Neuroscience

BSc (Hons)

Learn from leading academics in the field of Neuroscience and start asking the big questions about our brains. 

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements
Duration

4 years

UCAS code(s)

B140

Start date

Course overview

Designed to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of Neuroscience, the Neuroscience BSc (Hons) enables you to explore the development and function of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system and ask important questions about what makes us think and feel, how our brains process information and what brain cells and synapses do.

As a neuroscientist, you will take an interdisciplinary approach, investigating the brain using many different approaches: from mathematics to molecular biology and from artificial intelligence to electrophysiology.

Why Neuroscience at Aston University?

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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded triple Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Excellent student experience
100% of our students felt that staff were good at explaining their course material (National Student Survey, 2023)
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High level on-site facilities
Students can access state-of-the-art neuroscience laboratory equipment, including research-grade brain slice recording systems
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Professional experience
Students complete an integrated placement year, designed to set your studies in a real-world context and boost your employability
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)
Nueroscience BSc student testimonial photo

"One of my favourite aspects of the course was gaining exposure to the lab, especially neuroimaging techniques, as I became immersed with using the EEG and visualising activity in different brain regions. I also got to visit the Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment on campus to learn more about the research my lecturers have been conducting in the MEG and gain an insight into something beyond the course."

Eshika Kaypee
Neuroscience BSc

Course description

BSc (Hons) Neuroscience

Our Neuroscience degree at Aston follows a hands-on approach, giving you access to high-tech laboratory equipment and enabling you to engage with techniques in basic and applied research. 

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you, fantastic facilities that will bring your course to life through hands-on, practical experience; years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. 

Throughout the course you have the opportunity to hear from leading neurologists in our guest lectures and understand how research conducted at Aston University into areas like Parkinson’s, autism, dyslexia, epilepsy and developmental cognitive neuroscience impacts the wider field of study.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understand that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, you must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
As a student in our Neuroscience BSc programme, you will 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. 

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Placement year
On our programme you will 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.

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Career prospects
Studying neuroscience opens up a huge range of opportunities for graduates in the UK and internationally, and with our industry links graduate can go on to work for reputable companies in areas such as: clinical neurophysiology, big data, artificial intelligence, medical writing and more.

How you will learn

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. It is also completely self-contained, with every module designed for and delivered to Neuroscientists only.

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

What you will learn

Our Neuroscience BSc will enable you to unlock your understanding of the brain and nervous system from the microscopic level to the whole organism. During the course, you will get the opportunity to learn neuropharmacology 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 and discover more about the major diseases and disorders of the nervous system. 

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

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

Placement year

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. 

Gain valuable career-boosting experience by setting your studies in the real-world context of a working environment alongside professionals. The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students.

Final Year

Learn about brain disorders and diseases, select from a number of fascinating optional modules, and conduct an independent research project.

Facilities

  • Dedicated neuroscience laboratories are fitted with research-grade electrophysiology, EEG, ECG & EMG, and molecular Neuroscience equipment and allow students to design experiments and collect data on their own muscles, hearts and brains to demonstrate how electrical communication works in different systems.
  • Analysis suite exclusively for Neuroscience students to analyse and critically evaluate data collected during laboratory classes.

Cutting-edge laboratory equipment:

  • Our research-grade in vitro electrophysiology setups and software allow students to record electrical activity from brain slices in real-time.  Example experiments include investigations of neuronal circuit function, uncovering the mechanisms of action of general anaesthetics and how memories are made through changes in synaptic strength.
  • Our receptor pharmacology equipment gives students the opportunity to investigate the actions and mechanisms of a variety of receptor systems and drugs in the nervous system.
  • Neurons express more of their genome than any other type of cell in the human body. Our molecular Neuroscience laboratories enable students to investigate techniques involved in the exploration of gene expression and neuronal function.  Students will develop skills with techniques such as Western blotting, protein extraction and quantification, PCR and qPCR.

