Neuroscience (MNeuro)

Entry year

2018/19 2019/20

The Neuroscience degree is research-led and will prepare you for many aspects of the industry.

Our integrated Master’s in Neuroscience is aimed at aspiring researchers and those seeking a career in science. This four-year undergraduate course enables students to explore the current frontiers of knowledge in their chosen field and provides training in advanced research techniques.

Neuroscience is the study of nervous systems, their component nerve cells and the functioning of the brain. The human brain contains one hundred thousand million such cells and how it works remains as one of the most alluring and baffling of all questions on the frontiers of understanding. Can the brain understand the brain? Can the brain understand the mind? Is the brain a giant computer or something more?

This degree will explore the ways in which we can attempt to answer these questions, using approaches that range from the biochemistry and biophysics of the nerve cell to a psychologist’s investigation of the machinery of the mind. The recent growth of this subject is due to the important contribution neuroscience is making to the understanding and treatment of mental and other neurological disorders.

Although you may join the School on the BSc Neuroscience programme, your degree title remains flexible up until Year 3.  You can choose to stcik with your original degree registration, or switch to another of our bioscience courses.  You can also choose to graduate with one of our 'exit' degrees, which include BSc Biomedical Sciences (Physiology) and BSc Biological Sciences (Genetics).

Your final degree title will depend on module selection in years two and three, and your Personal Tutor will guide you through the options available to you.  You may also have the option of switching to the four year MNeuro integrated Master's degree (subject to academic progress and space availability).

This course will enable you to increase your scientific understanding, as well as developing both your academic skills (critical appraisal, evaluation and analysis of data) and practical, presentation and written skills.  Ultimately, we aim to produce graduates who are employable, well-informed, versatile and enthusiastic ambassadors for science.

The knowledge and skills that you develop during your Neuroscience degree will make you employable in a broad range of scientific careers including research, healthcare, publishing and teaching. The skills acquired on the course are also an excellent grounding for many other career paths outside of science. Alternatively you may wish to further your studies with a higher degree.

Distinctive features

Our degrees are closely linked to the research interests of our staff, allowing you to experience the excitement of learning in an active research environment. We attract substantial external research funding and this will enable you to make use of the latest equipment, techniques and facilities in your project work. The School also leads the Neuroscience & Mental Health Research Institute, one of the University’s flagship Institutes, allowing access to a wide range of exciting training opportunities.

This programme offers a high degree of flexibility, giving you the freedom to shape your academic experience.  You can choose to specialise in a particular area or to maintain a wide breadth of learning and explore the interdisciplinary research that underpins much of the School's success.

“One of the benefits of being a student at Cardiff School of Biosciences is having  access to very high-quality, research-driven teaching. All of the lecturers that we have here are researchers right at the edge of their fields, working on really frontier stuff. It’s really interesting and really captures your imagination.” Robert Maddison – Undergraduate student

Key facts

UCAS Code37JL
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 70 places available.
Contact

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerAAA including Biology or Chemistry with (where applicable) a pass in the practical element of the A level. Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted. 
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer36 points with 766 to include 7 in Biology or Chemistry at Higher Level.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Biosciences admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE Maths or Numeracy at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

This MNeuro course is full-time over four academic years (five including the Professional Training Year option). Year one is made up of six 20-credit modules, with three 40-credit modules taught in year two. In your third year you will study three 30-credit modules, along with a 30-credit Advanced Research Techniques module which encompasses advanced bioinformatics training and an integrated practical project.  Your final year is made up of two 20-credit modules and a research project which carries 80 credits.

Year one modules involve lectures and supporting tutorials providing background theoretical knowledge as well as practical classes. Our various degree schemes share a common year one, which covers all aspects of the biosciences and has the big advantage of giving you flexibility of degree choice. Classes provide students with IT skills for biologists and an understanding of statistical analysis of data, and coursework is used to develop written and oral communication skills.

In year two, extensive laboratory practicals help to develop practical skills and the ability to critically evaluate experimental data. Set assignments and reading are used to promote self-directed learning and the analysis of primary research literature.

Alongside three subject-specific modules, the third year provides training in advanced research techniques and bioinformatics, ensuring that you are fully prepared for the extended research project in your final year.

Final year taught modules focus on further developing advanced research techniques, literature searching and analysis skills, discussion and group-based critical appraisal of work, as well as planning of experimental work. The research project module will be a fully-immersive experience within a research laboratory over a 6-month period.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.

Year one

The first year is a common year, covering all aspects of the biosciences.

This reflects the increasingly multi-disciplinary nature of bioscience research, and has the added advantage of offering you flexibility of degree choice.

