School of Psychology
Faculty of Science and Technology
University of Central Lancashire
BSc (Hons) Neuroscience
Course Handbook 2009/2010
Course Leader: Dr. Nikola Bridges Darwin 220
Please take care not to lose this handbook, it will guide you
through your three years at the University and supply you with
all the relevant information you need to know about the course
We Aim to -
Start and end all classes on time
Give you one week’s notice of changes to your classes
Give you feedback on assessed work within 15 working days
Give you clear, legible and informative feedback on your work
Be available for timed appointments
Treat you with respect at all times
Support you in your preparation for the workplace
We expect you to be committed to -
Preparing for classes and attending punctually
Completing your work to the best of your ability and submitting it on time
Not committing plagiarism
Keeping up to date with course information through UCLan email and other
Using the feedback you are given to improve subsequent work
Making appropriate use of teaching staff’s time
Taking responsibility for your Personal Development Planning and skills
Treating staff, fellow students and neighbours in the local community with
respect at all times
These aims and expectations are to enable you to get the best out of your time
Welcome to the School of Psychology 4
Scope of this Handbook 4
How and When to use this Course Handbook 5
What the Course Handbook does not tell you 5
Staff contacts 7
The Role of the Personal Tutor 10
Who to approach for advice 11
Main teaching methods 12
Have I Passed? Assessment Board Decisions 13
Special Educational Needs and Disability 13
Personal Development Planning 13
Student feedback and opinion 14
Notice boards 14
INTRODUCTION TO NEUROSCIENCE 15
Neuroscience Aims and Learning Outcomes 17
Types of Assessment – Examinations 17
Types of Assessment – Coursework 18
Learning Outcomes and how they relate to Assessment 19
YEAR 1 modules 22
YEAR 2 modules 23
YEAR 3 modules 25
SPECIFIC REGULATIONS FOR PROGRESSION &
Welcome to the School of Psychology
We would like to offer you a warm welcome to the School of Psychology. We hope
that you will enjoy studying at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), and that
you will find your course both interesting and rewarding.
The School of Psychology is in the Faculty of Science and Technology. It is a large
School, with over 50 academic staff, plus administrative and technical staff and
research students. We are based in Darwin Building, which was purpose-built for
Psychology and so has plenty of specialist resources, which students are
encouraged to use.
Scope of this Handbook
This Course Handbook outlines rules and regulations about course structure,
progression, and awards for the Single Honours Neuroscience programme. For each
Level or Year, you will find the following information:
1. A list of the modules available at that Level.
2. Rules about choices of modules from that list.
3. Rules about progression from Year 1 (Level 4) to Year 2 (Level 5), and Year 2 to
Year 3 (Level 6). The rules tell you which modules you need to take and pass to
continue your studies.
4. Progression choices at the end of each year.
5. At the end is a section detailing the specific regulations for the award.
How and when to use this Course Handbook
The University operates a Modular Credit Accumulation & Transfer Scheme
(MODCATS). One of the main purposes of this handbook is to give you sufficient
information to be able to follow the rules and regulations for the Neuroscience
programme. It contains advice and some (although not exhaustive) coverage of the
general regulations of MODCATS. (Full Academic Regulations are published on the
University website.) You should aim for a good knowledge of the contents of this
Course Handbook and consult it at the following times:
START OF YEAR 1: Look through the whole handbook
to give you an idea of what is available. Read carefully
through to the end of the information on Year 1.
MID YEAR 1: In Semester 2 during Progression time you
will be asked to register for the modules you intend to take in
Year 2. Read the section on
progression rules and Year 2.
START OF YEAR 2: Read the
Year 2 information again.
MID YEAR 2: In Semester 2 during
Progression time you will be asked
to register for the modules you wish to
take in Year 3. Read the section on
progression rules and Year 3. You will
also be given up-to-date information on what modules are
START OF YEAR 3: Read the Year 3 information again.
Check your registration, taking account of any fails you may
have to ensure that you have the necessary prerequisites for
your choices, and that your profile of modules fulfils the
requirements of your target award.
You can see which modules you are registered for by looking at myUCLan on the
What this Course Handbook does not tell you
All students are subject to the general regulations of the University. Most of the
important ones and the ones most likely to be relevant to you have been included.
Nevertheless, please note that there could be aspects of the general regulations not
included here that are or become relevant to you. It is your responsibility to acquaint
yourself with general regulations contained in the central documentation if they
become relevant (e.g. if you fail modules).
The Psychology Assessment and Policy Handbook gives much more information
on assessment. You are given a copy of this at the start of the course. Make sure
you read it and keep it for future reference. An electronic copy is available on our
Level 4, 5, 6 The depth of coverage of material. Essentially, Levels 1-3 represent the
level of teaching associated with Years 1-3 of a full-time honours
degree. Usually, students will take modules at a particular level in a
particular year, although in some cases students might take Level 5
modules in Year 3 or vice versa.
Stage 1 Year 1 or Level 4. Marks do not contribute to the degree, but you must
pass the year. ‘Stage 1 complete’ means you have passed all the
modules and can proceed to Stage 2.
Stage 2 Year 2 and Year 3, or Levels 5 and 6. Marks from both years contribute
to the final award, with Level 5 and 6 modules weighted 2:3 (typically
giving a greater weighting to your Year 3 performance).
