Neuroscience BSc (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
    Undergraduate
  • Course type
    Full-time
  • Duration
    4 years including integrated placement
  • Course options
    Integrated placement
  • UCAS code(s)
    B140
  • School

Entry requirements for 2019

  • A Level (2019 entry)
    ABB-BBB (must include Biology OR Chemistry)
  • BTEC
    Considered with the relevant A Level subjects, please see below for further details
  • International Baccalaureate diploma
    32 – 31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 must include Biology OR Chemistry)
  • GCSEs
    Five GCSEs all at grade C/4 and must include Mathematics and English Language
More information

Key Dates

Access to state-of-the-art neuroscience laboratory equipped with research-grade brain slice recording systems

Unlock your understanding of the brain and nervous system, from the microscopic to the whole organism

Enhance your CV and gain experience with the integrated placement year

Aston University was ranked 2nd in the UK for career earnings added value (The Economist, 2017)

Course Summary

Gain an understanding of the brain and nervous system at multiple scales from the microscopic to the whole organism in both health and disease and start your career in one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of the Life and Medical Sciences. 

 

Entry requirements & fees for 2019

4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: B140

Admissions Review Process: All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with lower predicted grades if the application is of a high standard which includes a strong personal statement and academic reference. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated below. If you have already achieved your A level grades you may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme - this means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course may be reduced. Whilst we normally look for evidence of recent study (which we define as the past 3 years), we also welcome applications from mature students who have achieved grades up to 10 years old, which will be considered on a case by case scenario. You will be required to make a full UCAS application which lists your education and work history up to the time of application along with sufficient references. Find out more about our admissions policy.

Fees for 2019 entry: UK / EU students £9,250 per year (£1,250 during placement year) and international students £18,500 per year (£2,500 during placement year), read more on fees and funding

Typical offers

GCSEs:

Five GCSEs which must include Maths and English Language all at grade C/4. Please note we do not accept Key skills or Functional skills in place of these.

A Levels:

ABB - BBB in three A levels subjects which must include Biology or Chemistry

Excluded Subjects: We welcome the following subjects as an additional A level, but not as one of the core three A levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies.

A Level applicants who select this course as their Firm UCAS choice may be eligible for our lowered offer scheme. This means that the grades that you will need in order to be accepted on to the course will be reduced.

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits and only your latest grades will be accepted. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

BTEC:

We consider BTEC qualifications in any subject which are taken with the relevant A Level subjects as listed below.

BTEC Qualification Name

BTEC grades required A Level Requirements

Extended Diploma (QCF/National)

Distinction,
Distinction,
Distinction
(DDD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve a grade B in either Biology or Chemistry.

Diploma (QCF)National Diploma

Distinction, Distinction (DD)

With this BTEC you must also achieve a grade B in either Biology or Chemistry.

Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)

National Extended Certificate

Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A Level subjects of which one must be in either Biology or Chemistry.

90 Credit Diploma (QCF)

Distinction, Distinction (DD) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A Level subjects of which one must be in either Biology or Chemistry.

National Foundation Diploma

Distinction (D) With this BTEC you must also achieve grades BB in two A Level subjects of which one must be in either Biology or Chemistry.

Access to Higher Education

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

Subjects Accepted: Applied Science, Biology combined with Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Biosciences, Combined Sciences, Health Sciences, Health Sciences Professions, Life Sciences and Sciences

International Baccalaureate Diploma:

32 - 31 points overall and must include grades 6, 5, 5 – 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects which must include Biology or Chemistry. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Maths and English Language.

International qualifications: 

International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your future webpage.

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): 

We also welcome international students with equivalent qualifications to apply for our courses. For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme at Aston University.

International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.

Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University): 

For students with good A level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing the Foundation Programme in Science at Aston University.

Non-standard qualifications

Degree:

Year 1 entry: We consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a degree in a related field elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails at another recognised university. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 60% overall and 120 credits with no fails on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. It is also expected that you have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Alternative qualifications: The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

External Foundation Programmes from another University:

We consider external foundation programmes for entry into our year 1 programmes on a case-by-case basis. We will always require applicants to have met the following criteria prior to application:

  • 5 GCSE’s at grade C/4 or above including Maths and English.
  • CCC at A-Level

If you meet the above pre-requisite qualifications, we will be required to review the programme specification of your foundation programme. After we have reviewed the programme specification a decision will be made. Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme.

 

Course outline & modules

During this hands-on, practical focused course you will receive broad training in the understanding of the brain and nervous system at multiple scales from the microscopic to the whole organism in both health and disease. You will also spend time working on the most up to date equipment and techniques in neuroscience research.

Year 1

During your first year, you will gain a thorough and ‘hands-on’ grounding in the core principles and techniques used in neuroscience through a mixture of lecture and practical experience.

