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The University of Southampton

BIOL6078 Structure and Function of the Nervous System

Module Overview

This module will provide a detailed understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system. Starting with nervous system development and then focusing on the adult nervous system, students will learn about the gross anatomy of the human brain and spinal cord and its constituent systems including autonomic, sensory, visual, auditory, somatosensory, olfactory and limbic systems. Lectures will also be given about the vasculature, ventricles and CSF. Lectures will be supplemented by hands-on neuroanatomy practicals which will be conducted in the purpose-built dissection labs in the Faculty of Medicine, in addition to supplementary small group tutorials to reinforce the lecture material.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous system and how it interacts with other systems in the body to regulate human physiology and behaviour. Students will gain an understanding of the core principles of neuronal development and formation of specific brain/spinal cord structures and delineated systems and their associated functions. Following this module, students will be expected to be able to integrate this brain region/neural pathway specific information into a coherent concept of how such networks regulate physiological functions and how this may change in neurological injury and disease.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the cell types which comprise the different regions of the nervous system.
  • Describe and identify gross anatomical regions of the human brain and spinal cord.
  • Describe the structure and function of the different neural systems including the autonomic, peripheral, somatosensory, motor, visual, auditory, neuro-endocrine, limbic and olfactory systems.
  • Describe the vasculature of the brain, its ventricles, role of CSF and importance of blood brain barrier
  • Describe regions of the brain attributed to higher cortical function such as cognition, learning and memory, language and personality.
  • Describe and give examples of neurological diseases arising from dysfunction or degeneration of brain regions and pathways studied.


Structure and function of the CNS and PNS Neural pathways/tracts involved in key CNS and PNS functions including the somatosensory system, motor systems auditory system, visual system, limbic system, neuroendocrine system and olfactory system. CNS vasculature, CSF and blood brain barrier. Neuropathology within the PNS and CNS

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, neuroanatomy practicals, neuroanatomy tutorials and independent study

Independent Study124
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

D.E. Haines (2011). Neuroanatomy: an atlas of structures, sections, and systems. 

D.J. Gould and J.K. Brueckner-Collins (2016). High-yield Neuroanatomy. 

D. Purves et. al (2012). Neurosciences. 

A. Siegel and H.N. Sapru (2015) (2015). Essential Neuroscience. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 75%
Practical assessment 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

15 CATS Points Pre-requisites: BIOL2014 AND (BIOL3020 AND BIOL3021) OR (BIOL3020 AND BIOL3025) OR (BIOL3020 AND BIOL3048) OR (BIOL3021 AND BIOL3025) OR (BIOL3021 AND BIOL3048) OR (BIOL3025 AND BIOL3048)

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