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Unit information: The Central Nervous System in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Central Nervous System
Unit code PHPH20003
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Bashir
Open unit status Not open

ANAT10101 or ANAT10102 or other approved unit



School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit enables students to gain an understanding of the structural and functional organisation of the mammalian nervous system, including systems responsible for sensory perception, homeostasis, movement, memory, motivation and consciousness. The basis of some common disorders of the nervous system are also considered. The practicals include detailed study of the human brain.

The aim of ANAT 20102 is to enable students to obtain an insight into biological principles related to a range of topics within the subject area of neuroscience. Particular emphasis is placed on the human and relevance to common disorders is also considered.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit learning objectives are to engender knowledge about the following topics:

  • Gross organisation of the nervous system, including blood supply, meninges, ventricles and cerebrospinal fluid
  • Functional neuroanatomy of the major sensory and motor pathways (including cortical representations)
  • Neural pathways concerned with special senses
  • Neural basis of higher cognitive functions and emotion
  • Neuronal plasticity (especially in relation to memory)
  • Cellular organisation of neuronal receptors
  • Scientific basis of common neurological disorders
  • Imaging the nervous system

Additionally, the unit is designed to enable students to obtain or improve the following transferable academic and personal skills:

  • Essay writing
  • Effective listening and note-taking
  • Organising and managing information
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Problem solving
  • Data handling
  • Basic IT skills
  • Dissection technique
  • Practical skills
  • Group work
  • Time management

Teaching Information


There are three lectures timetabled each week. Attendance is strongly advised since they represent the most efficient means of covering the syllabus. Lecturers are always willing to answer your questions, either during or after the lecture, and you should make use of this opportunity.


These include a range of activities designed to elaborate and expand your knowledge of selected topics covered in the lectures, and to help you develop transferable skills. Attendance at practicals is a requirement of the Faculty and failure to attend may lead to exclusion from examinations.


There are 5 tutorials in this unit. Tutorials provide an opportunity to practice a number of transferable skills (essay-writing, verbal communication, problem solving and reasoning) and attendance is compulsory. Tutorials are taken by postgraduate and postdoctoral research staff, or by lecturers. Each tutorial will cover a defined topic and in some tutorials the discussion will be led by the tutor, but in others students themselves will be expected to make short presentations and lead the discussion, helped by the tutor. You will also be asked to write essays or prepare other forms of work, which will be returned with comments at the next tutorial. The Departmental Board of Examiners will receive from your tutor an indication of your contribution in tutorials and your marks for any work, which may be taken into account if you are close to the pass/fail borderline. Details of the tutorial programme, groups and rooms will be posted on the department notice board and Blackboard. Tutors will always try to help with specific questions arising from lectures, but they cannot be expected to know everything! The lecturer him/herself is usually the best person to cover specific questions arising from the lectures. If you have any problems related to your tutorials you should see your unit organiser. Tutorial topics are indicated in the timetable.

Assessment Information


Unit assessment: Central Nervous System (ANAT 20102) The final mark out of 100 (pass equals 40%) is based on the following:

  1. Coursework: 20% (see above)
  2. One 3-hour written examination: Paper: 80%.

The examinations is held in early June and the examination timetable will be posted well beforehand. Each paper will comprise two sections: Section A consists of approx. 30 multiple choice questions and Section B requires 3 essays to be completed from a choice of 6 questions.

Essays will be anonymously marked according to the standard Departmental marking schedule (see Appendix 4), and marks agreed at an internal examiners meeting. Examination scripts and coursework will be made available to the external examiner, who has the right to moderate marks before agreeing the final mark lists. The external examiner will be notified of any special extenuating circumstances, and may take these into account in borderline cases. Tutorial reports and practical assessments will also be taken into account by the Departmental Board of Examiners in reaching a final decision regarding borderline cases.

You will be informed of your final mark via Blackboard, and you will have an opportunity to discuss your results with the relevant Unit Organiser. The date when marks will be released will be posted on Blackboard before the examinations.

Reading and References

Neuroscience, exploring the brain by Bear, Connors and Paradiso. Pubs: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkinson

From Neuron to Brain. by J G Nicholls, A R Martin, B G Wallace & P A Fuchs. Pubs:Sinauer.

A Colour Atlas of the Brain and Spinal Cord by England & Wakely. Pubs: Wolfe.

Principles of Neural Science. ER Kandel, JH Schwartz, and TM Jessell. Pubs: Elsevier

Neuroanatomy – an illustrated colour text by Crossman and Neary. Pubs: Churchill Livingstone

Copies of all of the books listed above are available in the Medical Library.