Module A unit of study with its own title, learning outcomes and assessment
schedule, for which one grade is awarded at the end. Students take 6
modules a year (i.e. 6 at Stage 1 and 12 at Stage 2). However, the term
"module" is used to refer to separate units of study and also to their
value. Some modules are half modules (10 credits), others are double
modules (40 credits). The six module requirement refers to the total
value. Over the three years, this will be a mix of half, single and double
modules. Much of this handbook is about explaining which six modules
(120 credits) you need to do each year!
Prerequisite A module you need to have passed in order to take a particular module
e.g., all the Level 5 Psychology modules have Level 4 prerequisites.
Semester The academic year is split into two semesters. Semester 1 starts in
September with induction week. Examinations (if any) are held at the
end of the semester. Semester 2 starts in January. Examinations are
held at the end of the semester. Almost all Level 5 and Level 6
Psychology and Biology modules, except for BL2201 and the final year
project, run for one semester. Most of the Level 4 modules run across
both semesters, and are referred to as 'year long’, with examination at
the end of Semester 2. Semester dates and examination weeks are
included on the University Academic Calendar, which is on the web.
Head of School: Chris Anderson (acting) Paul Pollard
Psychology Programmes Co-ordinator: tba
The Psychology Programmes Co-ordinator, can advise any student on their
programme of study, module choices, progression etc. However, if you want more
detailed information on one of the routes, please contact the Course Leader.
Student Experience Co-ordinator: Lynda Holyoak
Business Development Co-ordinator: Andy Morley
Personal Tutor: Member of staff responsible for academic advice and help.
Neuroscience students have Nikola Bridges as their personal
Course Leader: Member of staff responsible for a particular Single Honours
course. The course leader for Neuroscience is Nikola Bridges
Year Tutor: Member of staff responsible for the operation of a particular
Year 1: Barry McCarthy
Year 2: Val Service
Year 3: Paul Seager
Year Tutors deal with all students irrespective of which course they are on. The Year
Tutor is your 'first point of call' for many queries. Please note that any requests for
extensions to coursework deadlines must be made to the relevant Year Tutor.
Neither the Module Leader nor whoever set the work can authorise extensions.
Special Needs Tutor
& Extenuating Circumstances: Noreen Caswell/ Debbie Pope
Careers Advice: Nikola Bridges (Neuro)
Amanda Heath (Psych)
Module Leader Member of staff responsible for a module. MLs are:
Module Code and Title Semester Module Email address
C = compulsory leader @uclan.ac.uk
O = optional
PS1000 Year VJ Willan vjwillan1
Introduction to Psychological
PS1200 Year Amanda ajheath
Psychobiology and Cognition Heath
BL1203 Year Chris cgssmith
Control of Human Life Smith
Systems: Introduction to
BL1204 Year Carole cerolph
Designs for Life: Intro. to Rolph
BL1206 Sem 1 Bob Lea rwlea
Developing Skills (C)
BL1207 Sem 2 Bob Lea rwlea
Further Developing Skills (C)
PS2400 Sem 2 Amanda ajheath
Cognitive Psychology (O) Heath
PS2500 Sem 2 Andy awickens
Physiological Psychology (C) Wickens
PS2700 Sem 1 VJ Willan vjwillan1
Methods in Psychology (C)
PS2850 Sem 2 Nikola njbridges
Techniques in Biopsychology Bridges
XS2203 Sem 1 Nikola njbridges
Physiology: Organisms and Bridges
their Environment (C)
BL2201 Year Leroy lashervington
Practical Skills for Life Shervingt
Sciences (O) on
BL2203 Sem 1 Carole cerolph
Molecular and Cellular Rolph
BL2210 Sem 2 Niall nmwoods
Cell Culture Approaches to Woods
Drug Testing and Toxicology
BL3204 Sem 1 Bob Lea rwlea
PS3980 Year See
Neuroscience project (C) project
PS3800 Sem 1 Nikola njbridges
Frontiers in Biopsychology Bridges
PS3301 Sem 2 Andy awickens
Clinical Neuropsychology (O) Wickens
PS3311 Sem 2 Noreen ncaswell1
Eating Behaviour and Caswell
PS3407 Sem 2 Paul pjtaylor
Control, Action and Sport (O) Taylor
PS3408 Sem 2 Chris cjatherton
Memory Disorders (O) Atherton
PS3501 Sem 1 Andy awickens
Drugs and Behaviour (O) Wickens
PS3506 Sem 2 Nikola njbridges
Biological Treatments in Bridges
PS3508 Sem 1 Mark Roy mproy
PS3509 Sem 1 Andrew achurchill
Motor Disorders and Churchill
PS3702 Summer/ Lynda lholyoak
Psychology Placement Sem 1 Holyoak
Administrative Staff: A team led by Julie Orritt operates from the School Office
in Darwin Building Room 120. The staff are friendly and
helpful. They will be able to advise you on many aspects
of how the School and the University operates.
Technical Staff: A team led by Kit Jordan operates from the Technicians’
Workshop on the third floor of Darwin Building Room 338.
Amongst other things, they are responsible for
maintaining the equipment and overseeing the laboratory
and computing facilities. So, for example, if you wanted to
book a lab room or borrow some equipment, you would
do this through one of the technicians. They are also
usually willing to offer technical help and advice.
The Role of the Personal Tutor
At the beginning of Year 1 you will be assigned to a Seminar Group. Each group has
a member of staff who helps run seminars and is the Personal Tutor to students in
the group. You should meet your Personal Tutor during Year 1 as follows:
Shortly after you arrive, there will be an introductory meeting. The main purpose of
this meeting is to check a number of things with you:
Are you aware of our commitments to you (as described on the card)?
