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Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the science of the nervous system and involves studying how the brain and the rest of the nervous system work in health and disease. Neuroscience is taught closely between the School of Biology and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience and emphasises understanding how the mind and brain work to facilitate our behaviour.

Students of Neuroscience at St Andrews receive a broad education ranging from the level of single proteins within the nervous system and the activity of individual nerve cells, up to higher brain functions such as memory formation and cognitive processing.

Courses

Undergraduate

Neuroscience BSc (Hons)

Postgraduate

Taught

Neuroscience MRes


The School of Psychology and Neuroscience also offers an MSc and a MPhil by research. Please contact the School for more information.

PhDs

Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Student life

The Psychology and Neuroscience student society (PsychoSoc) is a great opportunity for students to meet others interested in the field of Psychology and Neuroscience. The society organises academic activities such as lectures and trips to Edinburgh Zoo, as well as weekly lunches, a ball and other kinds of socials.

The Neuroscience Society (NeuroSoc) is a group that strives to bring people together who share a passion for neuroscience, regardless of whether or not they study it formally. The society hosts numerous social and academic events to harbor a sense of a neuro-community. These include:

  • appearance guest speakers
  • career planning talks
  • internship advice presentations
  • social outings
  • society dinners with members, alumni, and Faculty.  

Students may also be interested in contributing to Maze, the student-led Psychology and Neuroscience magazine of St Andrews.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

 Undergraduates

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017

 

Postgraduates

  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

Sign up

Latest in Neuroscience

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience has been ranked the best the UK, according to a new higher education league table published Monday 23 May, 2016.

News

Dr Gareth Miles group is using stem cells derived from skin samples of patients with Motor Neuron Disease to study why motor neurons die in this devastating disease and to find targets for the development of much needed treatment.

News

Researchers within the School have discovered that the ability to understand how others see the world may not be unique to humans as previously thought.

News

Neuroscience research areas

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience has consistently been ranked as one of the best research departments in the UK.

Research is broadly organised around two key themes, with many members of the School carrying out research in more than one theme. Researchers from the School also contribute to numerous interdisciplinary research centres and institutes.

Cellular and developmental neuroscience

Research is aimed at an understanding of how neural systems develop across an individual’s lifespan and function to regulate behaviour and cognition.

The following members of staff are currently undertaking research in areas of cellular and developmental neuroscience:

  • Dr James Ainge: underlying neural mechanisms of spatial and episodic memory through examining learning and memory in rodents.
  • Dr Eric Bowman: behavioural neurophysiology through focusing on the bursts of electrical signals that nerve cells exhibit while animals perform behavioural tasks.
  • Dr Gillian Brown: sex differences in behaviour from neuroendocrine, developmental and evolutionary perspectives.
  • Professor Verity Brown: response control; the neural basis of the control of movement (both eye and skeletal-motor); psychological functions, such as attention, expectation and planning which influence and modify processes of response selection.
  • Dr Gayle Doherty: the signalling pathways that determine whether a neuron lives or dies, both during development and as part of the ageing process.
  • Dr Wenchang Li: basic neuronal mechanisms underlying motor control using young Xenopus laevis tadpoles as a simple model system.
  • Dr Gareth Miles: the neural control of movement with a focus on motor systems of the brainstem and spinal cord.
  • Dr Stefan Pulver: neural control of locomotion in Drosophila larvae.
  • Professor Keith Sillar: the development and function of spinal motor control networks with a focus on the role of neuromodulation and the role of ion pumps in short term memory of network function.
  • Dr Karen Spencer: understanding of the mechanisms that underlie complex patterns of animal behaviour through integrating behavioural, physiological, endocrine and neuroendocrine approaches using avian species in both the field and laboratory.

Perception, cognition and action

Current research includes work on perception of faces, objects and actions, and the perception of shape, space and layout, emotion recognition, attentional processes and episodic memory.

