Integrative Neuroscience

We offer an exceptional research environment with world class facilities for all areas of neuroscience.

Applications for 2017 entry to this programme are now closed.

Our four-year programme provides a broader and more in-depth practical and theoretical grounding in neuroscience than conventional three-year programmes.

Early in year one you will receive formal lectures in research design, statistics, lab safety, animal welfare and ethical standards, and attend a series of specialised lecture courses in behavioural, cellular, molecular, genetic and system neuroscience.

In the second part of year one, you will experience three 11-week laboratory rotations in internationally renowned labs. During the lab rotations, you will carry out research, gain knowledge of the questions addressed by the lab, and acquire direct experience of the relevant techniques.

Lab rotations help you to reach an informed choice of the neuroscience area and supervisor you will choose for your full PhD project during years two to four. Throughout all the years you and your colleagues will participate in weekly seminars and presentations at journal clubs.

The programme is designed to ensure an excellent PhD experience and an outstanding future.

Please note that we are aiming to improve this course by changing the structure of the programme to a 1-year MRes followed by a 3-year PhD. This is currently under a University approval process. We aim to have full programme information published by February. In the meantime if you have any queries, please see our contact details below.

Programme aims

To give students a varied experience in integrative neuroscience research techniques, ranging from the genetic, cellular, and behavioural, incorporating methods such as genetic sequencing and human imaging.

Distinctive features

This programme is administered by the School of Medicine, but has ties to the School of Psychology and the School of Biosciences.

Students will benefit from:

  • generous stipend of over £19,919 per annum
  • tuition fees paid by the Wellcome Trust for EU and Home students
  • £40,000 over four years for research consumables
  • £1,500 for travel
  • £1,700 for training

Applications for the four-year PhD programme, supported by the Wellcome Trust, for October 2017 intake are now closed. This programme is administered by the School of Medicine, but has ties to the School of Psychology and the School of Biosciences.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time
Qualification PhD
Full-time duration PhD 4 years
Start dates October
Application deadline(s) Applications for 2017 entry to this programme are now closed.

Please note that we are aiming to improve this course by changing the structure of the programme to a 1-year MRes followed by a 3-year PhD. This is currently under a University approval process. We aim to have full programme information published by February. In the meantime if you have any queries, please see our contact details below.

Year one

Modules

The lecture modules in the first 16 weeks (up to the first laboratory rotation) cover the areas of Neuropsychiatry, Vision and Action, Developmental Psychopathology in Childhood Adolescence, Molecular Neuroscience, Neuroscience of Learning and Memory. These issue-focussed modules are complemented by the skills-based training modules in Research, Design and Statistics and Research Techniques in Bioscience.

The latter modules include substantial applied and practical components. All modules have explicit learning outcomes including Knowledge and Understanding, Discipline Specific and Transferable Skills. Once laboratory rotations start (week 18), the lecture component is scaled down so that students will only attend one additional issue-based module. For the third laboratory rotation (week 40), there are no concurrent taught modules, the extra time helping the student with the critical decision concerning their research programme for years two to four.

These issue-focussed modules are complemented by the skills-based training modules in Research, Design and Statistics and Research Techniques in Bioscience.

The latter modules include substantial applied and practical components. All modules have explicit learning outcomes including Knowledge and Understanding, Discipline Specific and Transferable Skills. Once laboratory rotations start (week 18), the lecture component is scaled down so that students will only attend one additional issue-based module. For the third laboratory rotation (week 40), there are no concurrent taught modules, the extra time helping the student with the critical decision concerning their research programme for years two to four.

Module assessment

Lectures given in the area of Neuropsychiatry will be assessed in the form of compulsory essays. The research techniques in Biosciences lectures given on a Monday morning will require preparation for the Friday morning tutorials. Students will undergo regular tests as part of the Postgraduate Research Design and Statistics PST001 module.

Additional courses

In addition to these time-tabled lectures, students will receive formal training on a number of essential topics (e.g., health and safety procedures in the various suites of laboratories, COSHH).

All students will also complete an accredited Home Office training course (which is put on several times a year by Cardiff University). This two-day course is followed by a formal examination, and is an essential pre-requisite for a Personal Licence.

Laboratory rotations

The parallel laboratory rotations start in week ten (late November) and all three rotations follow the same structure. Prior to starting, in week six, the student decides on the rotations they will take. A final set of first and second preferences will be provided by the end of week seven. The Programme Director and Deputy will then confirm the allocation of laboratory placements, ensuring a suitable balance for each student and ensuring proportionate supervisory loads across supervisors.

To aid the students’ selection, potential supervisors will help compile a handbook with suggested mini-projects at the start of each academic year.