Are you aware of the commitments we and the Student Union expect you to
Are you in possession of all the necessary documentation?
Are there any problems with your accommodation or financial arrangements?
Are you clear which modules you are registered for and that they are
Have you chosen an elective module?
Have you undertaken the key skills self-assessment test?
Are you planning any remedial action the test might have recommended?
Asking your tutor at the end of a seminar or emailing them are both good ways to
arrange one-to-one meetings. You should meet one-to-one during Year 1 as follows:
To discuss feedback and what you need to do in order to improve on:
each of your essays (marked by your Personal Tutor)
each of your laboratory reports (marked by a team of markers)
Early in Semester 2 to review your progress
At Progression (the middle of Semester 2) to discuss which modules you
intend to take in Year 2. However, you have the ultimate responsibility for
ensuring you are correctly registered for the right modules for your
Your Personal Tutor also has a pastoral role. So, if you have any personal difficulties
that you would like to tell someone about, feel free to approach your Personal Tutor.
(The relationship between Personal Tutor and Student is strictly confidential.)
However, Personal Tutors are not trained counsellors, and they may suggest that
you see somebody who is. You may prefer to discuss personal matters with
someone unconnected with your Course, in which case you should contact the
Foster ‘i’ or the University's Counselling Service.
We aim for you to keep the same Personal Tutor throughout your Course. However,
if you feel you do not get on with your Personal Tutor, you can ask the Psychology
Programmes Co-ordinator to reassign you.
Who to approach for advice
one of your classes: The person who taught that class.
a module: (e.g., request for a Module Handbook) The Module Leader (see pages
attendance or absence: The Student Experience Co-ordinator (Lynda Holyoak).
your Profile of Studies: Your Personal Tutor, or Course/ Subject Leader (see
Regulations and Procedures: Course Leader, Nikola Bridges or The Psychology
Programmes Co-ordinator, will see any student with urgent or particularly difficult
problems (e.g. those who have failed modules, those who wish to suspend their
studies, those who wish to change course or withdraw from the course).
for a Coursework Extension: The Year Tutor (see page 7).
to be put in a different lab or seminar group: The Year Tutor.
to change Personal Tutor: The Psychology Programmes Co-ordinator.
Complaints or Constructive Criticism: One of your Student Representatives, or a
member of staff (the Module Leader if it is about a particular module). Or you can
talk to the Year Tutor or Programmes Co-ordinator or Head of School (see page 7).
General or Personal Problems: Your Personal Tutor, or the ‘i’ in Foster, or the
University Counselling Service. If you have serious problems, you should talk to
someone as soon as possible. The Psychology Programmes Co-ordinator, or the
Student Experience Co-ordinator, Lynda Holyoak, will be happy to discuss your
Extenuating Circumstances (ECs): If you have serious personal problems that you
feel have had an impact on your performance then you may ask for these to be
taken into consideration. The ECs Officers, Noreen Caswell and Debbie Pope, or
staff in the Psychology Office can advise you on the procedure for submitting ECs,
though full details are given on the University website. ECs should be submitted
electronically with corroborative evidence as soon as possible. Deadlines for
submission will be strictly enforced.
Main teaching methods
The Lecture is the most formal teaching method and serves primarily to define the
syllabus. It should not be regarded as providing all you need to know, but
rather as giving you a framework of information, which you develop through
private study. Be prepared to write your own notes to go with each lecture.
These should supplement any lecture outlines available on the module eLearn
Practical or ‘lab’ classes are a very important part of the course. They are intended
to train you in the principles and methods of empirical enquiry, and in the
conventions of report writing. Guidelines on report writing are in the
Assessment and policy Handbook, and on the eLearn lab website.
Seminars are aimed at helping you to develop the skills of communication (verbal
and written), criticism, and problem solving through encouraging you to
discuss various topics and issues. Generally, seminars place more demand
on you from year to year.
SPSS Workshops are usually held in one of the computer rooms so you get practice
at using the statistics package, while the tutor talks you through it.
Workshops are usually aimed at giving you some practical demonstration of key
Student attendance at timetabled learning activities is required, and will be monitored
e.g. through attendance registers, where you have to sign your name or use your
Corporate Card to electronically log attendance. If you are unable to attend for any
reason, you should inform staff in the School Office, who will notify the Student
Experience Co-ordinator (who monitors attendance). If you know you are going to be
absent, you must apply for authorisation for leave of absence from the Student
Experience Co-ordinator. If you are absent due to illness for seven days or more, a
medical certificate must be produced. A medical certificate/ letter will not be required
for shorter absences, unless one is requested e.g. by the Student Experience Co-
ordinator or Year Tutor.
Unauthorised absence is not acceptable. We will contact you about absence and
failure to submit coursework and expect you to respond promptly. If you do not
respond to email and other communications from the University by the date specified
in the communication, then you will be deemed to have withdrawn from your course
and the date of withdrawal will be recorded as the last day of attendance.
Examinations are held in examination weeks (see the Academic Calendar on the
web). It is your responsibility to make sure you are available during examination
weeks. Examinations for Semester 1 modules are held at the end of Semester 1.
Examinations for Semester 2 and year-long modules are at the end of Semester 2,
and include reassessment of Semester 1 modules. Students who have such
reassessment should see the Programmes Co-ordinator, to discuss their workload.