Modules include*:

  • Introduction to Cellular Neurophysiology: study the physiology of action potential generation and conduction in nerve and muscle cells, central and peripheral synaptic transmission, the concept of homeostasis, the structures of the brain and basic function, functional anatomy and physiology of spinal reflex arcs and neuronal pathways in the central nervous system.
  • Development and Human Anatomy: an introductory review of human anatomy in relation to function and introduction to histology and cellular pathology, which can be used as a basis for subsequent study of cellular pathology.
  • Research Methods and Statistics: learn about the different types of research methods used in psychological research and issues associated with them, a variety of descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistical tests and when it is appropriate to use them.
  • Key Skills in Neurosciences 1: basic mathematical, statistical and ethical concepts in neuroscience including developing proficiency in searching the literature, the ability to critically analyse research and present arguments in both oral and written formats. 
  • Biochemistry for Neuroscience: familiarity with the aspects of biochemistry that are most relevant to a study of neuroscience.
  • Abnormal Psychology: introduction to the concept of psychopathology and an overview of the different models of abnormal behaviour to provide an outline of the aetiology and treatment of a number of key psychological disorders.
  • Cell Biology: basic introduction to cellular components and processes involved in the birth, life and death of cells, including the identity, nature and properties of important cellular organelles and how these organelles function in the physiology and replication of cells. A range of biological analytical techniques used for elucidating cellular structure and function are described and the role of abnormal cellular function in pathology is highlighted.   
  • Inheritance and Population Genetics: examines modes of inheritance of 'the gene' as described in molecular biology and the relationship between inheritance and human disease is addressed, to give an appreciation of congenital disorders and their prevalence within different populations.        
  • Psychology of Attention and Perception: introduction to the field of cognitive psychology and familiarisation with the information-processing approach to the study of attention and perception.
  • Neuroscience Practicals: perform laboratory experiments in receptor pharmacology, molecular biology and electrophysiology, using state-of-the-art equipment in our dedicated Neuroscience laboratory. Practical classes run every week across the two main teaching periods and the year group is split to allow for small-group instruction and maximise interaction with teaching staff. Example experiments include: ‘Inducing epilepsy in the mammalian brain slice preparation’ and ‘Investigating the molecular basis of memory’. You will also learn how psychophysical measurements can be taken and interpreted using the Biopac system, how to design and program experiments using Superlab and have an opportunity to undertake neuroimaging experiment and/or analysis in our fMRI suite.

Year 2

Your second year will involve building upon the knowledge that you gained in your first year. You will study in greater depth the foundations of Neuroscience from both research and theoretical perspectives.

Modules include*:

  • Brain and Behaviour: covers the neural basis of more specific functions: low-level visual perception, emotions and higher order cognitive function.
  • Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience Research Methods: learn about modern neuroscience research including such as research methods with children and special populations, neuropsychology, eye tracking, neurostimulation techniques, electrophysiology / neurophysiology and magnetic resonance based techniques.
  • Systems Neuropharmacology: covers the fundamentals of synaptic transmission in the CNS and biological basis of drug actions in the CNS, including drugs of abuse and common prescription drugs. As well as the biological basis of common neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, the pharmacotherapeutic approaches to neurological disease and drug interactions in CNS disease.
  • Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience: understanding of neuroscience and neurodevelopment from a cellular perspective, giving insight into how cortical structure develops and how synaptic and cytoarchitectural features are subject to change during development. Covers a broad working knowledge of the cellular elements of the brain, with special reference to inhibitory interneurones, local circuits, pyramidal and stellate cells, dendrites, synapses, presynaptic function and biophysical aspects including ion channel function, membrane properties and compartmentalisation. 
  • Advanced Statistics: develops proficiency in statistical analysis for a variety of research designs. 
  • Key Skills in Neurosciences 2: development of professional, intellectual and transferable skills used in the field of neuroscience such as key research skills from the theoretical conception of the project, through stimulus design and implementation, through to analysis and interpretation of results.

Placement year

The placement year is an opportunity for you to set your undergraduate studies in context by taking a neuroscience placement in the UK or abroad. Discover more in the next tab.

Final year

During the final year of the course you will expand and specify your knowledge through a series of core and optional modules of your choice, and through the completion of an original piece of neuroscience research as a final year project.

Core modules*:

  • Advanced topics in Cellular Neuroscience: cover topics such as how to analyse neuronal network dynamics reflect brain function in health and disease, appraise advanced aspects of pharmacodynamics and critically evaluate new research techniques such as optogenetics and new philosophical approaches e.g. "causal neuroscience".

  • Final Year Project: choosing between cognitive neuroscience and cellular research, you will receive individual project supervision to undertake a project of mutual interest between you and your supervisor.

Optional modules could include:

  • Advanced Synaptic Plasticity
  • Molecular Basis of Pain
  • Advanced Molecular Pharmacology
  • Neural Oscillations and Synchrony
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Abnormal Neural Networks and Epilepsy
  • Brain Imaging
  • Mind and Brain
  • Social Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychiatric Disorders
  • Music and the Brain.
  • Psychosis
  • Basics of Joint Attention.

