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Neuroscience (MRes)

Course Description

The MRes in Neuroscience is designed to provide advanced training in neuroscience research. Students conduct a year-long research project and learn relevant techniques and skills through course work. The overall aim is to give students the necessary skill set to succeed as independent research scientists.

Course information

The MRes in Neuroscience is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience.


- Intensive week-long introductory module prepares students for the course before the start of Semester 1.
- The course includes a streamlined taught component.
- Students have the opportunity to conduct a year-long project in a single laboratory.

Teaching format

The course begins with a week-long intensive module which continues during Semester 1 with a weekly seminar series. Over two semesters, students will also complete two additional Honours-level modules.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals and guided independent study. The modules are assessed principally by written work and oral presentations.

During Semester 1 and 2, and during the summer months, students will conduct an original research project culminating in a written thesis, which forms the main component of assessed work.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development - http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/taught-programmes/neuroscience/#d.en.556406


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue (https://portal.st-andrews.ac.uk/catalogue/) which is for the 2016–2017 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2017 entry.

Compulsory modules

- Research Design in Neuroscience: intensive week-long module provides an introduction to designing and carrying out neuroscience research at the postgraduate level.
- Techniques and Skills in Neuroscience Research: examines state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques through critical analysis of primary literature.

Optional modules

Students choose two optional modules (optional modules may vary from year to year; see the University’s position on curriculum development (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/taught-programmes/neuroscience/#d.en.556406)). Examples of optional modules include:

- Neurodegeneration and Aging: develops a detailed understanding of molecular neuroscience at the biochemical and molecular level.
- Motoneurons: From Physiology to Pathology: provides an in-depth knowledge of key aspects of neuronal function and potential dysfunction by focusing on motoneurons.
- Behavioural Neuroscience: allows students to access current research in the area of behavioural neuroscience. Possible topics include motivation, learning and attention.
- Vision: from Neurons to Awareness: develops an advanced understanding of the psychological processes involved in visual perception.
- Neural Basis of Episodic Memory: examines how the brain enables us to remember information from our personal experience.
- Neuromodulation: explores the diverse range of neuromodulatory mechanisms and outlines their importance in information processing in the nervous system.
- Synaptic Transmission: covers recent progress in understanding the morphology and ultrastructure of synapses, neurotransmitter corelease and recycling mechanisms, retrograde signalling, synaptic plasticity, the role of glial cells and the development of neurotransmission.
- Mechanisms of Behaviour: Integrating Psychological and Neuroscience Perspectives: explores some of the many physiological and neural systems that modulate patterns of behaviour in a range of species, including humans.

Students on this course will have the opportunity to take new modules in the academic year 2017-2018. The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2017 entry. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Research project and thesis

Students will spend one year conducting an original research project culminating in a data-based thesis of not more than 15,000 words. The thesis will describe the research results obtained from the year-long research project and must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the thesis requirement for the MRes, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certificate. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PG Cert instead of an MRes.

After the MRes

Research degrees:

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree. The PhD comprises three years of full-time study and the submission of an 80,000-word thesis.

The Medical Research Council (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/fees-and-funding/scholarships/research-council/mrc/) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/fees-and-funding/scholarships/research-council/bbsrc/) offers studentships for PhD research in health, biological and related sciences covering up to four years of funding and, in some cases, accommodation fees.


A large number of Psychology and Neuroscience postgraduates have gained postdoctoral and lecturing positions in universities across the world. The School provides opportunities for students to gain academic experience by being involved in tutorials, laboratory classes and through conducting independent research.

In addition to pursuing careers in academia, postgraduates within the School have gone on to pursue careers in a variety of fields including industry, education and medicine.

The Careers Centre (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/careers/) offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and provides resources specific for neuroscience students (https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/careers/students/careerdecisions/usingmydegree/neuroscience/).


School of Psychology and Neuroscience
St Mary's Quad
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JP

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2157

Visit the Neuroscience (MRes) page on the University of St Andrews website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Undergraduate degree (typically 2.1 or higher) in a science-related subject (e.g. neuroscience, physics, biology, psychology, computer science). Candidates with other suitable and equivalent qualifications such as relevant work experience or research accomplishments will also be considered.

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