On this page you will find information about the taught component, Laboratory research project component and examinations. The taught component is the first part of the programme and consists of six taught modules plus all the written exams for the individual modules. The first four core modules are compulsory, whilst students can elect their remaining two taught modules from two optional streams. There are written examinations after the four core modules and again after the two taught modules. The taught modules are then followed by the laboratory based research project which is examined by a dissertation and an oral presentation on the project. More information, about each of these components, is given below.
Taught component – core modules
The taught core modules consist of four 2.5 week modules. The first two weeks comprise of lectures, practical classes, group workshops and tutorials etc. whilst the remainder of the time is set aside for consolidation of what you have learnt during the module and for completion of assignments.
Module 1: Functional Neuroanatomy
Students will investigate the basic structure and function of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems and how these systems interaction in normal physiological function and the consequences of their impairment in Neurological conditions.
Module 2: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Students will learn which cells make up the nervous system; how they interact during brain and spinal cord development and the neuronal networks they form in the developed brain. This module also covers mechanisms of neuronal damage and the potential for neuroregeneration.
Module 3: Neurodegenerative disorders
Students will then build on the knowledge gained in Module 1 & 2 to then investigate the clinical and pathological features of the principle neurodegenerative disorders and how they are clinically treated. This module will also cover how drugs for CNS use are designed, tested utilising in vitro and in vivo models and their translation in clinical trials.
Module 4: Neuroinflammation, Stroke and CNS trauma
Students will then build on the knowledge gained in Module 1 & 2 to then investigate the clinical, immunological/pathological features and clinical treatment of neurological conditions where neuroinflammation plays a key role e.g. Multiple Sclerosis etc. and in stroke and CNS trauma. This module will also cover how in vitro and in vivo models are used in translational research to develop novel therapies for such disorders, plus how clinical trials are run.
Taught components – optional streams
Students can select one of the two optional streams, each of which contains two further taught modules:
Module 5: Brain Imaging
Students will learn the fundamental physical principles underlying various brain imaging techniques and will learn how to identify brain anatomical structures. They will acquire theoretical and practical experience with common analysis approaches and software packages used for the analysis of MRI and PET images. Students will also investigate the role of neuroimaging in the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatric diseases, and their role as biomarkers in disease progression and in drug development.
Module 6: Computational Neuroscience
Students will learn the theory and develop the practical skills to apply a wide variety of computational analytical techniques to complex data sets obtained from a wide variety of sources e.g. fMRI, EEG/MEG, cognitive task data, genotypes and endophenotypes.
Module 7: Brain Plasticity and Neuro-regeneration
Students will investigate the fundamental molecular, cellular and system biology aspects of the principles of brain plasticity and neuro-regeneration. Students will then cover state of the art concepts of regenerative bioengineering and biomaterials, how they can be tested as potential treatments in neuro-regeneration models and ultimately translated into clinical trials.
Module 8: Addiction and Neuropsychopharmacology in Psychiatry
Students will investigate the clinical features of key psychiatric disorders, including addictions, and how such disorders are clinically treated. Students will then explore the neurobiological and neuropharmacological basis for psychiatric disorders. Students will gain a good understanding of what experimental approaches are available to characterize such disorders including neuroimaging (PET, MR), ‘first-into-man’ and clinical trials.
Assessments and examinations
The grades for each module will determined through a combination of in-course assessment and written examinations.
Each taught module requires the student to complete an assignment, which can take a variety of formats e.g. essay, practical write-up, research proposal, poster presentation etc., which contribute to the overall examination grade for each module (30% for each module apart from module 6 where the in-course assessment accounts for 50% of the final grade).
Each module will have a standalone written examination paper (generally 1.5 hours in duration). Examinations for modules 1-4 will take place in a revision and examination period at the end of module 4, generally at the beginning of January. Similarly, written examinations for your two optional taught modules will take place in a revision and examination period at the end of your second module in stream 1 or 2, generally at the end of February. All taught modules carry identical weighting (8.3r%) in the determination of your final MSc grade.
Research Component – six month laboratory project
Students will be able to select from a wide range of research projects on offer and conduct cutting edge research in some of the most modern and well equipped research facilities in the UK. The majority of the projects will be offered within the diverse research portfolio of the Division of Brain Science. Students will be hosted in research facilities run by world leading academics and clinicians at forefront of medical research in order give students experience of top quality, cutting edge, competitive research. The research component will be assessed by a written dissertation of the research project (85%) and an oral presentation on the research project (15%).