with extensive training in information acquisition and presentation methods. 

Typical year four modules

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. 
Synoptic Module 
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.
Optional modules

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:

Sensory Neuroscience
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:

  • Pain
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Epigenetics
  • Biological Rhythms
  • Environmental Neuroscience


Graduates from our course have developed careers in scientific research in the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Other careers have included management, scientific writing, professions allied to medicine, teaching and graduate entry medicine.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Axol Bioscience: laboratory production scientist
  • Nielsen: neurophysiologist
  • Ashfield Healthcare UK: recruitment executive
  • Public Health England: healthcare scientist
  • Cancer Research UK: clinical trial assistant

Find out more about the career options open to neuroscience graduates.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 96.5% of undergraduates in the school secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,000 with the highest being £41,600.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Our Careers and Employability Service can also work with you: assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our neuroscience careers page for an overview of employability support for current students and guidance on career paths.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities. 

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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