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Unit information: Introduction to Neuroscience in 2024/25

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Introduction to Neuroscience
Unit code PHPH10012
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Howarth
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Unit Information

The aim of the unit is to provide students with an introduction to neuroscience. The unit will give students a fundamental understanding of the structure and function of nerves and the brain. The unit will begin with an overview of gross anatomy of the nervous system. The next sections will look at the sensory and motor systems and examine how the brain processes information related to sensory perception and voluntary movement, and how the brain coordinates responses to external stimuli. The development of the mammalian nervous system will also be covered.

The unit will end with lectures which will cover a historical perspective on some of the key findings and discoveries in Neuroscience and the current advances in the subject, to encourage and increase enthusiasm for Neuroscience.

Please note: Neuroanatomy practical sessions are undertaken in the anatomy teaching laboratories. Teaching will use human cadaveric specimens and students are required to interact with these specimens in teaching sessions and the neuroanatomy spot assessment.

Your learning on this unit

At the end of this unit students should have knowledge and understanding of:

  • Introduction to the cell biology of the neuron
  • Gross organisation of the nervous system - brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, cerebral spinal fluid
  • Ascending sensory pathways
  • Special senses
  • Descending motor pathways
  • Development of the nervous system
  • Selected discoveries in neuroscience

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

  • Figure legend writing
  • Effective listening and note taking
  • Problem solving
  • Basic IT skills
  • Familiarity with Neuroanatomy
  • Practical and data analysis skills
  • Group work
  • Time management

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Large group tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Practical sessions including human anatomy
  • e-learning, including eBiolabs and online teaching materials

Attendance and engagement

If you fail to attend and/or engage with components of a unit, the matter may be referred to the Faculty Board of Examiners. If the Faculty Board decides that your attendance or engagement has not been sufficient to satisfy the unit’s Intended Learning Outcomes, they may decide that you are unable to progress to the next year of study. If this is the case, you will be required to complete reassessment work to a satisfactory standard. This may include additional written work (to be completed during the summer) or a requirement to repeat part or all of the unit in a supplementary year.

How you will be assessed

The unit will be assessed through a combination of formative work undertaken throughout the unit and summative assessment at the end of the unit. The assessed ILOs are indicated in brackets.

Formative work:

  • Neuroanatomy spot questions
  • Tutorial tasks

Summative assessment:

Coursework (30%)

  • Figure legend writing task (10%)
  • Neuroanatomy Spot assessment (10%)
  • eBiolabs assessments (10%)

Exam (70%)


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. PHPH10012).

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.