BSc Neuroscience

Neurology header image

Entry requirements

A Level: ABB

IB: 32 points

This course is for you if you wish to study one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of the Life and Medical Sciences.

Access state of the art neuroimaging and neurophysiology suites for studying the brain and behaviour
Unlock your understanding of the brain and nervous system, from the microscopic to the whole organism
Placement year
Aston University was ranked 2nd in the UK for career earnings added value (The Economist, 2017)

Duration: 4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: B140

Number of places: 40

Please note:

  • All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on all previous and predicted qualifications, 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 predicted grades that are below the typical offer level if the application is of a high standard (however, initial offers will not be lower than stated below).
  • 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.
  • GCSE requirements: Five GCSEs at Grade C/4 or above including Grade C/4 in English Language and Mathematics.

  • All applicants receiving offers will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and Aston University.

  • Find out more about our admissions policy.

  • Application for second year entry will be considered by the programme director if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, successful applicants for second year entry will:

    • Have A level (or equivalent) qualifications similar to those required for first year entry
    • Have gained (or be expected to gain) 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Obtained (or be expected to obtain) an overall average of 60% or above on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
    • Have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere
    • Individual programmes may have additional requirements in addition to those stated above. These will be clarified upon application.
  • 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.

  • Take a look at our FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Typical offers:

ABB. Should include at least one A level in a science (either Biology or Chemistry). General studies accepted as a fourth subject. You must also pass at least one of your science practicals.

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 a maximum of one set of resits. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications. However, if you have had more than one attempt at improving your grades, your application will be considered on an individual basis and we reserve to make an amended (higher) offer, or not make an offer. 

32 points overall, to include 655 at HL, which must include either Biology or Chemistry at 6.
  • D*DD in BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma / National Extended Diploma in Applied Science (Forensic Science, Laboratory & Industrial Science or Medical Science) together with grade B in A level in Science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Psychology, Applied Science or Physics).
  • DD in BTEC Level 3 Diploma / National Diploma in Applied Science (Forensic Science, Laboratory & Industrial Science or Medical Science). With these qualifications we also require grades A and B in two A levels including one science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Psychology, Applied Science or Physics).

We welcome applications from students who have taken BTEC qualifications as a first option and who achieved five or more GCSEs (including Maths and English) at grade C or above. You must also meet the A level requirement listed above and successfully pass the science practical element of the A levels. 

We do not consider applications from students who are unsuccessful in obtaining the required number and/or standard of A levels for admission to our programmes and subsequently embark on a BTEC as a second option. Instead we would encourage you to resit your A levels (see our resit policy in the A levels section).

Access to Science considered on an individual basis.

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

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, although please note the progression requirements to our courses. 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 our Foundation Year Programme, although please note the progression requirements.

Other qualifications: If your qualification is not listed, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page. 

For 2018 entry:

  • UK / EU students: £9,250 per year (£1,250 during placement year)
  • International students: £17,550 per year (£2,500 during placement year)

Explore the costs involved in university and the financial support that may be available to you.

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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 through a series of core and optional modules delivered across three years of study and through a compulsory placement year.

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 will include:

  • Introduction to Cellular Neurophysiology: You will 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. Introduction to histology and cellular pathology, which can be used as a basis for subsequent study of cellular pathology.
  • Research Methods and Statistics: Teaches students about the different types of research methods used in psychological research and issues associated with them. Also covers students a variety of descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistical tests and when it is appropriate to use them.
  • Key Skills in Neurosciences 1: Covers basic mathematical, statistical and ethical concepts in neuroscience. Develops proficiency in searching the literature, the ability to critically analyse research and present arguments in both oral and written formats. Demonstrates the ability to work in teams. 
  • Biochemistry for Neuroscience:  The main aim of this module is to ensure that students are familiar with those aspects of biochemistry that are most relevant to a study of neuroscience. The applications of these will be explored in subsequent years in the course.
  • Abnormal Psychology: Provides an 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: Provides a basic introduction to cellular components and processes involved in the birth, life and death of cells. This will include the identity, nature and properties of important cellular organelles and how these organelles function in the physiology and replication of cells. In this module a range of biological analytical techniques used for elucidating cellular structure and function are described. Furthermore the role of abnormal cellular function in pathology is highlighted.   
  • Inheritance and Population Genetics: A classical genetics course which examines modes of inheritance of 'the gene' as described in Molecular Biology. 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: The module introduces students to the field of cognitive psychology and familiarises them with the information-processing approach to the study of attention and perception.
  • Neuroscience Practicals: Learn how psycho-physical measurements can be taken and interpreted using Biopac and how to design and program experiments using Superlab. To be able to write up experiments in a lab report.

