Graphic design showing three heads

"The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around."  - Thomas Edison

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Angela Richards
  • Fees from £210 to £395
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus
Booking Link

At least as far back as the ancient Greek writer Hippocrates, our species has been fascinated with the brain. At our birth we have on average about 86 billion brain cells which slowly get pruned down during adulthood.

As we shall discover in this course, even a basic understanding of the brain can affect the way we live our lives and how we view the world.

We will start with considering distinctions between neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry before embarking on a journey of the building blocks of the brain. We will aim to build an understanding of what the brain is and how it works before covering a range of specialist topics across the disciplines of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry.

The course is not lecture based, and we will be asked to take part in simple exercises designed to explore the workings of the brain. This means the course is taught in an interactive manner, and in addition to input from our tutor, we will get the opportunity to discuss our own ideas and experiences with each other, effectively learning from each others' experiences, and we will take part in tasks and games that will build our understanding of each topic.

The course is aimed at complete beginners, and so no previous knowledge of science is necessary.

Course Information

Course Programme

Provisional Programme

Autumn term

  1.  Overview of the course: Neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry: What’s the difference?
  2.  Basic anatomy of the brain 
  3.  The mystery of the nerve impulse and chemicals in the brain 
  4.  Localising function and the senses
  5.  What’s in there? Mapping the cerebral cortex and brain imaging
  6.  Brain networks: Is it like a computer? 
  7.  Mind vs Brain: Consciousness
  8.  Mental illness and the brain
  9.  Child to adult: Neurodevelopmental aspects of the brain

Spring term

  1. Learning, intelligence and getting good at stuff
  2. Language and the brain
  3. Do you have a “good memory”?
  4. Dementia and neurodegenerative disorders
  5. Anxiety and performing under pressure
  6. Brain surgery and brain injury: Case studies you won’t believe
  7. Cultural neuroscience
  8. The brain on the couch – psychological therapies and the brain
  9. The existential brain, mindfulness, yoga and meditation
  10. Bad brain science and neuroethics
  11. 21st Century advances – technology and the brain

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

Your Tutor

Dr Angela Richards’ compulsion to find out about the brain was initially fed by a psychology degree. She then went on to conduct research on memory in animals before her doctorate and later graduate training in clinical neuroscience. Her main interest is in neurodegenerative disorders, especially dementia, was a finalist for an Alzheimer’s Society award.  

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
18  9  £178    (Early Bird rate: £162*) £104    (Early Bird rate: £95*)
£137    (Early Bird rate: £126*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before 30 September for courses starting in October   |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of Friends of Imperial College 
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started, subject entirely to agreement by the tutor delivering the course. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Evening Classes & Lunchtime Learning terms and conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 18  9 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks) n/a n/a

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Although no credits are offered for this very part-time course, an attendance certificate is presented to students who attend at least 80% (7) of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible students receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed to the course tutor, Angela Richards,

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.