Neuroscience (SNS1)

Over the past few decades, Neuroscience has emerged as an exciting, interdisciplinary area of research.

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This programme is aimed at students who wish to pursue careers in neuroscience and related disciplines in academic, industrial and clinical settings. In this neuroscience program, students gain hands on experience of one the fastest growing fields of scientific research, and one which impacts all aspects of life. Neurodegenerative diseases represent a major economic burden on developed societies and their prevalence is increasing worldwide with increasing life expectancy. Modern neuroscience is multidisciplinary, integrating molecular, cellular, developmental and computational biology with genetics, medicine, cognitive science and computational biology. All of these disciplines are integrated into the programme, so that the student gains a comprehensive education in all aspects of the broad subject area that is neuroscience. Our students become active, motivated, autonomous learners: throughout the programme we encourage the development of critical thinking and the ability to interpret scientific data objectively. Our students acquire a detailed, specialized knowledge of the nervous system in parallel with an understanding of fundamental research methods that are used to investigate how the nervous system functions and is disrupted in disease. We provide an optimal learning environment to inspire students to develop their own research skills, and nurture the ability to work efficiently as individuals or within a team. We motivate our students to become good communicators and help them to develop their own and others’ leadership and advocacy skills.  The curriculum utilizes lectures, tutorials and individual and team projects and on-line discussion forums are a key element in the programme’s design. Students will gain valuable first-hand experience of scientific research in a laboratory environment in their final year project. A variety of assessments are used throughout the programme: in addition to multiple choice and essay style examinations valuable research experience is embedded into numerous other assessements, including practical classes, online computer aided learning, presentation/poster development, literature review and essay/project writing .


1 - Apply sophisticated research methods in evaluating, analysing and understanding neuroscience.
2 - Demonstrate critical thinking skills and utilise these to investigate and review the most recent scientific research literature
3 - Demonstrate skill in oral communication and scientific writing: be able to communicate expertly in discipline specific language to reveal a great depth of understanding to a professional audience.
4 - Master the laboratory environment to work equally efficiently whether as an individual or as a member of a team. Be able to articulate goals and plan experiments equally well either as an individual or as a team member.
5 - Display a broad understanding of nervous system function/dysfunction and the research skills needed to study disorders of the nervous system
6 - Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of neurochemistry, neurogenetics, neuropharmacology and neurophysiology and the research techniques used to study them
7 - Manifest a clear understanding of the importance of personal integrity and research ethics
8 - Demonstrate skill in forming scientific hypotheses and implementing all aspects of basic research including project design, experimental analysis and interpretation, statistical analysis and formation of conclusions
9 - Exhibit a profound understanding of the relationship between neuroscience and related bodies of knowledge and fields of activity to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration
10 - Evidence mastery of the use of state the art technologies in neuroscience and proficiency in the application of a variety of advanced scientific methods in a laboratory environment.
11 - Harness skill in oral communication and scientific writing gained in the programme to engage in outreach activity to communicate and explain neuroscience to the general public
12 - Demonstrate knowledge of scientific innovation and drug discovery in the field of neuroscience
Students who return failing grades in a trimester amounting to 15 credits, or more, will be identified under the UCD Continuation – Academic Progress policy. Students whose rate of progression and performance over two academic years is deemed unacceptable will be referred to the Governing Board to be reviewed for exclusion from the programme.

Students who fail to progress from the stage of the programme they are registered to for more than two academic years (except where a period of Leave of Absence has been granted for one of those years) will also be contacted under the Continuation – Academic Progress Policy.

As Stages 3 and 4 have the most dynamic components of the programme, and the material studied previously may no longer be relevant, a student who has been away from the programme for a significant period should be required to register again to Stage 3. The upper limit for completion of Stages 3 and 4 should be six years if they choose to do 120 credits with 20 in each year.
Over the past few decades, Neuroscience has emerged as an exciting, interdisciplinary area of research.

Neuroscience is the study of nerve cells and attempts to understand how these cells interact with each other to form the brain and regulate body functions and human behaviour. The malfunction of the nervous system lies at the heart of a number of devastating and currently incurable conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Neuroscience research probes the mechanisms underlying such malfunctions with a view to helping in the discovery of drugs to prevent or manage these disorders.
Disciplines such as cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, psychology and other branches of the life sciences are integrated in Neuroscience in order that the brain and nervous system can be understood from a number of levels of analysis.

Application of new molecular and genetic approaches, in combination with more traditional psychological and behavioural approaches, has resulted in dramatic advances in our understanding of how the brain functions in health and disease.

Neuroscience also forms a link with computer science and control systems engineering in the development of the technology required for creating smart machines, robotics and artificial intelligence. UCD neuroscientists employ state-of-the-art techniques to study the nervous system at the molecular, cellular and behavioural levels.
You may apply to study abroad for either a semester or a year through the Erasmus programme or on a non-EU exchange.

