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Unit information: Introduction to Neuroscience in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 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




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


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 brains. 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.

A further aim of the unit will be to complement first-year neurophysiology teaching (Understanding Body Function A and B)

Intended learning outcomes

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

1.1 Introduction to the cell biology of the neuron

1.2. Gross organisation of the nervous system - brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, cerebral spinal fluid

1.3. Ascending sensory pathways

1.4. Special senses

1.5. Descending motor pathways

1.6. Development of the nervous system

1.7. Selected discoveries in neuroscience

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

2.1. Figure legend writing

2.2. Effective listening and note taking

2.3. Problem solving

2.4. Basic IT skills

2.5. Handling prosected brain specimens

2.6. Practical skills

2.7. Group work

2.8. Time management

Teaching details

Lectures, large group tutorials, workshops and practical sessions including human anatomy practical session.

Assessment Details

The assessed ILOs are indicated in brackets


In class spot questions (1.2, 2.2, 2.5. 2.7)

Tutorial tasks (1.1-1.7, 2.3, 2.4, 2.7, 2.8)


Figure legend writing task (2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.8)

Spot assessment (1.2, 2.2, 2.5)

eBiolabs post lab quiz (1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5)

Unseen written examination comprising MCQ and EMQ (1.1-1.7, 2.2)

Reading and References

Neuroscience Exploring the Brain (4th Ed) M.F. Bear, B.W. Connors, M.A. Paradiso

Neuroanatomy, An illustrated colour text (5th Ed) A.R. Crossman, D Neary