Year 2

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

Modules will 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 research methods with children and special populations, neuropsychology, Eye tracking,  Neurostimulation techniques,  Electrophysiology/Neurophysiology, Magnetic resonance based techniques.
  • Systems Neuropharmacology: Fundamentals of synpatic transmission in the CNS. Biological basis of drug actions in the CNS, including drugs of abuse and common prescription drugs. Biological basis of common neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Pharmacotherapeutic approaches to neurological disease. Drug interactions in CNS disease.
  • Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience: To equip the student with understanding of neuroscience and neurodevelopment from a cellular perspective, giving insight into how cortical structure develops and how synaptic and cytorchitectural features are subject to change during development. Teaches 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: Focuses on development of professional, intellectual and transferable skills used in the field of neuroscience. Develops 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 below.

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: By the end of this module the student will be able to: 1. Analyse how neuronal network dynamics reflect brain function in health and disease 2. Appraise advanced aspects of pharmacodynamics. 3. Critically evaluate new research techniques such as optogenetics and new philosphical approaches e.g. "causal neuroscience".
  • Final Year Project (choice between cognitive neuroscience or cellular research): You will receive individual project supervision to undertake a project of mutual interest between you and your supervisor.
Choose two modules from:

And choose four from:

Please note that not all modules are available every year and some may be subject to change. Final year modules are based on staff expertise. 

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 and set your studies in the context of a working environment, alongside professional biologists. By obtaining relevant work experience you will also boost your future employment prospects.

Find out more about placement years in Life & Health Sciences.

You will encounter a variety of learning opportunities, including:

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

You will be continuously assessed throughout the course. A wide range of assessments linked to learning outcomes are used, including:

  • 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.
Neuroscience graduates 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 world-wide.

The job market is growing; 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.

As a neuroscience graduate you will have a wide array of work opportunities available to you such as:

  • 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 careers in neuroscience from the British Neuroscience Association.

As a BSc Neuroscience student you will have access to psychology, biology and pharmacology laboratories at Aston University as well as a dedicated neuroscience laboratory. For cognitive neuroscience projects we have recently invested in a number of student Biopac systems for measuring human physiology and EEG. We also have state-of-the-art eye tracking equipment. The neuroscience laboratory is equipped with multiple neuroscience recording set ups to allow intracellular and extracellular recording in vitro, as well as EEG and bio-potential recording in vivo.  You will gain experience of organ-bath receptor pharmacology, and recording of single neuron and population activity in a variety of preparations, from earthworms 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.  


 You will also benefit from:

  • Refurbished lecture theatres and seminar rooms with modern audio-visual equipment.
  • A large computer laboratory.
  • A virtual learning environment used general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.
  • Course texts and relevant journals are available from the library either electronically or in book form.
  • A newly refurbished and extended Aston University Library. The Library is open 7 days a week all year round, and at key times of the academic year, it is open 24 hours a day on 6 days a week.

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. The Clinical and Systems Neuroscience research group contains staff with a wide variety of interests relating to the study of the brain. Many 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. 

Admissions Tutor: 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.

Meet the team:

You will be taught by staff from pharmacy, biology and psychology teaching groups, including:

You may also be interested in the following Aston School of Life and Health Sciences courses:

Discover more in the following ways:

Please note that this course has not yet been running long enough to produce National Student Survey data, so the unistats data shown below are for a different course within the school.

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