The modern, modular syllabus is delivered through lectures, tutorials, presentations, and practical classes carried out in spacious, well-equipped laboratories. It provides a firm foundation in all the biological disciplines, including biological chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, evolution, anatomy and physiology, animal and plant biology, and ecology, as well as focusing on developing practical and academic scientific skills. Modules may begin by overlapping with A-level studies, but will soon progress to greater depth and scope.

 

Module titleModule codeCredits
Skills for ScienceBI100120 credits
Structure and Function of Living OrganismsBI100220 credits
Organisms and EnvironmentBI100320 credits
The Dynamic CellBI100420 credits
Biological ChemistryBI101420 credits
Genetics and EvolutionBI105120 credits

Year two

The second year allows for more specialisation, and builds on the knowledge and practical skills gained in the first year. There is a focus on data analysis and scientific communication, as well as advanced laboratory and field techniques. Understanding of experimental design, literature review, statistical analysis and critical analysis skills will act as a foundation for further study.

In year two you will have a choice of modules that include ‘Fundamental Neuroscience’ and ‘Brain and Behaviour’, which will introduce you to topics such as membrane biophysics, anatomy of the human brain, psychological analysis, practical neuro-physiology, cellular signalling and neuroendocrinology.

Alongside these two required modules, you will select an additional 40-credit module from a choice of ten.

During year two, you can also opt to switch to the five-year degree with a Professional Training Year, which is taken after the second year, subject to an appropriate training place being identified.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Animal Diversity and AdaptationBI213140 credits
Genetics and its ApplicationsBI213240 credits
Ecology and Conservation - Part ABI213330 credits
Ecology and Conservation - Part BBI213410 credits
Cell BiologyBI223140 credits
BiochemistryBI223240 credits
Developmental and Stem Cell BiologyBI223340 credits
Molecular Biology of the GeneBI223440 credits
PhysiologyBI233140 credits
Concepts of DiseaseBI233240 credits
Practical AnatomyBI233340 credits
Brain and BehaviourBI243140 credits
Fundamental NeuroscienceBI243240 credits

Year three

Our third year curriculum enables you to specialise in more detail within one of the major research themes of the School. This approach immerses you in the research culture of the biosciences, by means of research-driven teaching and a project that allows you to investigate a topic in much greater depth.

Application of core knowledge to the solving of problems and critical evaluation of models, ideas and current debates is a core focus of the third year. This stage of the course will involve an extensive degree of self-directed study in order to develop skills in independent work and lifelong learning, which will help to prepare you for the professional environment.

Modules will cover current research on the biology of nervous system disorders, sensory processing and perception, neuronal development and plasticity. You will complete three 30-credit modules as well as a module in Advanced Research Techniques, which encompasses bioinformatics training and integrated practical project..

Year four

The final year of the Master’s course consists of an extended project conducted in an active research laboratory, together with further training in advanced research techniques and a 'Frontiers in Bioscience' module. Your individual research project will be novel and the results may even be complete enough to be published in a scientific journal, contribute to a publication or trigger a whole new avenue of subsequent research. You will be trained and supported in carrying out your project by researchers, helping you to develop your skills as a practical research scientist. The high degree of subject specialisation and knowledge gained during this year will contribute to making you highly employable in both research and commercial bioscience sectors.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Advanced Research ProjectBI400180 credits
Advanced Research MethodsBI400220 credits
Frontiers in BiosciencesBI400320 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

We provide a student-centred educational experience based on academic excellence and informed by world-leading research.  We seek to support every learner in an inclusive learning culture.

Core knowledge and understanding is acquired via lectures, practical classes, research seminars, workshops and tutorials. Advanced knowledge and understanding is acquired by independent study, group work and project work.

You will be expected to undertake independent study and increasing independence of learning is expected as the course progresses.

Selected elements of the course may be available through the medium of Welsh and you can also request a Welsh-speaking Personal Tutor for pastoral and academic support.

Students with disabilities are fully supported in co-ordination with the University's Disability and Dyslexia Support Service.

 

How will I be supported?

All of our academic staff are experienced researchers in their respective fields and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise with students.

The primary interaction with academic staff will be during lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops or small-group teaching sessions (tutorials). You will also be allocated a Personal Tutor who will provide pastoral support and academic advice throughout the course.

Lecturing staff are contactable in association with teaching sessions or by email, and operate either an ‘open door’ policy for students who have specific queries about course material, or a system of booking meeting times. Each degree scheme also has a degree scheme co-ordinator who can advise on academic issues, and each year of study has a year co-ordinator who can advise on administrative issues related to the course of study. There is also a convenient Education Office with a friendly and experienced team who can answer most administrative queries.

