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Unit information: Neurological and Psychiatric disorders in 2021/22

Unit name Neurological and Psychiatric disorders
Unit code PHPH30013
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Molnar
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Students will study critical current topics relevant to key neurological and psychiatric disorders. The unit aims to explore and compare different forms of disorders from the molecular to the system level and to identify aspects of the pathophysiology that could form the basis for new clinical treatments. The unit will provide an overview of a wide range on neurological and psychiatric disorders and where research is now headed in the search for answers and better treatment strategies. The seminars will focus on:
• Neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other dementias)
• Demyelinating disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis, periventricular leukomalacia)
• Pathophysiology of epilepsy, stroke, depression and schizophrenia
• Discovering new therapies for neurological and psychiatric disorders

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Gain understanding of key neurological and psychiatric disorders and where research is headed in the search for answers;
  • Appreciate how various neurotransmitters and their receptors are involved in pathological changes;
  • Discuss the applications and limitations of animal models of disease used for drug discovery and for the better understanding of various human pathological conditions
  • Understand the process which can lead to the identification and validation of a potential new drug target
  • Appreciate methodologies and procedures employed to discover novel drug molecules for clinical use
  • Develop an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field, gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories
  • Develop an understanding of the experimental approaches used to study neurological and psychiatric disorders in human patients and in animal models.

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

Timed assessment 90%

The unit will be assessed through a timed assessment in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark and consists of two sections. In Section A (50%), students will be expected to answer one essay question from a choice of 3, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature. In Section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question assessing data handling/data interpretation and experimental design skills.

Coursework 10%

The coursework will be either an essay, data interpretation or experimental design question of a similar format to that used in the timed assessment.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH30013).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.