Neuroscience is a branch of biology concerned with the brain and the nervous system. Students who wish to become a neuroscientist will benefit from studying a neuroscience degree as it covers the structure and function of the brain, as well as showing the student how biology contributes to neuroscience.
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Types of Neuroscience Degree
Neuroscience degrees are awarded as a Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons) degree and can take three to four years of full time study to complete. Some universities will offer a neuroscience degree with an integrated year in the industry or international study opportunity to give students work experience as part of their course.
Whilst some universities will offer a course devoted solely to neuroscience, other universities will only offer courses in other disciplines with the opportunity to study a neuroscience module as part of the programme.
Neuroscience Degree Course Structure
It is most common for students to complete a neuroscience degree over three years of full time study, however most universities will give students the opportunity to study the course part time for an extended length of time. As mentioned, most universities will give students the opportunity to gain some real life experiences throughout their studies with the addition of a work experience year in the industry or a study year abroad.
Students enrolled on a neuroscience degree will be expected to learn through a series of lectures, tutorials and practical work in the first two years of study. During the final year of study students will experience a change of learning environment with most work being self-directed study.
Throughout the entire degree you will be assessed by a range of examinations and during your final year of study you may be required to undertake a research project or dissertation study.
Topics Covered through a Neuroscience Degree
In the first year of study students will be required to study a range of core modules including biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, tissue biology, functional neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and evolution.
During the second year of study students are given more flexibility with their modules and are allowed to specialise within their preferred area of neuroscience. Some module examples are cognitive psychology, animal behaviour, neuropharmacology, and developmental neurobiology.
In the final year of study all students are required to take an independent research study alongside optional modules. The modules for the third year include behavioural neuroscience, special senses, drug discovery and design and perspectives on brain disorders.
Entry requirements to a neuroscience degree will vary depending on the university you are applying to. Generally you will be required to have gained the following qualifications:
- A Level: AAA – BBB
- UCAS Points: 144 - 120
Due to the nature of the course you will also be required to have completed your A Levels in science based subjects including chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics. Some universities also require students to have gained at least a GCSE Grade B in English and mathematics. You are advised to contact the institution you are applying to for a full breakdown of entry requirements.
Upon completion of a neuroscience degree, graduates can gain various job roles in the healthcare, science, research and pharmacology industry. Popular job roles include research scientist, neuroscientist, psychiatrist and pharmacologist.
There is also the possibility of further study after completion of the degree, with a wide variety of postgraduate healthcare degrees available. A postgraduate degree in healthcare can take between one and two years full time study to complete.
As neuroscience is considered as a subject that is allied to medicine, neuroscience is a degree that was rated the third most employable degree in 2016. This is because 95% of students entered full time work or further education within 6 months of graduating according to the destination of leavers from higher education survey . You can find out more about the most employable degrees with our article: Top 10 Most Employable Degrees.