The student will work on a mini-project for a nine week period, then the student will have two weeks to complete two tasks:

  1. To submit a succinct report on the mini-project - this report will be a maximum of 2,500 words and will be in the style of a Journal of Neuroscience paper (e.g., Introduction a maximum of 400 words, Discussion no more than 1200 words). These reports will be read and assessed (with feedback) by the rotation supervisor and a second, independent assessor from a different school.
  2. To give a brief PowerPoint presentation on the study (10 mins, followed by a discussion). The session of five presentations (one from each PhD student) will be attended by the Directors of Postgraduate research, the other PhD students, and the rotation supervisors.

The student will then receive formal feedback on the report and the presentation by his or her supervisory team. Presentations will be graded as either ‘Accept', 'Minor revision', 'Major revision' or 'Reject', and feedback provided on each aspect of the presentation. The three rotations provide invaluable first-hand experience of research techniques, a taster for specific research issues, and provide a method of assessment of progress.

The completion of the rotations and their associated reports and presentations take the student to a crucial two week period. During this time the student and potential supervisor (s) will decide, by mutual agreement, on a suitable research project for a PhD. The students and supervisors will be encouraged throughout to engage in a project that combines multiple approaches. Note: the supervisors for year two to four need not come from the mini-projects (laboratory rotation), although this may sometimes occur.

Years two to four

During the first week of year two, the student, the Programme Director and Deputy and the prospective supervisors will agree on a research plan and the principal supervisor. The principal supervisor will determine the ‘Home School’ of the student for years two to four. Prior to that, the home schools for all students will be the School of Biosciences (home school of the programme director and personal tutor of the students) to foster a sense of identity and to provide a strong, peer-support network.

Student welfare and progress

On enrolment you will be assigned a Personal Tutor, Director of the four-year PhD programme, who will follow you throughout the four years of the course providing both academic advice and overseeing your general welfare. You will also be assigned the Schools of Biosciences as your ‘Home Department’. In years two to four the student ‘Home Department’ will be that of your project supervisor.

Your progress will be monitored by a dedicated committee that will include the Programme Director, the Programme Deputy Director, The Director of Postgraduate Studies of the chosen School and the Personal Tutor. You will be part of a larger neuroscience community of academic researchers, postdocs and other neuroscience PhD students. Career advice will be provided at the start of year four to ensure proper progress to a suitable postdoc employment.

The breadth and depth of our expertise ranges from the phenotypic analysis of single gene mutations to the characterisation of gene-environment interplay in psychiatric and neurological, and from imaging intracellular calcium in single dendritic spines to combined EEG and fMRI during attentional tasks in humans.

Our neuroscience researchers are among the international leaders in their respective fields. The 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology was awarded to Professor Sir Martin Evans of the School of Biosciences for his pioneering work on stem cells. Research labs are equipped with the most up-to-date facilities to address key questions of basic and clinical Neuroscience. All neuroscientists have substantial financial support that has been won in peer-reviewed competitions.

PhD students have a great opportunity to join neuroscience research that is of the highest international standard and is likely to result in publication in top neuroscience journals.

A range of potential prospects such as continuing research in an academic environment, research within the pharmaceutical or industrial private sector.

Funding

The Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI) and the Wellcome Trust are offering five fully funded PhD scholarships to students of this programme.

Studentships will include:

  • Generous stipend of over £19,919 per annum
  • Tuition fees paid by the Wellcome Trust for EU and Home students
  • £40,000 over 4 years for research consumables
  • £1,500 for travel
  • £1,700 for training.
Name Deadline
KESS PhD in Physics and Psychology: Computational physics and brain modelling 1 September 2017
PhD in Integrative Neuroscience 6 January 2017
PhD in work space use, wellbeing, productivity and happiness 14 February 2017

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

All applications must include the following supporting documents:

  • A personal statement in support of your application telling us your reasons for wanting to study Integrative Neuroscience as a 4-year PhD programme and why you think you're suitable. This combined should be no more than 3,000 characters (including spaces).
  • Two referee letters of support. Important: it is the applicant's responsibility that two referee support letters are provided with applications.
  • A CV detailing education and relevant work experience.

Research proposal

A research proposal is not required for this PhD scheme (please enter 'N/A' in the Research Proposal section).

First or Upper Second Class in a relevant area (eg. neuroscience, psychology, anatomy, physiology, natural sciences). As this is a training doctorate, previous research experience is not essential.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

Contacts

Administrative contact(s)

Cleaver, Julie

Academic contact(s)

Professor John Aggleton

Professor John Aggleton

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Email:
aggleton@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0)29 2087 4563
An image of Professor Frank Sengpiel

Professor Frank Sengpiel

Head of Neuroscience Division, Professor of Neuroscience

Email:
sengpielf@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0) 29 2087 5698
Anthony Isles

Dr Anthony Isles

Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Email:
islesar1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8467

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Master's Excellence Scholarships

Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2017.

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