Undergraduate taught courses in neuroscience

histologyA range of undergraduate courses are offered by the University of Bristol that enable students to study the brain, either by completing a degree dedicated to neuroscience, or by taking a degree such as Zoology where brain-related topics are incorporated as components of the course.

Courses are organised through a number of different Faculties, giving students access to a wide range of superb teaching and training facilities across the Univeristy. 

Undergraduate courses for students with an interest in neuroscience:


Neuroscience BSc (3 years)

Teaching of the neuroscience course is carried out by the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, and other related departments. The areas of neuroscience research carried out at Bristol provide the basic structure of the teaching programme. These include motor control, learning and memory, and the genetics of neuroscience.

The programme initially covers a broad range of science disciplines necessary to understand the nervous system. As students progress through the course there is increasing opportunity for specialisation. By the final year the topics available will be at the cutting-edge of the ever-changing field of neuroscience and taught by scientists who are actively engaged in research.

Components of the course include an introduction to scientific techniques used in neuroscientific research, and development of IT, computer and communication skills. There is also a research project carried out during the final year, giving the chance to experience neuroscience research at first hand.

Bristol has a very high reputation for its neuroscience courses and there is a high number of applications per place.  Students go on to be highly successful both in neuroscience research and many other walks of life.

Neuroscience with Study in Industry MSci (4 years)

By taking the option to spend a year in industry during the Neuroscience BSc course, students can also experience neuroscience as it is applied in the pharmaceutical industry. A written report resulting from the year contributes to the final mark of the degree.

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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Physiological Science BSc (3 years)

As well as the specialised neuroscience course, it is also possible to study neuroscience in the context of the broader subject of physiology. The physiology programme allows the flexibility to extend even further afield; during the first two years students spend two-thirds of their time engaged in courses chosen from a wide range offered by Departments across the University.

The remaining one-third is devoted to physiology and covers all basic principles and functions of the major body systems, including the nervous system. In the second year the neurophysiology unit explores sensory, motor and higher order nervous functions in more depth. Practicals accompanying the course demonstrate neural functions such as conduction properties of nerves and simple spinal reflexes (eg the knee jerk).

By the final year teaching is conducted by way of seminars, based around the areas of expertise of researchers in the department. Many have a neuroscientific theme, such as sensory processing, pain, synapses and control of movement. The final year practical project can be carried out with of the departmental research groups or at a local hospital.

Physiological Science with Study in Industry MSci  (4 years)

By taking the option to spend a year in industry during the Physiological Science BSc course, students can also experience science as it is applied in the pharmaceutical industry. A written report resulting from the year contributes to the final mark of the degree.

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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Pharamcology BSc (3 years)

Pharmacology is the study of the action of 'drugs', in the widest possible sense, and, as such, pharmacology plays a key role in human health and society. 

Drugs encompass many types of chemicals which affect the functioning of the body, not just medicines; pharmacologists use their understanding of how drugs work to tell us more about how the body itself functions. They are also responsible for the discovery of hundreds of chemicals used in the treatment of disease and the relief of human and animal suffering.

Our advances in neuroscience have been heavily reliant on understanding and using drugs that act in the brain.  Neuropharmacology covers the study of endogenous drugs, such as neurotransmitters, the development of drugs to use as tools in brain research, and the development of drugs that can help combat neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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Experimental Psychology BSc (3 years)

Experimental Psychology describes the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. Behaviour and fundamental psychological processes are investigated, in both social and biological contexts, using a variety of experimental techniques. The courses offered at Bristol all emphasise the scientific nature of the discipline and feature a substantial biological component.

Courses are based in the School of Experimental Psychology, which has links with Computer Science, Zoology, Child Health, and the Burden Neurological Institute, as well as with local hospitals.

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Biology BSc (3 years)
Zoology BSc (3 years)

Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences, which offers both Biology BSc and Zoology BSc degrees, are involved in projects into almost all areas of Biology meaning that the School has expertise in a wide variety of subjects. The courses give a solid background in basic biology and the diversity of living organisms with specialisation into different aspects of biology - such as brain and behaviour - developing during the three years.

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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Animal Behaviour and Welfare BSc (3 years)

Understanding animal behaviour has widespread implications for the way in which animals are treated, used and included in society.  This course covers aspects of behavioural neuroscience such as motivation, learning, communication, behavioural ecology and physiological processes underlying animal behaviour. Students are introduced to the philosophy of science, experimental design and statistical analysis. 

Alongside the knowledge of animal behaviour, the course teaches methods of assessing welfare. The origin of ethics, cultural perspectives and ethical frameworks for making decisions related to animal use are all considered and subsequently used to find practical ways that welfare can be improved.

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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Medicine (4+ years)

Formal teaching in the medical course is carried out in collaboration by both medical science and clinical departments.  During the course students learn general principles underlying behavioural science and basic medical science for all aspects of the body's systems - including the brain and nervous system.  There is also the chance to cover more specialist areas, such as neurology, during the final part of the degree.

Between years two and three, selected students (about 40%) have the opportunity to intercalate in another subject; this can be neuroscience.  Students who follow this option will obtain an Honours BSc as well as an MB ChB. 

More information in the undergraduate prospectus>>

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