Reassessment of Semester 2 and year-long modules and other outstanding modules
is in an examination week in August. Examination timetables are published on the
web a few weeks before the exam’ period.
Have I passed? Assessment Board decisions
Assessment Board decisions are displayed on notice boards at the end of June.
These will show whether you can Proceed, or whether you have further work that
needs to be done (defer or refer) or whether you have failed. If your recommendation
is anything other than Proceed, you should contact the Course-Leader for
Neuroscience or the Psychology Programme Co-ordinator immediately.
The University mails results and details of reassessment work to students’ home
addresses somewhat later (so please make sure your address is correct on See
Your Data). University Policy states that results will not be given out over the ‘phone.
Students may access their results for individual modules via the University on-line
See Your Data (SYD) software. If you cannot access the SYD database and do not
want to wait for the post, you should come into the University to consult the notice
board. Further details of assessment rules and procedures are in the Psychology
Assessment Handbook. Please note: the University regulation states that an appeal
against an Assessment Board decision must be made within seven days of the
results being displayed on the notice board so it is important you check your results.
Special Educational Needs and Disability
If you have a special educational need or disability that may affect your studies,
please make sure you contact the Psychology Special Needs Co-ordinator, Noreen
Caswell, Darwin Building Room 201, Tel. 01772 894457, email:
email@example.com. We will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate
your needs and to provide appropriate support for you to complete your study
successfully. Where necessary, you will be asked for evidence to help identify
appropriate adjustments. For example, you may have a special need of a kind where
you would like special consideration in relation to taking examinations. Even if this is
something straightforward like having severe arthritis in your writing hand and
needing extra examination time, you should contact the Special Needs Section of
Student Services well in advance (i.e. months, not days) of the dates of
examinations. Noreen Caswell will help with advice on this.
Personal Development Planning
Some of the learning outcomes of the Psychology Programmes are to do with
transferable or key skills. The University of Central Lancashire has fully embraced
Government recommendations that all programmes of Higher Education should
promote the development of these skills. For some years Psychology has been
encouraging students to build-up a portfolio documenting their development of these
skills along with any supporting evidence. Since 2004/5 this exercise has been
undertaken within a framework known as ‘Personal Development Planning’. The
Government characterises this as “a structured and supported process undertaken
by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement
and to plan for their personal, educational, and career development”.
Your PDP portfolio will not be formally assessed, though you may discuss it with
your Personal Tutor, and at the end of each year you will be required to submit a
review of how you have progressed in your personal development to Lynda Holyoak.
All students have access to the Neuroscience Careers webCT site which is found
under the main Psychology Careers webCT site (managed by Amanda Heath).
This gives links to many useful websites including the British Neuroscience
Association (www.bna.org.uk), and information about careers and further training.
Amanda Heath also organises the ‘What Next?’ programme. This is a series of talks
and workshops for Psychology students. The aim is to help you develop your
employability skills and inform your career choices. They usually happen in semester
2, are open to all students, and are advertised on posters around Darwin Building.
Any student may attend Staff-Student Research Seminars. These are talks by
invited speakers (staff or researchers here or at another university). The topic is
usually some aspect of the speaker’s own research e.g., a particular study or series
of experiments, written for a general psychology audience. They can be useful to
students in expanding their understanding of research issues. They are advertised
on posters around Darwin Building.
Student feedback and opinion
We place a high value on student opinion. At the end of each module you will be
asked to complete a Module Evaluation Questionnaire. Your responses to these will
help the module team to see what they are doing right and what (if any) changes
should be made. You will also be asked to complete University Student Satisfaction
Surveys. These too are very useful to us. However, if you do have any problems,
please do not wait for a questionnaire to tell us, as we may be able to do something
immediately to remedy the problem.
Each Course has student representatives, usually two per Year for the major
courses. Student reps attend the Staff-Student Liaison Committee meetings, which
are devoted to student matters, and the Psychology School Committee, which covers
all aspects of Psychology. There is a training programme for reps to help them
understand what the role involves and what is expected of them. Please be prepared
to respond to emails from your reps to let them know if you have any issues you wish
them to raise at the next SSLC.
The Student Liaison Officer for Psychology is Dawn Wiltshire who is in DB112 and
can be contacted via email: SLiaisonBNEPsych@uclan.ac.uk
There are various notice boards providing information about room changes etc. The
locations of relevant notice boards are as follows
Neuroscience - Darwin 3rd floor (opposite lift)
Year 1 Psychology – Darwin 1st floor (‘west-wing’ corridor)
Year 2 Psychology – Darwin 1st floor (‘west-wing corridor)
Year 3 Psychology – Darwin 1st floor (opposite office DB120)
Biological sciences – Maudland building
All of these notice boards will contain information relevant to your course/modules
etc. Please familiarise yourself with the location of these notice boards.
It is important you check these notice boards regularly!
Introduction to Neuroscience
Until very recently scientists in the field of neuroscience still identified themselves
exclusively as neurophysiologists, neurochemists, neuropharmacologists,
neuroanatomists or physiological psychologists - definitions which were tied to their
training or approach to studying the nervous systems. It is now common that the
questions asked and the methods applied extend beyond the boundaries of the
traditional subdisciplines. Conceptual and experimental problems are much less
frequently defined exclusively within one particular area, and the pursuit of answers
has carried many investigators across traditional disciplinary boundaries, so that
there is now a coherent discipline or field of Neuroscience which is defined by a
common interest in the workings of the nervous system.