Please note that not all modules are available every year and some may be subject to change. 

*Details provided are intended to give an overview of the proposed aims and content in modules, they are not a complete exhaustive and definitive description of module content. 

Placement year

The year involves a professional work placement between the second and final years of the degree.  This offers you the opportunity to gain valuable experience, set your studies in the context of a real working environment and boost your future employment prospects.

Find out more about placements years at Aston. 

Learning, teaching & assessment

As a student on this course you will take part in our tutorial system, where you will be supported in small groups with an assigned personal tutor to discuss concepts learned with the modules, cover key skills and deliver pastoral care. You will also encounter a variety of learning opportunities, such as:

  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Interactive workshops and tutorials
  • Group work
  • Self-study courses.

Throughout the course you will be continuously assessed using a wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes such as:

  • Examinations (unseen essay, short answer or multiple choice questions)
  • Essays
  • Practical reports (group or individual)
  • Presentations
  • Laboratory reports 
  • Project work
  • Computer based assessment
  • Peer assessments.
Career prospects

On successful graduation you will have a wide array of work opportunities in both the public and private sector, having the skills to support basic and applied research in the life and medical sciences and the analytical skills desired by organisations and companies worldwide. The job market is growing and neuroscientists are being increasingly engaged by health and government services to influence and inform policy decisions and advise on their impact on the human condition.

Roles open to you would include:

  • Academia (research and teaching)
  • Clinical sciences
  • Biotechnology and contract research
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Neuropsychology and psychiatry
  • Regulatory affairs, policy and research administration
  • Science communication, museum work and public engagement.

This course is also highly suitable for progressing on to postgraduate study.

Discover more about the exciting careers in neuroscience from the British Neuroscience Association.

Facilities

You will have access to neuroscience, psychology, biology and pharmacology laboratories, we have also recently invested in a number of student Biopac systems for measuring human physiology and EEG.

Our state-of-the-art neuroscience laboratory is equipped with research-grade brain slice recording systems and a range of other high-level equipment. We emphasise practical skills from the start of the course and students will leave with a wide range of skills in neuroscience research that both increase employability and offer a chance to ‘learn by doing’.

You will gain experience of organ-bath receptor pharmacology, and recording of single neuron and population activity in a variety of preparations, from microscopic organisms to man. During your final year project, you will have a choice between psychological/ cognitive and cellular work, based in the laboratories of Principal Investigators in the School and using state-of-the-art equipment.  

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Staff

Course Director: Professor Gavin Woodhall

Prof Woodhall is Professor of Neuropharmacology and has a PhD in Neuroscience from Southampton University. Prior to coming to Aston University has worked at the University of Bristol and the University of Montreal, Canada. Prof Woodhall has specific research interests in:

  • The role of presynaptic metabotropic glutamate and NMDA receptors in epilepsy in the entorhinal cortex
  • The role of cannabinoids in the entorhinal cortex
  • The role of primary motor cortex in epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Admissions Tutor: Dr Stuart Greenhill

Dr Greenhill is a Lecturer in Neuroscience and holds a PhD in Neuropharmacology from Bath University. He has previously worked at Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities and in industry. His research interests are:

  • The role of synaptic plasticity in normal brain function and disease states
  • The mechanisms of epileptic seizure development
  • The interaction between plasticity and sleep.

Meet the team:

You will be taught by staff from pharmacy, neuroscience & pharmacology and psychology teaching groups, including:

Departmental and research overview:

Our neuroscientists undertake cross-disciplinary health research and are based in the School of Life & Health Sciences. The exceptional quality of research in the School of Life and Health Sciences (LHS) has been confirmed in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) results – with research in Allied Health Professions and Studies ranked 5th out of 97 UK higher education institutions. 94% of our research was rated as being internationally excellent or world leading.

Our Molecular Biomedical and Applied Neuroscience research groups contain staff with a wide variety of interests relating to the study of the brain. Most of our neuroscience staff are affiliated with The Aston Brain Centre: an integrative research environment for the study of neurodevelopment in health and disease. It brings together the MEG, MRI and clinical services. 

Contact us

School of Life & Health Sciences undergraduate admissions
ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk+44(0)121 204 3302

Discover more:

Please note that this course has not yet had a graduating cohort so hasn't produced National Student Survey data, the unistats data shown below are for a different course within the school.

What made you decide to study Neuroscience at Aston?

The modules within the course itself cover so many different areas of neuroscience. It allows you not only to expand your knowledge, but also discover your particular passion – for me the module Abnormal Psychology solidified my interest in the relationship between mental illness and cognitive processes including memory and reasoning.

How is the quality of teaching and student support enhancing your time at Aston?

The help and support I have received from my lecturers has been great, they are never more than an email away and often use the resource ‘Blackboard’ to set up online forums. The neuroscience course is relatively small in size so our lecturers often know us fairly well – enough to know when we are missing. This gives the lectures an overall more personal feel, and I think I definitely benefit from such an environment as you can easily ask questions.

Register your interest