Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Advanced Methods in Neuroscience

Module titleAdvanced Methods in Neuroscience
Module codeNEU2001
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Miguel Dasilva Ogando (Lecturer)

Dr Tom Ridler (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Building on the skills and knowledge gained in the first year of the BSc Neuroscience programme, this module provides an opportunity to apply and further develop your research skills by participating in a series of laboratory practicals. Each of these has been designed to complement other compulsory and optional modules that take place in the second year of the BSc Neuroscience programme. In addition to core practicals, you will have the opportunity to explore areas of special interest and to try hands-on experiments. Practical sessions may include analysis of rodent neurobehaviour data; electrophysiological recording; assessments of human cognitive function, and microscopy on histological sections of brain tissue. This module should prepare you well for your final year research project and optional professional training year.
This is a compulsory module for BSc Neuroscience students.
This module is not suitable for non-specialist students.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide you with the relevant skills needed to perform cutting edge neuroscience research with ‘real world’ applications. This includes practical skills in carrying out experimental techniques, organising and analysing data, presenting it effectively, and performing relevant and rigorous statistical testing. These skills will be assessed in several forms. In the first term, there will be a formal practical write up, based on any one of the practical sessions. In the second term, you will produce a poster, containing data from a second practical session and accompany it with a recorded video presentation explaining the results.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Understand and analyse different forms of primary neuroscience data
  • 2. Process and analyse histological images of brain tissue
  • 3. Compare and contrast neuroscience methods and their strengths and weaknesses

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Use statistical methods to analyse and interpret neuroscience research data.
  • 5. Synthesize, and critically evaluate, primary sources of information.
  • 6. Analyse and display different types of data effectively

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Exemplify critical thinking in the construction and analysis of written arguments
  • 8. Produce clear scientific writing.
  • 9. Communicate information orally and with audio-visual aids

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

The module begins with an introductory lecture in week 1 to outline the broad aims and structure of the module and introduce the assessments. Early in term one, there will also be a workshop session focused on skills for reading and writing scientific reports to aid with the practical write up assessment. In term two, there will be a corresponding workshop session focussing on skills needed for the poster and video presentation assessments.

Module content will be delivered across both terms one and two, and fit into the following areas:

Practical classes

Practical classes will run regularly throughout the year. There will be three compulsory sessions that will primarily involve analysing pre-recorded data, for example:

• Rodent behavioural analysis: Morris water maze
• Microscopy: Neuronal image analysis
• Calcium imaging: Glutamate pharmacology

You will then choose three more sessions from a variety of optional practicals, designed to develop skills in disciplines such as electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, and cognitive neuroscience. Example sessions include:

• Electrophysiology: Hippocampal field potentials
• Electrophysiology: Epileptic seizures in brain slices
• Neuroanatomy: Human brain demonstration
• Neuroanatomy: Histology and cell counting
• Human EEG recordings
• Cognitive neuroscience: Effect of Alcohol

Data analysis and statistics

Each optional practical session will have a corresponding data analysis session, in which you are guided through the techniques used to analyse the recorded data and have some initial discussions on its relevance. In addition, there will be three statistics workshops. These will recap statistical concepts covered in the first year and work through practical examples of organising data and performing statistic tests.

Small group seminars

Small group seminar sessions, with a facilitator, will take place once every two weeks. Each session will focus on a key technique in neuroscience. You will work through a provided list of key focus points designed to aid self-directed learning and will produce electronic resources to accompany each session.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities22 x 1 hour Lectures (live or pre-recorded)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities42 x 2 hour Assessment workshops 
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities186 x 3 hour Practical Sessions
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities63 x 2 hour Practical data analysis sessions
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities63 x 2 hour Statistics Workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities2010 x 2 hour Small group seminar sessions
Guided Independent Study120Reading and preparation for practical sessions, seminars, and workshops
Guided Independent Study80Analysing data sets and preparing figures
Guided Independent Study44Assessment preparation: Writing practical report, preparing poster and presentations


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical write up/poster presentationFeedback on draft figures 1-8Oral or written
Post-lab multiple choice questions5-10 MCQs per practical 1-7Oral or written (Answers provided)
Seminar participation (term 1) 5 x 2 hour sessions1, 3-7, 9 Written and/or Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical write-up 402,000 words or equivalent 1-8Written
Practical poster and presentation501 poster with a 10 min oral video presentation of the data 1-9Written
Seminar participation 10Reflecting contribution across all the seminars and assessed using programme-wide contribution criteria. 1, 3-7, 9 Written or verbal (on request)


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Practical write-up (40%) (2,000 words or equivalent) Practical write-up 1-8Ref/Def period
Practical poster and presentation (50%) (1 poster, 10 min video presentation) Practical poster and presentation 1-9Ref/Def period
Seminar participation (10%) 1,000 word critical evaluation essay of one seminar topic1, 3-7,8 Ref/Def period

Re-assessment notes

Students who are deferred in the coursework will submit the original assessment.
Students who are referred in the coursework will submit a new equivalent assessment of a different practical, from the one(s) originally assessed, in the ref/def period.
If you miss 3 or more seminars, you must provide mitigation for your absence to obtain a deferral in the seminar participation assessment. In the case of deferral of the seminar participation assessment, students will be required to a write a 1,000 word critical evaluation of one seminar topic.
Students with Individual Learning Plans referencing difficulties in group participation will be offered the option to do the re-assessment in lieu of a seminar participation score (i.e. a 1,000 word critical evaluation essay). These individuals will be contacted at the start of the module and asked to choose between these two options.
Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

“Writing for Science Students”?– Boyle & Ramsey?ISBN-13:?978-1137571519?

“Experimental Design for the Life Sciences” – Ruxton and Colegrave, OUP Oxford,?2011. ISBN-13: 9780198717355

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Neuroscience, Methods, Statistics, Data analysis 

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

NEU1010 or CSC1004 

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date