The following quotation which is taken from a 1985 SERC report illustrates the
maturation and acceptance of neuroscience as a coherent discipline in the U.K. and
it serves further to introduce 'Neuroscience':-
'Neuroscientists share overlapping interests, concepts, hypotheses, and
methods of analysis, the field transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and
now includes many scientists who have moved out of their original scientific
niches and into studies for which an inter-disciplinary approach allows for more
rapid technical and conceptual discoveries. Given the pace of discoveries in this
field, neuroscience has been recognised as one of the most exciting fields of
Studies in Neuroscience range from molecular to cellular to behavioural and
psychological; they involve disciplines ranging across biology and chemistry,
physics, medicine and psychology and pharmacology. Near one end of the
spectrum one asks questions about the chemistry and physics of how cells
interact at synapses; while at the other end the understanding of computational
aspects of information processing is invaluable for an analysis of the ways in
which the human brain can handle information. The mechanisms involved in
human information processes are too complex for an understanding of their
specific neural processes to suffice, and hence the disciplines of ethology and of
psychology have to combine with the methodologies of biochemistry and
biophysics. Each methodology or discipline is insufficient to grasp an
understanding of the total subject; they merely represent different levels at which
analysis is possible for a given problem. As a result there is now a sustained
pressure amongst neurobiologists and psychologists for an interdisciplinary
approach to neuroscience.'
There are two broad approaches to studying neuroscience. The first, prevalent
amongst ethologists, psychologists and those studying artificial intelligence, is that
behaviour must be explained in terms of systems modelling; it represents an
emergent property of the hardware of the brain, but understanding the hardware will
tell us little or nothing about the system. By contrast, many molecular biologists,
biochemists and physiologists believe that higher order phenomena such as
behaviour are caused by lower order events; the task of this reductionist
neurobiology is to collapse the higher orders into the lower ones, to explain them as
'nothing but' the consequences of molecular events driven by the genes. 'The brain
produces mind like the kidneys urine'. It can be argued that there are limitations to
both approaches, for the development of neuroscience it is important that these
limitations are perceived and that graduates do not have a conceptual or
philosophical approach which is too engrained in the traditional training of biologists
Recent advances in technology have enlarged the study of brain-behaviour
relationships. The scope of training in the use of new methods at the undergraduate
level is restricted in terms of time, resources and equipment and the recognition of
these issues has driven the development of MSc courses in Neuroscience.
The increasing interest in and growth of neuroscience outlined above is propelled not
only by the intellectual satisfaction of approaching an understanding of the brain and
nervous system but also by the economic benefits to be reaped from developments
At one end of the spectrum of contributions the medical importance of neuroscience
for mankind manifests itself in problems such as mental illness, mental subnormality,
neurological and behavioural disorders and the relief of pain. Advances in each of
these areas have been made by the development of neuroactive drugs and by an
increasing understanding of the workings of the human brain which has led, for
example, to human neural transplants being conducted. Despite these developments
half of the beds in the hospital service are occupied by the mentally ill. Improvement
of this situation means that more basic knowledge is needed on the operation of the
nervous system and that new drugs need to be developed. At the other end of the
spectrum, and of at least equal social and economic importance, is the pesticide and
insecticide industry. Their products generally target the nervous system, and
developments and improvements would have enormous implications for human
Therefore demand from industry for neuroscience graduates certainly exists, and
together with the significant increase in basic and applied research referred to above
there is also a market for graduates to pursue higher degrees as students or
Neuroscience Aims and Learning Outcomes
Aims of B.Sc. Neuroscience programme
1. To present Neuroscience as a coherent integrated subject and to emphasise
the importance of a multi disciplinary approach to this subject
2. To introduce techniques of experimental biochemistry, physiology,
psychology, computing and experimental design in relation to Neuroscience
3. To foster the development of skills which will be a help in further academic
and vocational training and subsequent employment
Assessment and Learning Outcomes
Each course (programme) has a set of objectives, referred to as Learning Outcomes
(LOs). These LOs define the knowledge and skills we expect you to be able to
demonstrate by the end of the course. The Neuroscience degree employs a number
of examination and coursework methods to assess LOs. Module Handbooks include
details of how the module is assessed, and what each assessment contributes to the
overall mark, so you should read these carefully. You will be given a Module
Handbook at the start of a module and copies are available on eLearn (webCT) to
students enrolled on the module.
Types of Assessment – Examinations
Examinations across the Neuroscience course can be divided into two groups:
Multiple Choice Question (MCQ)/Short answer examinations
Conventional essay-type examinations
Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) Examinations
In a Multiple Choice Question examination, typically, you are presented with a
question (or a statement to complete), and asked to select what you think is the
correct answer from a choice of four options. MCQ examinations test the breadth of
your knowledge as questions are usually taken from the content of the whole
module. They are predominantly used in Year 1 (e.g. PS1000 and PS1200). Tutors
will usually offer you some practice in answering this type of question but you will not
have access to ‘past papers’.
At Level 5, some modules use some MCQs as part of the examination (e.g.
PS2400), along with a conventional essay-type examination. MCQ examinations are
not used at Level 6.
Some modules in Biological Sciences also employ the use of short-answer questions
Conventional Essay-type Examinations
Conventional essay-type examinations feature in most Year 2 and Year 3 modules.