The following members of staff are currently undertaking research in the areas of perception, cognition and action:

  • Dr James Ainge: underlying neural mechanisms of spatial and episodic memory through examining learning and memory in rodents.
  • Dr Justin Ales: neuroimaging, vision, and computation; how the brain modulates its information processing to optimally respond to variations in the environment caused by both changes in stimulus properties and by changes to behavioral goals.
  • Dr Daniela Balslev: cognitive neuroscience using transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy humans as well as behavioral testing of neurological patients with a brain lesion.
  • Dr Eric Bowman: behavioural neurophysiology through focusing on the bursts of electrical signals that nerve cells exhibit while animals perform behavioural tasks.
  • Professor Verity Brown: response control; the neural basis of the control of movement (both eye and skeletal-motor); psychological functions, such as attention, expectation and planning which influence and modify processes of response selection.
  • Professor Julie Harris: using psychophysical, behavioural and computational techniques to explore the basic processes underlying human visual perception and its links to motor action.
  • Dr Ines Jentzsch: different aspects of attention and performance in humans; cognitive control, effects of event history and expectancy in decision making, dual-task interference, and planning and control of voluntary movements.
  • Dr Akira O’Connor: cognitive and neuroscientific studies of recognition, memory decision-making, subjective memory sensation, and mathematical modelling of memory processes.
  • Dr Mike Oram: the neurophysiology underlying behaviour, particularly primate visual information processing and how this might lead to psychological phenomena related to perception.
  • Dr Thomas Otto: the interface between perceptual and cognitive neuroscience using mainly mental chronometry and mathematical modelling as methods.
  • Professor David Perrett: how we recognise facial attributes and understand actions of others.
  • Dr Reiner Sprengelmeyer: clinical and cognitive human neuropsychology (deficits associated with basal ganglia disorders) and neuropsychiatry (neuropsychiatric disorders).
  • Dr Dhanraj Vishwanath: 3D visual cognition, visuomotor control, eye movement, and visual displays.

Neuroscience research groups

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience currently has three research groups:

The Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution (SoLaCE)

Research in SoLaCE combines theoretical, observational and experimental studies of both wild and captive populations of animals. A wide range of animal groups are studied, ranging from fish to birds and mammals, including human and non-human primates.

Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences (IBANS)

IBANS was created to bring together researchers interested in the study of behaviour, cognition and neuroscience. Research is conducted in silico, with experimental tissues or subjects in the lab, and even by observing animals in their natural habitats.

Scottish Primate Research Group (SPRG)

The SPRG focuses research on the natural behaviour, mentality and ecology of primates. Results often inform welfare and conservation policies, and members of the SPRG do not conduct invasive primate research.

Neuroscience research portal

Neuroscience facilities

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience is equipped with modern technology to perform virtually all aspects of neuroscientific research. 

Facilities include laboratories in:

There are also extensive computing facilities for both online control of experiments and offline analysis of data. 

Careers for graduates in Neuroscience

The School provides opportunities to gain experience of working in an academic context, by being involved in tutorials, laboratory classes and other aspects of academic work.

The vast majority of Neuroscience students have gained postdoctoral and lecturing positions in universities across the world while others have jobs in healthcare (as researchers and clinicians), wildlife conservation, information technology and management services.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.

Undergraduate

Find out about undergraduate funding opportunities offered by the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships

Postgraduate students

The Scottish Funding Council is offering a scholarship up to £7,500 for applicants to the Psychology of Dementia Care course.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out about funding for PhD research at St Andrews.

Funding for PhD students

Awards

Athena SWAN award

The School of Psychology and Neuroscience is determined to foster an inclusive environment that promotes equality and values diversity. In 2014, the School was awarded the Athena SWAN bronze award in recognition of its commitment to advancing the careers of women in science.

REF 2014

Research within the School of Psychology and Neuroscience was ranked second in Scotland by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework with 84% of the research rated world leading and internationally excellent.

University league tables

Psychology at St Andrews was ranked first in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2017 and first in Scotland by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017 and the Complete University Guide 2017 for student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects.

Contact

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

Phone: +44 (0) 1334 462157
Email: psych@st-andrews.ac.uk

Psychology and Neuroscience website

Psychology and Neuroscience research portal