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with the opportunities to realise your academic potential through a range of learning experiences.
  2. Encourages you, through a practical approach, to have a passion for Neuroscience and an enthusiasm for learning.
  3. To provide you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research of Aston academic staff.
  4. To develop your skills and abilities in research and enquiry, information literacy, personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding and empathy.
  5. To produce graduates who can bring qualities of critical judgement and reasoning to their chosen occupation and who are capable of applying and disseminating knowledge.
  6. To provide you with an intellectually rigorous and up-to-date education in neuroscience, including anatomical, pharmacological, physiological, molecular biological, developmental, behavioural and psychological based understandings of the structure and functions of the nervous system.
  7. To produce graduates who understand the linkage between different areas of neuroscience.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Neuroscience - A comprehensive introduction to the basic principles of anatomy, physiology, cellular and molecular neuroscience. Learn to analyse and interpret data with statistical tests and utilise specialist scientific computing packages. 30
Biochemistry and Cell Biology for Neuroscience - Explore proteins, signalling molecules, and key genetic factors in brain and nervous system function. Learn about major receptors, intercellular signaling, and their role in brain networks. 30
Neuroscience Practicals 1 - Dissect brains, conduct pharmacology experiments, and record EMG and ECG data, gaining hands-on insights into brain anatomy, drug effects, and physiological measurements. 30
Key Skills in Neuroscience 1 - Develops your transferable and personal skills crucial for success in various career paths post-graduation. It covers communication, critical thinking, and self-presentation, and reinforces core course topics.30
Total120

Year 1 outcomes 

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Explain and evaluate knowledge and hypotheses concerning cellular and systems biology as applied to neuroscience
  • Apply oral, written and group presentation skills for the purpose of scientific communication.
  • Apply practical laboratory skills including pragmatics of data collection and associated record keeping; begin to critically evaluate research design and data presentation, including basic formulations, descriptive statistics, and data visualisation.

Year 2 modules

In your second year, you will study the following core modules: 

Module TitleCredits
Whole Brain Neuroscience - This module will introduce a range of imaging and methodologies used in modern research in Neuroscience and the study of the relationship between brain and behaviour.
 
15
Systems Neuroscience - Brain structure and function are inseparable, and in this module, you will investigate how the special senses integrate input into the brain and, how brain output is mediated through control of movement.
 
15
Cellular Neuroscience - In this module, neurotransmitters, receptors, and ion channels will be discussed in relation to the pharmacological actions various drugs and toxins have at these targets to influence brain function.
 
30
Neuroscience Practicals 2 - Learn how to record neuronal activity using our in vitro electrophysiology setups, as well as record and analyse EEG data, conduct immunohistochemistry experiments and develop your molecular and cellular neuroscience skills.
 
30
Key Skills in Neurosciences 2 - Further develop the transferable skillset necessary to stand out in today’s graduate job market. Enhance your skills in CV writing, job application and interview skills, alongside scientific writing, and funding research.
 
30
Total120

Year 2 outcomes 

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Explain and evaluate knowledge and hypotheses concerning cellular and systems biology as applied to neuroscience
  • Apply oral, written and group presentation skills for the purpose of scientific communication.
  • Apply practical laboratory skills including pragmatics of data collection and associated record keeping; begin to critically evaluate research design and data presentation, including basic formulations, descriptive statistics, and data visualisation.

Year 3 modules

In your third year, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Placement year - Gain vital work experience in academia, industry or through our study abroad schemes to broaden your knowledge, develop your transferrable skills and really stand out in the post-graduate job market.
 
120
Total120

Year 3 outcomes 

On successful completion of the third year, you will be able to:

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

  • The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students.

Final year modules

In your final year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Brain Disorders and Disease - Using a variety of lectures, workshops and guest speakers from clinical backgrounds, this module provides an in-depth overview of what can happen to our brains during development and old age.45
Research Project - An opportunity to undertake an extended piece of research and present your findings to a scientifically engaged audience. We offer a wide range of project choices, supervised by experienced Neuroscience researchers.45
Total90

As well as choose two 15-credit optional modules:

