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The University of Southampton

BIOL2052 Neuroscience

Module Overview

This module conveys the concept of neuroscience as an integrative discipline by providing a description of mammalian brain function from molecular aspects of synaptic signalling to higher cognitive function that regulates behaviour.

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
  • Explain the role of glial cells in brain function
  • Describe the concepts of the higher functions of the brain and their spatial localisation
  • Outline basic cellular and system mechanisms for learning, memory and emotion
  • Describe the neural control of behaviour
  • 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
  • Describe the specialised sense organs at a cellular level, and the processing of sensory information in the CNS
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
  • critically evaluate neuroscience data from a primary research article
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work with, and within, a group towards defined outcomes
  • use information technology and other resources to find, extract and synthesise information
  • 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 - Systems neuroscience: special senses (vision, hearing, taste and smell) - Role of glial cells in brain physiology - Complex brain functions: cognition, cellular and systems basis of memory formation - Neural basis of behaviour

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module consists of 45 lectures, 4 three-hour practical classes, a workshop, a tutorial and 241 hours of independent study.

Independent Study241
Practical classes and workshops13
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Purves et al. Neuroscience. 

Liqun Luo. Principles of Neuroscience. 


Assessment Strategy

Should a student who selected BIOL2052 choose not to not pursue this module in S2, then they will be awarded the mark obtained at the end of S1 for the equivalent 7.5 ECTS module BIOL2051, and be expected to choose another 7.5ECTS module by the end of the 2nd week of S2 following standard module change procedures


Practical write-ups


MethodPercentage contribution
Practical 12.5%
Written assessment 87.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Online test  () 100%

Linked modules


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

BIOL1012Systems Physiology
CHEM1039Biological Chemistry
BIOL1008Metabolism & Metabolic Disorders
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