Feedback

Feedback on your study, work, and progress will take many forms, from formal written comments on your submitted work to more informal conversations and advice during classes and practicals. Throughout the course, we will provide detailed feedback on all assessed coursework. This is normally provided through a dedicated online system, allowing you to conveniently access your feedback via a computer or tablet device. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your academic and personal development progress with your Personal Tutor, and to discuss examination essay papers in order to improve your performance. During practical work and the research project, you will receive regular feedback from the supervising academic.

How will I be assessed?

First and second year modules are normally assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations. All modules include coursework assessments, which may take the form of written practical reports, structured reports, class tests, structured answer tests, group work, poster and oral presentations and computing/statistical problem-solving exercises.  Assessments may be summative and count towards the final module mark, or formative, helping you to learn and practice key skills and knowledge through feedback.  End-of-module exams comprise a machine-marked structured answer section (assessing breadth of knowledge) and a written answer section (assessing depth of knowledge in specific topics).   

In the third year, taught modules are assessed by examination and extended analytical coursework. The Advanced Research Techniques module will be assessed via a written report as well as a poster presentation and an assessment in bioinformatics.

Final year modules are assessed by coursework only. The research project will be assessed by a supervisor’s evaluation, a written report and presentation.

What skills will I practise and develop?

Throughout the course, you will develop scientific competencies as well as key transferable skills that will be invaluable whatever your future career choice. These include:

  • independent learning and self-directed study;
  • collating, organising and analysing information to create logical and persuasive arguments;
  • analytical thinking and problem solving;
  • communicating complex ideas in a clear, effective way (using all media);
  • working effectively in a team and as an individual;
  • IT competency, including presentation, graphics and statistics packages;
  • performing and interpreting statistical analyses of data;
  • effective time management and organisational skills.

As a result of engaging fully with this course, you should be able to:

  • critically analyse, synthesise and summarise information from a variety of sources;
  • discuss the relationships between structure/formation and function/regulation of molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organisms and populations;
  • effectively communicate scientific, and other, information to a variety of audiences, including the general public, using a range of formats and approaches;
  • discuss current issues of research, investigation and/or debate;
  • synthesise an argument or point of view, based on solid data and evidence;
  • determine the validity and rigour of statistical outcomes;
  • build on knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of intellectual property (IP) within a research environment;
  • work effectively within a group-based environment, both as a leader and a member of a team;
  • demonstrate the skills necessary for independent lifelong learning (for example working independently, time management, organisational, enterprise and knowledge transfer skills);
  • identify, and work towards, targets for personal, academic, professional and career development;
  • demonstrate leadership and planning skills for setting, and meeting, achievable goals within the workplace.

In 2015/16, 92% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating. 

Our Master’s degree is aimed at aspiring researchers or those seeking a career in science, and the competencies developed throughout the course are ideally suited to pursuing high level careers in research-related fields (e.g. studying for a PhD or working in industry).

Our graduates also have many transferable skills that are attractive to a wide range of employers in more general areas of industry, commerce, public service, administration and management. Finally, a degree in Neuroscience can act as a stepping stone to further training in professional areas including teaching, medicine, dentistry, nursing, veterinary science or accounting.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£19,950None

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

All field courses which take place abroad incur an additional cost – primarily to cover student travel and accommodation. We strive to keep these to a minimum, for example we maintain our own Field Station and staff in Borneo, whose costs are not recovered from charges to students. We also offer some excellent Wales-based field courses which do not incur additional costs.

No additional charges are made for other aspects of tuition, although some services (such as student printing on demand) may incur a charge.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

No specific equipment is required. The University will provide IT facilities (in a communal space), laboratories equipped with specialist equipment, and all specialist software required for the course.

Students are advised to bring a laptop computer or equivalent.

Accomodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

This course does not include any formal work placements. However, we strongly encourage you to undertake informal work placements during the summer vacations in order to enhance employability.

Direct experience of plants and animals in their natural habitats is an important part of modern biology, and, at Cardiff, we run an impressive range of field courses to give you essential hands-on experience of modern techniques and practical skills in field biology.

Depending on module choices, availability and timetabling constraints, Neuroscience students may have the option of taking one of our field courses.

In the second year, students on the Ecology and Conservation module can choose from several specialised, project-based courses that run in a variery of locations throughout the world.  Our field courses typically include Tropical Ecology (Borneo, Malaysia) Marine Ecology (Caribbean and Malaysia), Island Ecology (Wales), River Ecology (Wales) and Woodland Ecology (Wales).

Field courses can on occasion be affected by travel constraints, staff availability or numbers.

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