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The University of Southampton

BIOL2051 Principles of Neuroscience

Module Overview

This module conveys the concept of neuroscience as an integrative discipline by providing a description of mammalian nervous system function from molecular aspects of synaptic signalling to information integration and system level processing.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Analyse quantitative aspects of neural function, including the use of the Nernst equation to calculate reversal potentials and to predict the effects of changes in membrane permeability on neuronal excitability
  • Describe the basic anatomy of the nervous system
  • Explain the process of mammalian brain development and the formation of neural circuits
  • Outline molecular aspects of synaptic transmission
  • Describe the function of excitatory and inhibitory neurons, synaptic potentials
  • Describe the integration of synaptic information and action potential coding
  • Describe the hierarchy of neuronal circuitry involved in motor systems
  • Identify the mechanisms of nociception and and neural processing of painful stimuli
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use a range of neuroscience laboratory equipment to conduct experiments
  • record and analyse neuroscience data
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work with, and within, a group towards defined outcomes
  • solve problems relating to qualitative and quantitative information


Indicative topics include • Introduction to basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology • Brain development • Molecular basis of synaptic function • Synaptic integration • Systems neuroscience: motor systems, nociception, including transfer of information from the periphery to the CNS

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module consists of 23 lectures, 3 three-hour practical classes, a workshop and 117 hours of independent study.

Practical classes and workshops10
Independent Study117
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Purves et al. Neuroscience. 

Liqun Luo. Principles of Neuroscience. 



Practical write-ups


MethodPercentage contribution
Practical 20%
Written assessment 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Online test 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

(BIOL1011 or BIOL1012) and (BIOL1013 or BIOL1014) and (BIOL1008 or BIOL1022) and (CHEM1039 or CHEM1012 or A Level Chemistry)


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CHEM1039Biological Chemistry
BIOL1011Systems Physiology
BIOL1008Metabolism & Metabolic Disorders
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