The BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience explores the interface between psychology and neurobiology and how the brain and the rest of the nervous system work in both health and disease. In your studies, you will be introduced to molecular, cellular and physiological processes; cellular and applied neurobiology; pharmacology and neurochemistry; cognitive and behavioural neuroscience; and clinical psychology.
During your degree, you will receive first-hand research experience in state-of-the-art neuroscience teaching facilities. You will be encouraged to explore a number of different research topics from neurological disorders and drug addictions to motor control and learning processes.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Neuroscience BSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAB, including B in two of the following subjects:
Biology (or Human Biology)
Minimum entry grades: AABB, including B in two of the following subjects:
Biology (or Human Biology)
Gateway entry grades: BBBB, including B in two of the following subjects:
Biology (or Human Biology)
Standard entry grades: AAB, including B in two of the following subjects:
Minimum entry grades: ABB, including B in two of the following subjects:
Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5), including HL5 in two of the following subjects:
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL5 in two of the following subjects:
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
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.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students were satisfied with the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience is a four-year course run by both the School of Biology and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. Your first two years of study provide an introduction to a variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology and biology, including the relations between brain and behaviour, ecological diversity, and cell systems.
The skills you gain in statistical analysis, research and presentation will prepare you for your final two years, during which you will have the opportunity to specialise in a wide range of advanced subjects. Potential subjects include (but are not limited to):
Alongside Biology and Psychology, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional subject. In the second year you will carry on with Biology and Psychology. Find out more about how academic years are organised.
During your final year, you will also carry out a research project on a topic chosen in consultation with staff from the School, or a dissertation in the School of Biology.
The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.
Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:
Biology 1: provides an introduction to molecular and cellular biology. It covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.
Biology 2: provides an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth and addresses key elements of organismal and ecological aspects of life.
Fundamentals of Psychology 1: introduces the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology, and provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.
Fundamentals of Psychology 2: expands upon the topics discussed during Psychology 1 and continues to introduce the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology.
Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:
Cell Biology: introduces the concept of ‘a cell’, moving on to discuss different types of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Cell Systems: explores how cells interact with one another to form complex tissues and organisms.
Psychology 1 (second year): covers the relations between, for example, brain and behaviour, cognition, perception, comparative aspects of behaviour, social and health psychology. It also contains a methodology component covering laboratory and field techniques.
Psychology 2 (second year): provides a more advanced treatment of a number of areas in psychology and extends the range of teaching from Psychology 1.
You will also choose two additional modules out the following selection:
Biochemistry: a number of central metabolic pathways and their control are studied in detail, alongside examples of their importance in disease and recent metabolomic studies.
Comparative Physiology: covers the principles of physiological adaptation in a range of animals, including examples from all major taxa and from all habitats.
Ecology: introduces basic concepts in population and community ecology and how they relate to biodiversity.
Evolutionary Biology: gives an overview of the history and major principles of modern evolutionary biology.
Invertebrate Zoology: surveys the major invertebrate groups, emphasizing the diversity of body plans while demonstrating how the common functional requirements such as feeding, reproduction, respiration and excretion are achieved.
Molecular Biology: provides an introduction to modern molecular biology, covering fundamental biological processes such as transcription, translation, DNA replication and repair.
Research Methods in Biology: develops essential academic and transferable skills, with major emphasis on problem solving. This is achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, independent data-handling workshops and group work on a mini research project.
Vertebrate Zoology: explores the diversity of vertebrate animals, beginning with the closest relatives of vertebrates and the evolutionary origins of the group.
If you decide to take Neuroscience in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options. In third year you will take two compulsory modules in Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology, as well as having the opportunity to attend a focused reading party module at an external location. Over the course of your honours studies you will have the option of studying a wide range of modules ranging from clinical and developmental psychology to cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, with further options in the School of Biology.
Here is a sample of Senior Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:
Research Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
Sex Differences and Gender Development
In fourth year, students can conduct a research project which will involve extensive laboratory or field research to investigate a problem broadly within biology, psychology or neuroscience. The project will culminate in the production of a high-quality report that demonstrates a deep understanding of the chosen area of research.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Neuroscience is taught using a wide variety of methods including traditional lectures, seminars, practicals, tutorials and individual supervision. At sub-honours level, class sizes range from 140 to 350 students in lectures and 40 to 60 students for practical labs down to only 6 to 8 students for small-group tutorials.
At Honours level, much of the teaching is in small groups and there is a considerable amount of one-on-one contact with staff. Class sizes typically range from about 20 to 150 students for lectures (with a maximum of 24 students in a laboratory group), down to individual supervision.
When not attending lectures, tutorials and labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Neuroscience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
You can find contact information for all Neuroscience staff on the School of Psychology and Neuroscience website.
In addition to your studies in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.
Psychology and Neuroscience sub-honours modules are assessed by 25% coursework and 75% multiple choice questions or written examinations. Biology sub-honours modules are assessed by an equal weighting of coursework and written examinations.
At Honours level, modules are either entirely assessed by coursework, by examination, or by a mixture of the two.
Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honoursand in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale web page.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
Neuroscience is a wide and varied field of study, encompassing the workings of the brain and the nervous system. Graduates of Neuroscience degrees go into a range of career areas, including:
medical devices industry
medicine, dentistry and midwifery
neuro-marketing and advertising
regulatory affairs, policy and research administration
research in industry or universities
science communication (publishing and media)
teaching in schools and universities.
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Neuroscience students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad website.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Neuroscience may be interested in joining the following student societies:
Neuroscience Society organises regular social meetups, journal clubs, workshops and other Neuroscience-related events
Psychology Society organises academic activities such as lectures and trips to Edinburgh Zoo, as well as weekly lunches, a ball and other kinds of socials.
Biology Society organises regular social meetups and biology-related events throughout the year.
Neuroscience students will typically take their modules in the beautiful Old Library building and in the Carnegie wing of the Bute building, located inside St Mary’s Quad on the south side of town. Students will typically take their Biology modules in the Medical and Biomolecular Sciences building at the North Haugh on the western edge of town.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh makes it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
"Neuroscience is one of the smaller science subjects at St Andrews, which makes it feel more personal and involved. The lecturers are great at integrating pieces of their own research into lectures, which also gives us the opportunity to learn further about related research happening around the University."
Maddy (Massachusetts, USA)
School of Psychology and Neuroscience University of St Andrews St Mary's Quad South Street St Andrews KY16 9JP
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).