Copies of past papers are on the web, so students can practice their examination
technique. Generally, questions test depth of knowledge. They can be divided into
‘seen’, ‘unseen’ and ‘mixed’.
Unseen essay-type examinations feature in most Year 2 modules. Typically,
candidates answer two/three questions from a selection, and have no prior
knowledge of the questions. The question paper may be divided into sections, where
you must answer one question from each section.
Seen essay-type examinations involve students being given the questions well in
advance, but answer them under normal examination conditions. Wholly seen
examinations do not currently feature on any of the psychology or biological science
Mixed unseen and seen essay-type examinations feature in many of the Year 3
module examinations. Papers are typically divided into two sections: A and B. with
one section being a compulsory ‘seen’ question, and the other as ‘unseen’ questions
from a choice of questions.
Please be sure to consult your module handbook, so that you are clear on the format
of the exams for each module. IMPORTANT – for successful completion of some
Biological Science modules (e.g. BL2203 and BL3204), students must achieve a
pass in both exam and coursework components.
Types of Assessment - Coursework
When you are asked to produce a piece of coursework, you will be given written
instructions of what is required and a coursework coversheet that you should
complete when you submit the work. The coversheet includes the assessment
criteria and space for written feedback. In the case of the Year 3 Project, you will
receive a Project Module Handbook at Year 2 progression. You are expected to
word-process all coursework and to follow instructions on format.
Reports of Empirical Investigations
A substantial majority of assessed coursework is made up of reports of empirical
investigations (often referred to in Years 1 and 2 as ‘lab reports’). With regard to the
investigations themselves, you will find that there is a progression from Year 1 class
exercises, through Year 2 group exercises, to the Year 3 Project which is a
substantial piece of independent research carried out under the supervision of a
member of staff. In all cases, whether done as a class, group or independent
exercise, the report itself is an individual piece of work.
You will write up to four Psychology lab reports in Year 1 (two reports each for
PS1000, and PS1200). The content for the reports is delivered in class and you have
one week to write the report and submit it. In many Year 2 modules, you will work in
a small group to design and undertake an investigation under the supervision of a
member of staff. The report submission deadline takes into account the time needed
to organize and carry out the group investigation. For Biological Science modules,
you will also produce laboratory reports throughout the three years of your course.
Many Biological Science modules also use laboratory logs/workbooks which you will
use during practical sessions and submit as part of your coursework requirements.
The Year 3 Project is the most important single piece of coursework undertaken
during the Degree Course. As a rule, students begin their Final Year with a topic or
topic area and a supervisor already decided. The Project is a double module (40
credits): this means it is worth of 33% of Year 3 marks and about 20% of the total on
which the Degree classification is based.
You will be asked to write a ‘practice’ essay at the start of Year 1. This allows us to
give you early feedback on your essay-writing skills using Year 1 essay assessment
criteria. PS1200 includes an essay as part of the coursework component. Essays
may be used in other modules, but they are not common, whereas essay-type
examinations are common, so it is important you take every opportunity to develop
good essay-writing skills.
Information Technology (IT) and Statistical Exercises
Most reports of empirical investigations, including the Year 3 Project, require you to
do some IT-based statistical analysis. In Year 1, PS1000 also has an in-class IT-
based statistical test. In Year 2, PS2700 Methods in Psychology includes IT-based
in-class statistical tests. Some modules also use assessments that require you to
submit information online or to produce a presentation using computer packages,
such as Powerpoint.
Assessed presentations are a feature of some modules in Psychology and Biological
Sciences. These presentations can be in various forms, including posters and
individual or group presentations. Non-assessed seminar presentations occur in all
Learning Outcomes and how they relate to Assessment
As you move through the Levels of your programme, you will encounter changes in
the nature and emphasis of what you are learning. At Level 4 (Year 1), you will be
exposed to fairly straightforward, uncontroversial, material, and you will not be
expected to engage in sustained critical analysis or argument. At Level 5 (Year 2),
you will be developing the capacity for criticism and argument as well as a more
sophisticated understanding of methods and theories. By the end of Level 6 (Year
3), we expect these skills to be well-developed.
There will also be a change in the manner of learning as you move through the
levels: this can be characterised as a shift from dependence to independence. This
is most clearly shown in the empirical investigations and reports that you have to
complete at each level of study (moving from Year 1 lab classes, through to Year 2
small group investigations, ending with the Year 3 independent Project).
Independence at Level 6 is also seen in the type of material you are expected to rely
on in developing your arguments (that is, research journal articles rather than
The changing manner, nature, and emphasis of the sorts of thing we are expecting
you to learn over the three Levels is reflected in corresponding changes to the
manner, nature and emphasis of assessment. For example, you will be expected to
demonstrate LO A1 at all Levels: what changes from one Level to the next is the
expected degree and depth of knowledge and understanding, and the ways of
Learning Outcomes are divided into four groups:
A. Knowledge and understanding
B. Subject-specific skills
C. Thinking skills
D. Other skills relevant to employability and personal development
There are two LOs to do with knowledge and understanding:
A1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of biochemistry,
physiology, psychology and how these relate to neuroscience.
A2. Appreciate a variety of approaches to studying neuroscience and assess
the utility of different techniques in relation to solving particular problems.
These learning outcomes will be strongly reflected in all types of examination, in
coursework essays, and in reports of empirical investigations i.e. lab reports
(especially in the Introduction and Discussion sections) and laboratory workbooks.
The type of problems and issues will depend on which modules you study.
