You will be introduced to a range of topics that will begin to develop your key skills and understanding of neuroscience, equipping you with a broad knowledge across the biomedical sciences. Topics will include essential anatomy & physiology of human systems, biochemistry of the cell, microbiology, pharmacology, and neuroscience. This is delivered in a structured and facilitated way to support your learning.
You’ll also develop the fundamental practical laboratory skills and techniques that will underpin the rest of your studies. These essential academic and professional skills will help you progress successfully through the course and into further study or employment.
There is the opportunity in year 1 to take optional modules to tailor your neuroscience degree programme to the areas you’re most interested in, across the biosciences and beyond.
At the end of year 1, our flexible degree structure may offer you the opportunity to transfer onto other suitable, related degree courses.
Human systems and health – An introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the main human body systems and how we maintain health. This module will discuss topics such as the cardiovascular and respiratory and neuromuscular systems. The module will include students working in teams to apply their knowledge to create solutions to problem-based case studies.
The basis of life – An understanding of the molecular basis of human life. This module will discuss molecular processes and cell structures, and their critical role in determining how humans function and survive. It will explore the biochemical basis of key physiological functions, for example, in muscles and how these change during physical activity.
Introductory concepts in biomedical sciences – To build a core knowledge of the biomedical sciences, key topics and concepts are covered including neuroscience & pharmacology. These will include the development and functioning of the nervous system and an understanding of key concepts in pharmacology, for example, how medicines work to overcome disease.
Practical research skills in neuroscience – You’ll develop fundamental practical laboratory and associated skills. This module will cover the introductory laboratory and scientific skills that are essential for experimental design, execution and reporting of practical work in neuroscience. Students will be equipped with a range of scientific research skills that will underpin their work in subsequent years.
Academic and professional skills addressing global challenges – Whilst focussing on addressing key challenges within Biomedical Sciences, students will develop essential academic and personal skills. Students will work as a team to research and create neuroscience solutions to a national or global challenge or problem. They will develop and apply important skills including critical thinking, creative problem-solving, team-working and communication skills.
You will gain a more detailed exposure to the systems, processes and functions of the body. Core and optional modules will build upon and apply your knowledge from the molecular neuroscience level up to the whole brain. In year 2, there is more choice in the topics you can choose within modules.
Modules are taught in an integrated way that brings together normal structure and function with changes in disease and treatment. Advanced neuroscience concept units include aspects of neurobiology, neuropharmacology and molecular neuroscience.
In year 2 the modules are taught in a way that balances facilitated and independent learning. You’ll have a range of optional modules to select from, including human diseases, bioinformatics, or chemotherapy, and develop your understanding of research methods and experimental skills. You will further develop your personal and professional skills including critical thinking, creative problem solving, team-working, and critical reasoning skills.
At the end of Year 2 you will have the opportunity to complete an industrial work placement, study abroad, or combined study and work abroad. This will add an additional year of study to your degree.
Advanced neuroscience concept units I – Students can build subject specialist knowledge by focusing on units they are most interested in studying further. This module builds on Year 1 and prepares students for Specialist Topic units in Year 3. Units may include advanced concepts in cellular and molecular neuroscience, or the central neural control of physiological processes and function
Advanced neuroscience concept units II – This module builds on first year and prepares students for Specialist Topic units in Year 3. Units may include the neuropharmacological basis of disease, or regenerative medicine.
Practical research skills in neuroscience – Students will have the opportunity to develop more complex practical skills to address research questions. In this moduel, students will participate in practical activities and mini-projects, using key experimental approaches and methods used in neuroscience. They will develop key research skills including experimental design, and appropriate statistical and mathematical methods or approaches for analysing biomedical data and information.
Academic and professional skills addressing global challenges – With a focus on addressing key complex global challenges related to UN sustainability goals (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) | Sustainability (leeds.ac.uk) students will build their skills in knowledge application, methods of analysis and presentation of scientific data or information to different audiences. Students will work as a team to research and create neuroscience solutions to a global grand challenge or UN SDG. In this and other activities, students will develop and practice key academic and professional skills including the critical analysis of research papers and other sources of information, verbal, written and graphical communication, team-working, planning and organisation, and negotiation.
The focal point for year 3 is an independent capstone research project that students will carry out under the supervision of a field-leading academic. Here they will be able to select from a wide range of project types, enabling them to focus on a subject of specific interest, developing the skills required for a future career.
Examples of previous projects are:
Can endogenous neural stem cells be manipulated for therapeutic benefit?
Insulin resistance in the dorsal vagal complex of the brain.
