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Unit information: Neurophysiology in 2020/21

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 Neurophysiology
Unit code PHPH20009
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Howarth
Open unit status Not open

PHPH10010 or PHPH10014



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


This unit focuses on the physiology of the mammalian peripheral and central nervous systems. The topics include principles of neurophysiology, motor control, somatic and special senses and higher mental functions. Associated practical classes examine human neuromuscular and sensory function.

The unit includes teaching and learning related to the development of concepts and skills connected to the physiology content of the course. This includes data handling and analysis, report writing, essay writing skills and comprehension of scientific literature.

The aims are:

• To provide systematic coverage of mammalian neurophysiology

• To provide a link between the first and third year of the Physiology programme in content

• To further develop transferable and scientific skills in preparation for the final year of the programme

These aims will be accomplished through lectures, class tutorials and independent work. In addition, a focus will be on gaining experimental skills through class practical sessions.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the this unit students should:

1. Have knowledge and understanding of the principles of neurophysiology (A3)

2. Be able to describe fundamental aspects of central nervous system function (A3)

3. Be able to give accounts of somatic and special senses and higher order nervous function (A3)

4. Synthesise, understand, manage and summarise information from a number of sources (B1, C4)

5. Understand and interpret experimental procedures (B2)

6. Analyse and interpret scientific data (B3)

7. Read and understand scientific literature (B4)

8. Communicate clearly in writing (C1)

9. Use IT facilities for data handling and presentation of written work (C3)

Teaching details

  • Lectures
  • Practical session
  • Class tutorials
  • Workshops
  • e-learning, including eBiolabs and online teaching materials

Assessment Details

Coursework 30%

  • Essay 10%
  • eBiolabs assessment 5%
  • Short practical report 10%
  • Comprehension of scientific literature 5%

Timed assessment (end of unit) 70%

Reading and References

Information provided in the unit will be drawn from several sources for any one topic. Individual lecturers will make recommendations of useful information sources, including textbooks, reports in scientific journals and web-based materials.

A selection of useful textbooks is provided below:

  • Berne and Levy Physiology (7th Edition). Koeppen & Stanton (2017)
  • Berne and Levy Principles of Physiology (4th Edition). Levy, Koeppen & Stanton (2006)
  • Neuroscience Exploring the Brain (4th Edition). Bear, Connors & Paradiso. (2020)

The complete resource list associated with the unit can accessed through the library resource lists and is provide on the unit blackboard area.