Our primary aim at Level 4 is to teach you the basic facts, concepts, terminology,
and methods of used in Neuroscience. As the MCQ examination allows a wide range
of material to be assessed efficiently and effectively, it is our Level 4 method of
choice. At Level 5 you will be developing the capacity for criticism and argument as
well as a more sophisticated understanding of methods and theories, and so essay-
type examinations are introduced. By the end of Level 6, we expect these skills to be
well-developed. In order to demonstrate these you need a degree of freedom of
expression that MCQs do not usually allow. This is why MCQs are used sparingly at
Level 5 and not at all at Level 6.
There are two LOs to do with subject-specific skills:
B1. Generate testable hypotheses; devise investigations to test such
hypotheses; analyse and interpret the results; write coherent reports for the
B2. Write about and present on a range of topics relevant to neuroscience and
inform of the issues involved, drawing on relevant empirical research.
It is in the reports of empirical investigations, culminating in the Level 6 Project, that
B1 is primarily assessed. Your ability to analyse and interpret data will also be
assessed in PS2700 in-class statistical tests. B2 is assessed in all types of
examination (except MCQ) and coursework, and is a very important LO.
There are two LOs to do with thinking skills:
C1. The ability to distinguish what is important, what is relevant and what is
logically coherent from what is not.
C2. Develop coherent arguments and express them clearly and concisely.
As for A1 and A2, there is a progression from Level 4 MCQ assessment through to
Level 6 essay-type examination that allows you to demonstrate C1 and C2. These
LOs are also demonstrated in more independent empirical exercises and more
There are two LOs to do with other skills relevant to employability and personal
D1. IT literacy – being able to make effective use of software packages,
including Office packages and SPSS.
D2. Communication skills, presentation skills, group interaction and teamwork
skills, time management.
A variety of IT skills are explicitly assessed in some modules, but all coursework
should be word-processed, and Level 4 and 5 modules that involve statistical
analysis will require the use of SPSS (the Statistical Package for the Social
All the assessment methods (with the exception of MCQ examinations and perhaps
some IT and statistical exercises), will be measuring your ability to communicate in
one way or another. Group interaction and teamwork is needed for the Year 2 small
group empirical investigations, and are a feature of Level 6 half-modules through
group seminar presentations, or some other group exercise. Time management is
necessary for things like effective private study and revision, meeting coursework
deadlines, and managing the Year 3 Project.
YEAR 1 MODULES
LEVEL 1: At level 1, all students will normally take the following six compulsory
BL1206 Developing skills 1 module
BL1207 Further developing skills 1 module
Semesters 1 & 2:
PS1000 Introduction to Psychological 1 module
PS1200 Psychobiology & Cognition 1 module
BL1203 Control of human life systems: 1 module
Intro. to physiology and pharmacology
BL1204 Designs for life: Intro. to Biochemistry 1 module
Each of the biology courses (BL1203 & BL1204) are comprised of 2hrs lectures and
1 hour tutorial each week throughout the year. Associated practicals, workshops and
tutorials are run in the Biology Skills modules (BL1206 & BL1207). Each week you
will have a 3 hr practical session or workshop.
The psychology courses comprise 1 hr (PS1000) or 2hrs (PS1200) of lectures each
week. In addition you will attend either a seminar (2hr), workshop (2hrs) or practical
(3hrs) associated with these courses each week. Further details will be supplied with
your timetable and module handbooks.
YEAR 2 MODULES
LEVEL 2: At level 2, all students will normally take the following modules:
PS2700 Methods in Psychology 1 module
XS2203 Physiology: Organisms and Their /2 module
PS2500 Physiological Psychology 1 module
PS2850 Techniques in Biopsychology 1 module
BL2210 Cell culture approaches to drug ½ module
testing and toxicology
In addition you need to choose two modules from the following three:
BL2201 Practical skills for Life Sciences 1 module
PS2400 Cognitive Psychology (sem 2) 1 module
BL2203 Molecular and Cellular Biology (sem 1) 1 module
In Year 2, the structure of some of the courses is slightly different: BL2201 and
BL2210 do not have a separate practical slot. Hence, the slot for these courses may
be used either for lectures, practicals, workshops or tutorials. BL2203 has a 2 hr
lecture and a 2 hr workshop session each week.
The psychology courses PS2500 and PS2400 (if chosen as an option) consist of a 2
hour lecture (weekly) a 3 hour practical and a 1hr seminar. Practicals and seminars
may not take place every week but you will be given further details from the module
leader. Techniques in Biopsychology (PS2850) is slightly different. The course is
timetabled for 3 hours a week but depending on the topic being covered, these hours
may vary. XS2203 consists of a 2 hour lecture class each week.
Psychology Work Placement (PS3720)
Between second and third year, you can if you wish, and can secure your own
placement, undertake a brief spell of work experience. The setting in which you work
should be such that you can relate your experience to your degree. Students on all
single honours psychology routes, those majoring in psychology and neuroscience
students can do this module (PS3720).
Although the module is a level 3 module, and, as such, you would expect to do it in
your third year, you must start work on it now if you are going to find a placement, get
any necessary security clearance and get health and safety clearance before
undertaking the placement in the summer between second and third year. The
assessment itself will be early on in third year and will consist of a presentation
(worth 40% of the marks) and an essay (worth 60%).
Please be warned that it will take time to go through all the necessary processes
leading up to the stage of actually doing the placement. The main steps are:-
2. Deciding what area of psychology you are interested in, and identifying
potential sources of placements.