Neurogenetics: risk factors, animal models or potential new treatments.
Application of neurophysiological control ideas to automation and rehab-robotics.
Commercial growth of a company through scientific communication.
Students can also choose other specialist modules such as neurodegeneration, autism, stem cells and many more.
Specialised topics in neuroscience I – Students have the opportunity to build their knowledge of research in specific topic areas led by active researchers in the field of study. It will introduce students to a range of research topics in the field of neuroscience, and the broader biomedical sciences, and develop their ability to collate, critically analyse, and describe scientific information. Topics covered will reflect current research interests of the School, and may include autism or Alzheimer’s disease.
Specialised topics in neuroscience II – Students have a further chance to build their knowledge of research specific topic areas led by active researchers in the field of study. It will introduce students to a range of research topics in the field of neuroscience and the broader biomedical sciences and develop their ability to collate, critically analyse, and describe scientific information. Topics covered will reflect current research interests of the School, and may include, for example, neuroplasticity or neuronal ion channels in health and disease.
Advanced skills – Students will attend a series of compulsory and optional units designed to provide scaffolding and support for their Capstone research experience. They will develop and utilise the research, employability and 4th Industrial Revolution skills required both for study and the workplace. Students select the units which develop the key skills and attributes required for their individual capstone project and/or future employment.
Capstone research project – Students will design and undertake, either individually or as part of a team, an extended enquiry-based project in an area or topic relevant to neuroscience. This project could be one of many formats including scientific research, public engagement, grand challenges report or the development of educational resources. Students will apply knowledge and skills gained in earlier years of their programme, acquire new knowledge and understanding, and develop new research and employability skills. On completion, they will communicate the outcomes or outputs of their project in different ways to a variety of audiences. Students may choose the capstone project or format of interest to them, whilst being mentored by one of the world leading academics in that field of study.
Our integrated Masters MBiol programme
shares the same year 1 and 2 studying with our BSc programme, providing a broad foundation knowledge and skills. In year 3, the theory and skills modules are the same as for the BSc programme. However, the capstone research project is replaced by a critical review project and experimental proposal and plan, linked to and to prepare you for your extended research project in year 4.
Your extended research project or appropriate work-based practice (a project taken in the work place), will focus on an original, cutting-edge research topic specific to your area of interest. This will equip you with the skills necessary for a career in research, in addition to ensuring you stand out in the job market. These projects are linked to research programmes of academics in our School, thereby allowing students to actively contribute to current research outcomes and discoveries.
Examples of previous research projects include:
Microglial conditioned media as a model of neuro-inflammation.
Co-administration of two compounds modulates neurogenesis within the spinal cord.
Inhibition in the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb and its modification by learning.
Advanced research topics – Students will focus on developing their research skills to support the laboratory or other research or enquiry-based activities undertaken in their extended research project. The module aims to develop student’s critical analysis of published research and to prepare them for a career in a research environment. It will also expose students to current research trends in neuroscience, and to leading researchers in the field.
Extended research project – Students will choose an independent project of interest. They will be mentored by one of the world leading academics in their field and will conduct an individual extended research or enquiry-based project. This will also incorporate experience of working as part of a team in a research environment and interacting with research scientists.
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
You will experience a wide range of blended educational approaches and methods designed to enhance learning for all students. You will be involved in active learning approaches including creative problem solving, team-working and mini-projects. You will be provided with short, pre-recorded screencasts to introduce key topics, enabling you to listen again and have flexible access to the resources, supported within the virtual learning environment. This will be combined with in person hands on practical classes, in person facilitated active learning sessions and small group workshops to develop and apply your knowledge and skills.
There will be plenty of opportunities to work with fellow students in team-work problem solving exercises with input and feedback from academic staff. Your first and second year will focus on building your skills, understanding and knowledge. This will be initially fully facilitated, moving to a more independent approach across the first two years, in preparation for your final year where both the research project and topics, will see you take on independent research and learning, with the guidance and mentoring of leading experts.
A typical week in your first year may include nine to twelve hours of a combination of in person and online study, three to six hours of practical sessions in the laboratory, regular personal tutorial sessions, plus private study.
Across all years, you will be required to undertake private study. You will also have regular meetings with a personal tutor who is there to advise and support you academically.
As independent study and research are also crucial to the course, we have excellent library and computing facilities to support your learning, and the University Library offers comprehensive training.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
We use a variety of assessment methods to help you develop a broad range of skills. These include practical work, data handling and problem-solving exercises, multiple-choice tests, group work, online and face-to-face discussion groups, computer-based simulations, essays, posters and oral presentations.