Module aims

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the key principles and methods of neuroscience, covering multiple levels of organisation, from molecules to behaviour.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes - Knowledge and Understanding

  • Understanding key concepts concerning the physiological basis of electrical and chemical signalling in the nervous system.
  • Knowledge of some generic principles by which neuronal circuits process sensory and motor information.
  • Appreciation of how physiological signals can help us to understand motor and sensory systems, and how engineering and statistical approaches help in the analysis of such data 
  • Knowledge of the current level of development of the field of Neuroscience
  • Appreciation of the relationship between fundamental neuronal properties and whole organism behaviour in both health and disease

Learning Outcomes - Intellectual Skills

  •  Appropriate formulation of hypotheses for scientific research
  •  Critical appraisal of original research – technical and conceptual

Learning Outcomes - Practical Skills

  • Basic knowledge of neuroscience tools
  • Anatomical identification of major brain structures
Learning Outcomes - Transferable Skills
  • Multi-level approaches to problem solving

Module syllabus


(1) Fundamentals: anatomy of neurons and the human brain; electrical properties of excitable cells (membrane potential, the action potential, Hodgkin and Huxley models, axon and dendrites: the cable equation); synapses (structure and function, quantal chemical transmission, ionotropic/metabotropic receptors, synaptic excitation and inhibition, electrical synapses, postsynaptic integration, plasticity and learning); sensory transduction (from detector to brain: vision, audition, olfaction); neuromodulatory systems; neuro-glial interactions, motor control; pain (cellular and systems mechanisms), active sensing, attention. 

(2) Technology for Neuroscience: model systems; molecular tools (genetic manipulation, e.g., knock-out/knock down, opto- and pharmaco-genetics, fluorescent indicators); modern electrophysiology and imaging methods.



Teaching methods

Lectures: 18 hours
Labs: 9 hours


Written exam: 100%% weighting
Students have 1.5 hours to complete the exam. Each question will consist of sub-questions, including multiple-choice questions, and is worth 100 marks. Answer all questions concisely.

Outline answers to past papers will be available

Reading list

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Module leaders

Dr Andriy Kozlov