3. Contacting possible placement providers and (if they are keen) establishing
whether they can provide you with opportunities to meet the learning
outcomes of the module.
4. If they can, they might require you to go through criminal background
checking, depending on the nature of their work.
5. If this is successful and they accept you, then the psychology department
needs to be satisfied that Health and Safety practices are sufficient in the
place that you wish to go. If this cannot be done then you will not be allowed
to go on the placement.
The process can get stuck at many stages which is why you have to start on the
preparations early. All those who are interested in doing a placement should collect a
module handbook which will guide you through the processes. If you have any
queries get in touch with the module leader, Lynda Holyoak.
YEAR 3 MODULES
LEVEL 3: At level 3, all students will take the following modules:
PS3800 Frontiers in Biopsychology 1 module
BL3204 Immunology 1 module
Semesters 1 & 2:
PS3980 Neuroscience Project Double module
In addition, students must take four of the following ½ module PS courses:
PS3301 Clinical Neuropsychology ½ module
PS3311 Eating Behaviour and Disorders: ½ module
PS3407 Control, Action & Sport ½ module
PS3408 Memory Disorders ½ module
PS3501 Drugs and Behaviour ½ module
PS3506 Biological Treatments in Psychiatry ½ module
PS3508 Cardiovascular Health Psychology ½ module
PS3509 Motor Disorders & Rehabilitation ½ module
PS3702 Psychology Placement Module ½ module
Students should check on the availability of PS modules in March as not all relevant
modules will run each year. This will depend on staff availability.
BL3204 is run in a similar way to those in previous years i.e. a 2hr lecture (weekly)
and 3hr practical session. The psychology courses offered in your final year do not
have a practical component as much of your time will be taken up with your final year
project. Frontiers in Biopsychology (PS3800) will be structured in a similar way to
Techniques in Biopsychology in the second year - some sessions will be lectures and
some practicals, and the hours involved will depend on the topic being covered.
Students not wishing to proceed with Neuroscience after Year 1 and who have
completed BL1203, BL1204, BL1206 and BL1207 may be able to transfer to a route
such as Physiology and Pharmacology or Molecular or Cellular Biology. You will
need to discuss the possible options with the course leader. There may also be the
possibility of transferring to a combined route (e.g. Psychology and Molecular
Biology). Again, this will need to be discussed with the course leader. These will be
considered on an individual basis.
SPECIFIC REGULATIONS FOR PROGRESSION AND
Under the General University Regulations students need to have passed 12
modules during Stage 2 to obtain an honours award, although a fail in one
module may be condoned at the discretion of an Assessment Board. Rules for
Psychology awards operate within the framework of this general regulation.
Full details of Academic Regulations can be found on the University website,
e.g. the maximum number of modules that may be taken (at G16.1-G16.4).
Year 1 to Year 2
NOTE: 'Passed' means 'passed, or passed after any permitted reassessment'.
The general regulations require six modules to be passed for progression to Stage 2.
At the discretion of the Course Assessment Board, a student who has not passed
120 credits may be allowed to proceed because: a fail in up to two modules may be
condoned; or they may retake one failed module in Year 2. Normally, students will
be permitted to proceed to year 2 of the course only if they have passed PS1000,
PS1200, BL1203, BL1204, BL1206, BL1207.
Year 2 to Year 3
Subject to the general regulations for progression to the third year of an honours
degree, students will be permitted to proceed to year 3 if they have passed PS2850,
PS2500, PS2700 and at least three from XS2203, BL2210, BL2201, BL2203, and
Students who have passed only five modules will usually be allowed to proceed to
Year 3 on the condition that they retake the failed module with their other modules.
1. Failure in PS2700 usually results in progression to degree without honours, as
PS2700 is a prerequisite for the Project, which in turn is a prerequisite for an
Honours Degree. (Students may prefer to retake PS2700 and progress to Year 3
when this is passed.)
2. Students must have passed the prerequisite for Level 6 modules
Students who have passed only four modules will usually be eligible to proceed to
Year 3 degree without honours. However, a student may attempt a maximum of 16
modules (320 credits) at Stage 2, and so could transfer to part-time to retake for a
maximum of 40% up to four failed modules (a failed module may be retaken more
than once and each attempt counts as one module). They could return to full-time
honours when eligible to proceed. Part-time students who have not taken/passed all
their Level 5 modules may take Level 6 modules for which they have prerequisites
(see the Programmes Co-ordinator to discuss).
B.Sc. (Honours) Neuroscience
To obtain an honours degree entitled 'BSc (Hons) Neuroscience' a student
must normally have passed 12 modules at Stage 2. These modules must
(a) PS2500, PS2700, PS2850, XS2203 and BL2210
(b) Two modules selected from BL2201, BL2203 and PS2400
(c) PS3800 and BL3204 and four level 6 half modules conforming to option
(c) A double module project in Neuroscience PS3980.
B.Sc. Neuroscience degree without honours
To obtain a degree without honours entitled 'B.Sc. Neuroscience', a student
must have satisfied the general University regulations for such an award and
must normally have passed at least ten modules at Stage 2. These ten
modules must normally include at least nine Neuroscience modules and at
least four Level 5 modules from the range in (a). (above).
Diploma in HE
To obtain a Diploma in Higher Education, a student must have normally
passed PS2700, at least three other Level 5 modules chosen from the
compulsory module list and sufficient other modules to fulfill the University
requirements for the award.