UCD has over 200 Erasmus partners in Europe and an increasing number of non-EU exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and elsewhere.
Please visit the Erasmus section by clicking on the International Office link at the top of this page.
Neuroscience graduates have the opportunity to follow many different career paths. You may choose to continue your education by pursuing a postgraduate degree programme.

Alternatively, you can obtain employment in:
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Agrochemical industry
- Medical technology industry
- Research institutes
- Government agencies

As trained scientists, many graduates are highly sought after by large multinational organisations and go on to careers in:
- Management
- Accountancy
- Marketing
- Law
- Publishing
Dr John O'Connor UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research Belfield, Dublin 4 Tel: +353 1 716 6765 Email: Web:
Stage 3

Students take eight core modules and at least two options. Additional option modules can be selected from the BSc programme to complete Stage 3 or alternatively, 10 credits can be selected from elective module. If you are interested in doing a Internship as part of Stage 4, you must indicate your interest now (in Stage 3). See full details here

Stage 4

Students take 60 credits of modules (core and options) from within the Stage 4 Neuroscience programme.

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 3 Core Modules
BMOL30040 Receptor-mediated cell signalling Autumn 5
NEUR30080 Neuromuscular and Membrane Biology Autumn 5
PHAR30080 Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric Illness Autumn 5
STAT20070 Data Modelling for Science Autumn 5
NEUR30010 Principles of Nervous System Development Spring 5
NEUR30060 Sensory Neuroscience Spring 5
NEUR30070 Higher Cortical Function Spring 5
PHAR30040 Development and advanced pharmacology of the nervous system Spring 5
Stage 3 Core Modules
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN2OF:
Select at least 2 options
BMOL30030 Regulation of Gene Expression Autumn 5
BMOL30090 Immunology Autumn 5
MEIN30240 Bioinformatics Autumn 5
BMOL30020 Molecular basis of disease Spring 5
CELB30090 Advanced Cell Biology Spring 5
GENE30030 Genetic Basis of Disease Spring 5
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN2OF:
Select at least 2 options
Stage 4 Core Modules
NEUR40020 Physiology of Synaptic Plasticity Autumn 5
PHAR40070 Advanced Neuropharmacology:Cognition, Neurodegeneration and Psychiatric Disorders Autumn 5
BIOC40060 Advanced Neurochemistry Spring 5
NEUR40010 Molecular Neuroimmunology (UG) Spring 5
NEUR40030 Modulation of Synaptic Signalling Spring 5
NEUR40070 Advanced Topics in Neural Development and Degeneration Spring 5
Stage 4 Core Modules
Stage 4 Options - A)1 OF:
Set A Choose one:
BMOL40090 Research Project (Erasmus) 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr) 25
BMOL40200 Industry Research Project 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr) 25
NEUR40060 Neuroscience Research Project 2 Trimester duration (Aut-Spr) 20
BMOL40100 Biomolecular Sci Research Proj Autumn 15
Stage 4 Options - A)1 OF:
Set A Choose one:
Stage 4 Options - B)MIN2OF:
Students taking NEUR40060 select TWO modules from Set B. Students taking BMOL40100 select THREE modules from Set B. Students taking either of the 25 credit modules BMOL40090 or BMOL40200 are exempt from Autumn core modules in their respective disciplines. These students should select additional option modules in Spring to a total of 60 credits
BIOC40230 Biochemistry Career Skills Autumn 5
GENE40070 Genetic Basis of Behaviour Autumn 5
NEUR40080 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Neurodegenerative Proteinopathies Autumn 5
BIOC40220 Hot topics in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Spring 5
BMOL40340 Regenerative therapeutics Spring 5
GENE40030 Advanced Mechanisms of Gene Regulation Spring 5
GENE40050 Human Genetics & Disease Spring 5
PHAR40040 Emerging therapies: Cloning, gene therapy and stem cells Spring 5
PHAR40050 Drug Discovery and Development I Spring 5
Stage 4 Options - B)MIN2OF:
Students taking NEUR40060 select TWO modules from Set B. Students taking BMOL40100 select THREE modules from Set B. Students taking either of the 25 credit modules BMOL40090 or BMOL40200 are exempt from Autumn core modules in their respective disciplines. These students should select additional option modules in Spring to a total of 60 credits
See the UCD Assessment website for further details

Module Weighting Info  
  Award GPA
Programme Module Weightings Rule Description Description >= <=
BHSCI001 Stage 4 - 70.00%
Stage 3 - 30.00%
Standard Honours Award First Class Honours



Second Class Honours, Grade 1



Second Class Honours, Grade 2






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