Neuroscience BSc

By choosing Neuroscience at Aston University, Birmingham, you’ll study with leading academics to ask the big questions about our brains, and what happens to the nervous system when people have neurological, psychiatric or neurodevelopmental disorders.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Integrated placement year

Duration

4 years including integrated placement

UCAS code(s)

B140

Start date

Overview
Explore Neuroscience BSc at Aston

Hear from some of our current Neuroscience BSc student talking about their favourite aspects of the course.

Neuroscience Testimonial

Why should students choose this course?

Applying theoretical knowledge in a practical setting runs as the backbone of the course and tests our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The large practical component in this course is unrivalled and gives students valuable hands-on experience in neuroscience research which very few universities can offer, allowing us to learn masters level skills. Beyond this, the placement year gives us an insight into working within the field and allows us to test the waters before deciding what we want to do in the future.

Priya Ramesh

Neuroscience Testimonial

Why should students choose this course?

Applying theoretical knowledge in a practical setting runs as the backbone of the course and tests our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The large practical component in this course is unrivalled and gives students valuable hands-on experience in neuroscience research which very few universities can offer, allowing us to learn masters level skills. Beyond this, the placement year gives us an insight into working within the field and allows us to test the waters before deciding what we want to do in the future.

Priya Ramesh

Course outline and modules

Neuroscientists study the development and function of the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells throughout the body. They investigate what happens when people have disorders by focusing on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions.

This interdisciplinary science liaises closely with other disciplines such as mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology and medicine.

At Aston, our course follows a practical and hands-on approach, giving you access to the most up to date and high-tech equipment, enabling you to engage with the newest techniques in basic and applied research. It has been designed to provide you with the perfect first step towards a future career in one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of life and medical sciences.

What is studying Neuroscience at Aston really like?

Our course differs from many undergraduate neuroscience courses in the UK, with a key focus on acquiring practical skills - an advantage that will set you apart from the graduate crowd.

You’ll work closely with active neuroscience researchers working on ground-breaking projects and study a range of modules designed to give you a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating world of brain function.

During the course you will get the opportunity to:

  • Learn pharmacology through tissue bath experiments.
  • Perform EEG and EMG recordings and analyse the data with research-grade tools.
  • Undertake complex brain-slice recordings to discover how drugs work and how our brains are organised and function.
  • Explore how natural toxins and nerve agents are used in the research lab to discover how our brain cells talk to each other.
  • Discover more about the major diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
  • Hear from leading clinicians in our guest lectures.
  • Understand how research conducted at Aston University into areas like Parkinson’s, autism, dyslexia, epilepsy and developmental cognitive neuroscience is impacting the wider field of study.

Placement year

You’ll get to gain real world experience with our integrated placement year, designed to help you stand out in the graduate crowd.

You can choose to complete this exciting year in a variety of settings, from research laboratories to the pharmaceutical industry. Our dedicated Careers and Placement team will be on hand to support you throughout with CV surgeries, on-campus careers fairs and regular communication while you are away from campus. 

Modules

Year 1

Experience a thorough and ‘hands-on’ grounding in the core principles and techniques used in neuroscience through a mixture of lectures and practical experience:

  • Research Methods and Statistics
  • Psychology and the Brain
  • Neuroscience Practicals 1
  • Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Genetics for Neuroscience
  • Key Skills in Neurosciences 1
  • Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience
Year 2

Build upon the knowledge that you gained in your first year by studying the foundations of neuroscience in greater depth, along with a range of specialist subjects.

  • Pills and Poisons
  • Cognitive and behavioural Neuroscience Research Methods
  • Systems Neuroscience
  • Key Skills in Neurosciences 2
  • Receptors and Ion Channels
  • Neuroscience Practicals 2
Plcement Year

Gain valuable career boosting experience by setting your studies in a real-world context of a working environment alongside professionals.

Final Year 

Complete an original piece of neuroscience research, expand your knowledge through a series of core modules and focus in on areas of particular interest by selecting from a range of optional modules.

  • Brain Disorders and Disease
  • Research Project A/B

In addition you will select four from the following*:

  • Advanced and 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 and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Music and the Brain
  • Psychosis
  • Basics of Joint Attention

*Worth a total of 40 credits. Please note, the availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Entry Requirements

Typical offers:

  • A Level: BBB to BCC including one science from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics (depending on EPQ, Core Maths or Contextual offer)
  • BTEC: Welcomed with the relevant A Level subjects, please see below for further details
  • International Baccalaureate diploma: 31 Overall (HL 5, 5, 5 must include Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics)
  • 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
  • BBB in three A Level subjects, which must include one science from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.
  • BBC in three A Level subjects, which must include one science from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics plus B in an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths.
  • BCC in three A Level subjects which must include one science from: Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics for Contextual offer students.

 

The following subjects will not be considered as one of the core three A Levels - General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies.

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

Contextual offer applicants need to achieve a grade C 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, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

Diploma (QCF)National Diploma

Distinction, Distinction (DD)

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


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, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.


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, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

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, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

31 Overall, HL 5, 5, 5 which must include Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Maths and English Language.

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.

Foundation programmes

Foundation Programme in Science: Bioscience and Pharmacy (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: Bioscience and Pharmacy.

 

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.

International students

International Foundation Programme in Science (Aston University)

For international students without equivalent qualifications, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing an International Foundation Programme in Science. International applicants expected to gain foundation diplomas from other providers are welcomed and will be considered on a case by case basis.

International qualifications

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

Degree

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.

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.

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.

More advice on applying to Aston and full details of our admissions policy can be found here.

View our admissions policy.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Our practical-intensive course means that you get to understand high-level concepts early in your journey and pick up laboratory skills that put you in an excellent place to secure employment.

You will be taught by staff from neuroscience, pharmacy, pharmacology and psychology teaching groups, and encounter a variety of learning opportunities from lectures and practical sessions, to group work and self-study.

We also run regular small-group tutorials throughout the course. This helps to cement the key learning outcomes of our teaching and makes sure that you feel happy and supported.

Assessment

We use 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.

Key staff

Course Director: Professor Gavin Woodhall

Admissions Tutor: Dr Stuart Greenhill

What facilities will I get to use?

As an Aston neuroscience student, you will have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities including:

  • A newly refurbished dedicated neuroscience laboratory equipped with multiple neuroscience recording set ups, to allow intracellular and extracellular recording of brain cells in vitro, as well as receptor pharmacology experiments.
  • Access to psychology, biology and pharmacology laboratories.
  • BIOPAC systems for measuring human physiology and EEG for cognitive neuroscience projects.

 

Fees and Scholarships

UK/EU students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £18,900*

During placement year: £2,500

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

You can explore the costs involved in studying at university and the financial support that may be available to you here.

*Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

Career prospects

Studying neuroscience opens up a huge range of opportunities for graduates in the UK and internationally. This includes clinical neurophysiology, applied research in academia and industry, as well as undertaking roles in big data and artificial inelegance, policy and funding, patent law, medical writing, and postgrad medicine.

Our industry links and placement opportunities will provide you with the skills, know-how and experience to be successful in:

  • 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.

 

Frequently asked questions

Why should I choose Aston to study Neuroscience?

At Aston we work with active neuroscience researchers who specialise in areas such as Parkinson’s, autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, processes underlying visual cognition, and developmental cognitive neuroscience. Our research feeds into our teaching, meaning you’ll be taught by experts in the field working on up-to-date studies.

Our mix of theoretical expertise and hands-on research work carried out in world-class facilities is perfect for setting you up for an exciting career in a wide range of enriching careers that make a difference.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding careers support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

 

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