Module TitleCredits
Advanced and Applied synaptic plasticity - We will learn how synaptic plasticity guides brain development, and how this can go wrong in disease states. Teaching is based around discussions of the latest literature in the field.15
Advanced Molecular Pharmacology - Using lectures and exploration of key papers, this module highlights current topics of interest in molecular neuropharmacology. The module concentrates on G protein-coupled receptors, dealing with their structures and how they signal.15
Abnormal Neuronal Networks - Using a combination of in-depth reading, group presentation of journal articles and directed discussion, this module explores how changes in neuronal connectivity and synaptic function underlie the development of epilepsy and schizophrenia.15
Hacking the Brain - In this module, various methods to enhance cognitive function will be discussed, including an array of pharmacological interventions, genetic manipulations, neural implants, and altered states of consciousness.15
Physiology and Pathophysiology of Movement - The students will discuss the physiology of muscle coordination to achieve movements. The module will provide insight into the pathophysiology of movement control after stroke and spinal cord injury.15
Computational Neuroscience - Learn from in-depth lectures and discussions, as well as hands-on coding workshops, the various approaches used to model the human brain in silico, from simple neurons to large-scale networks.15

Modelling repair and regeneration in the injured central nervous system - Through active reading, journal presentation and critical evaluation, you will investigate basic concepts of traumatic injury to the CNS; the research concept of modelling repair and regeneration following injury and future therapeutic interventions.

15
Feeding the brain - This module explores how society perceives the health benefits of food and certain diets for our brain health. You will critically appraise recent publications and discuss ethical issues in research.15
Total30

Final year outcomes 

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions and data concerning current research into neurological diseases and explain and evaluate current hypotheses about the development and treatment of brain disease
  • Critically evaluate, criticise and understand in depth the latest research and understanding in two chosen optional subject areas of neuroscience
  • Research, analyse and present data in the form of a formal scientific dissertation on a topic in neuroscience
  • Devise and sustain arguments and solve problems related to neuroscientific enquiry
  • Communicate ideas and information to others (lay and scientific)

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    - BBB in three A Level subjects, which must include at least one science from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.
    - BBC in three A Level subjects, which must include at least 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 at least 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, and 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.

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

BTEC Qualification Name    BTEC grades required    A-Level Requirements
 
Extended Diploma   
 

Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction*

OR

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction plus A Levels

This BTEC must be RQF – National in Applied Science D*D*D* (you do not require an additional A Level)

OR

This BTEC must be QCF in Applied Science DDD and you must also achieve grade B in either Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

OR

If you are studying a non-science subject in this BTEC which is QCF or RQF – National then you must achieve DDD and 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 DiplomaDistinction (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

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

Contextual offer: 28 points overall and must include grades 5, 4, 4 in Higher Level subjects which must include one subject from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics. You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language for contextual offer students.*

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.

Please note we do not accept Health and Social Care as it does not contain the amount of core science material required for subsequent undergraduate studies on this degree.

This qualification is not accepted for this course.

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

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Other

Degree

Year 1:

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:

We do not accept any transfers into year 2 of this programme.

Year 3/final year:

We do not accept any transfers into year 3 or final year of this programme.

View our Transfers Policy

Age of qualifications

Applicants must normally have achieved their eligible academic qualifications for entry onto this course within the last three years. Applicants presenting qualifications older than three years will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Admissions Lead.

External Foundation Programmes

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 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above including Maths and English
  • BBB in any three subjects OR
  • CCC in three subjects, which must include one science from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

Any conditional offers made will be based on meeting a specific grade in your foundation programme. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications.

 

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£20,700
During placement year:£2,500

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

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.

Assessment

Our Neuroscience curriculum utilises a range of different assessment types and the assessment strategy reflects the national educational requirements in the FHEQ including examinations (unseen essay, short answer or multiple choice questions), essays, practical reports (group or individual), presentations, laboratory reports, project work, computer-based assessment, and peer assessments.

Career prospects

Our Neuroscience BSc (Hons) programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

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 intelligence, 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
  • regulatory affairs, policy and research administration
  • science communication, museum work and public engagement
Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

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.

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 setups, to allow intracellular and extracellular recording of brain cells in vitro, as well as receptor pharmacology experiments.

What is studying in Birmingham like?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

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 career 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.

Register your interest

Unistats