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Neuroscience with Professional Training Year (MNeuro)

Entry year


Using a combination of biological and psychological approaches, our research-led Neuroscience degree explores the mysteries of the human brain.

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Course overview

Our integrated master’s degree in Neuroscience is aimed at aspiring researchers and those seeking a career in science. This five-year undergraduate course enables you to explore the current frontiers of knowledge in your 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 cells, and how it works remains one of the most intriguing of all scientific questions. Can the brain understand the brain? Can the brain understand the mind? Is the brain a giant computer or something more? 

On our Neuroscience programme, you will explore 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.  

As part of this course you will spend your third year on placement at an academic, clinical or industrial research laboratory, or other approved establishment. This offers a great opportunity to gain first-hand professional research experience, and it has been shown to greatly enhance your subsequent employment prospects. 

Many placements are in the UK, but in recent years we have had an increasing number of students taking up placements in international locations, including Southeast Asia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Australia, Madagascar, and the USA. 

This course provides an excellent foundation for future careers, and offers strong training for research scientists Our graduates have gone on to a range of exciting and fulfilling careers in both scientific and non-scientific related fields, including medical and scientific research, healthcare, scientific publishing, biological and pharmaceutical industries, toxicology, teaching and science journalism. Many also choose to progress their studies further with a higher degree.

Distinctive features

Our Neuroscience degree is 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 University's Neuroscience & Mental Health Research Institute, allowing access to a wide range of exciting training opportunities. 

Your final year will include an extended project in an active research laboratory. This project will be novel and the results may even be complete enough to be published in a scientific journal. You will be trained and supported by researchers, helping you to develop your skills as a practical research scientist. 

You may also be interested in the following degree programmes: 

 

UCAS code4K5G
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration5 years
ModeFull time with sandwich year
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 70 places available.

Entry requirements

AAA - AAB to include A in Biology or Chemistry. A pass in the practical element of the Science A level (where applicable) is required. Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDD in the RQF Extended Diploma in Applied Science, with D in all of the Core/Mandatory Units. Accepted BTEC for study: RQF Extended  Diploma in Applied Science and BTEC Extended Diploma in Animal Management.

IB Diploma with an overall score of 34-32 including grade 6 in Higher Level Biology or Chemistry OR IB Diploma with 655 at Higher Level including 6 in Biology or Chemistry.  

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Biosciences admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

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 (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit
£20,950None

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.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

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.

Course specific equipment

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.

Accommodation

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

Course structure

This MNeuro course with Professional Training Year is full-time over five academic years. Year one is made up of six 20-credit modules, with three 40-credit modules taught in year two. Your third year is spent on professional placement and in your fourth year you will study three 30 credit modules, along with a 30 credit Advanced Research Techniques module which emcompasses 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.

The third year is spent on a work placement related to your degree. During this placement you will undertake all aspects of research, including experimental design, data acquisition and analysis and data presentation.

Alongside three subject-specific modules, the fourth 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 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

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.

 

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.

Year three: Sandwich year

The Professional Training Year (PTY) is spent on placement in a professional setting. The PTY provides an opportunity for you to spend a period of 9-12 months in an academic, clinical or industrial/commercial research laboratory, or other approved establishment, in order to gain first-hand research experience.

You will undertake different aspects of research, including experimental design, data acquisition and analysis and, finally, data presentation with the production of a project report and presentation.

Our Professional Training Year Coordinators will support you in finding a suitable position that is relevant to your career aspirations, and a tutor will keep in touch with you and visit you during your placement.

Many placements are in the UK, but we have also had several placements in other locations, particularly in Europe through the EU ‘ERASMUS’ scheme in which Cardiff is a partner, but also including Southeast Asia, South Africa, Germany, Italy and the USA.

Finding a placement is a competitive process and success cannot be guaranteed. However, we have been successful in placing the vast majority of our Professional Training Year students.

A placement report, written by you, will count towards your final degree assessment.

Year four

The fourth year 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 fourth 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 five

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.

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.

Learning and assessment

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?

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, or from your Personal Tutor. Throughout the course, we will provide detailed feedback on all assessed coursework. This is normally provided online through the ‘Grademark’ 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 additional 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).   

During the Professional Training Year you will produce a placement report, which will count towards your final degree assessment.

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

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Our integrated master’s degree in Neuroscience forms an excellent basis for a future career in scientific research. It also gives you the opportunity to develop science-specific and more general transferable skills which will be attractive to a wide range of employers in both scientific and non-scientific fields. 

Our Neuroscience graduates have gone on to enjoy a range of exciting and fulfilling careers in a variety of different sectors, including medical and scientific research, biological and pharmaceutical industries, healthcare, toxicology, medical or scientific publishing, and science journalism, amongst many others. A Neuroscience qualification can also act as a stepping stone to further training in professional areas including teaching, medicine, dentistry, nursing, veterinary science and accounting. 

In 2016/17, 93% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating. Experience has shown that students who have completed a Professional Training Year are particularly well-placed to obtain degree-related employment at the end of their studies.

Placements

This course includes a Professional Training Year (PTY) which gives you the opportunity to spend a period of 9-12 months in an academic, clinical or industrial research laboratory, or other approved establishment, in order to gain first-hand research experience.

Many placements are in the UK, but we have also had several placements in other locations, particularly in Europe through the EU ‘ERASMUS’ scheme in which Cardiff is a partner, but also including Southeast Asia, South Africa, Germany, Italy and the USA.

Finding a placement is a competitive process and success cannot be guaranteed. The process will primarily be driven by you since most placements depend on application and selection by the partner company or organisation. However, we provide advice and support, as well as organising the ERASMUS scheme, and to date we have been successful in placing the vast majority of our PTY students.

Should a placement not be available, or should you change your mind, you can switch from the five-year degree with PTY to the four year integrated Master’s MNeuro degree.

Fieldwork

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 choice, 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 variety 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.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

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