Neuroscience (MRes) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

This course provides advanced training in integrative neuroscience research, allowing you to acquire the skills needed to succeed as an independent research scientist. You will conduct a year-long research project in a single laboratory while learning techniques and skills through coursework. You will have opportunities to pursue research interests in depth.

Start date
1 week before start of session August/September 2024 (exact date TBC)
End date
September 2025
One year full time
School of Psychology and Neuroscience

Application deadline

There are two deadlines: 8 November 2023 and 7 February 2024. Applications received after 7 February may be accepted if places are still available until 1 June, but applicants should contact the programme coordinator first for advice.

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

“This MRes was a way for me to continue in research and further develop my skills. I knew I wanted to practice clinical medicine with some involvement in research, and I think this programme provides a valuable bridge to medical school for people with similar future goals. What sets this programme apart from others is the heavy emphasis on longitudinal research. The challenge of navigating your own year-long research project is daunting, but also a tremendous growth opportunity. The other great part of this programme is the small size and resulting opportunities for close relationships with colleagues and faculty. ”
- Medical Student, Frank H Netter MD School of Medicine, USA

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate degree (typically 2.1 or higher) in a science-related subject (e.g. neuroscience, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology or computer science). If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • Candidates with other suitable and equivalent qualifications such as relevant work experience or research accomplishments will also be considered.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé 
  • personal statement, including names of 3 potential supervisors (500 words maximum) 
  • two letters of recommendation 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MRes in Neuroscience is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. The Programme Coordinator is Dr. Stefan Pulver ( 


  • An intensive week-long introductory module prepares students for the programme before the start of Semester 1. 
  • The programme includes a streamlined taught component, comprised of compulsory and optional modules (60 credits).  
  • Students conduct a year-long research project in a single laboratory (120 credits). 


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

  • Neuroscience Research Design Reading Party: is an introductory module designed to provide an intensive introduction to designing and carrying out integrative 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. 

Students choose two additional optional modules, examples of optional modules that may be offered include: 

  • Advanced Microscopy and Image Analysis - Seeing is Believing: introduction to advanced imaging techniques, such as Confocal, Super-resolution, TIRF and Electron Microscopy. 
  • Advanced Principles of Neuroscience: primarily for students who have not studied neuroscience previously, this module covers basic biochemical, cellular and behavioural aspects of the nervous system in health and disease. 
  • Behavioural Neuroscience: allows students to access current research in the area of behavioural neuroscience. Possible topics include motivation, learning and attention.  
  • Biology and Behaviour of Social Insects: examines and compares the biology of the four main groups of social insects: termites, ants, wasps and bees.
  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology: aims to cover some of the main, current themes in evolutionary developmental biology. 
  • Mechanisms of Behaviour: Integrating Psychological and Neuroscience Perspectives: explores many physiological and neural systems that modulate patterns of behaviour in a range of species, including humans.
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Trafficking: considers how molecules control the movement of substances through the secretory pathway, but will focus on how cells regulate the release of contents. 
  • Motoneurons: From Physiology to Pathology: provides an in-depth knowledge of key aspects of neuronal function and potential dysfunction by focusing on motoneurons.
  • Memory mechanisms and Alzheimer’s disease: examines how the brain enables us to remember information from our personal experience.
  • Neuroethology: focuses mainly on behaviours arising from the interactions between predators and their prey. 
  • Neuromodulation: explores the diverse range of neuromodulatory mechanisms and outlines their importance in information processing in the nervous system. 
  • Research Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience: showcases the state-of-the-art approach of observing the brain in action to to understand the physical bases of behaviour.  
  • Synaptic Transmission in Health and Disease: 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. 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students  (see the University's position on curriculum development). 

Students will spend one year conducting a 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 Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MRes. 


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 
  • laboratory practicals 
  • guided independent study. 

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. 

The modules are assessed principally by written work and oral or online presentations. 


The School of Psychology and Neuroscience hosts a weekly seminar programme typically held online or in the Old Library of the Psychology Building.

These seminars can include public lectures, open School discussions and papers presented by a variety of guest lecturers from the UK and abroad.  

The School also hosts an annual Jeeves Lecture as part of its seminar programme. The lectures are given by eminent psychologists and neuroscientists. Staff, students and members of the public are welcome at this lecture. 

See the psychology and neuroscience seminar programmes.  




Application fee

Before we can begin processing your application, a payment of an application fee of £50 is required. In some instances, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Details of this, along with information on our tuition fees, can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


A large number of psychology and neuroscience postgraduates have gained postdoctoral and lecturing positions in universities across the world.

They have also gone on to pursue postgraduate medical and veterinary degrees in the EU and UK, as well as overseas.

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 offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

Many 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 to four years of full-time study and the submission of an 80,000-word thesis. 

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0) 1334 462157
School of Psychology and Neuroscience
St Mary's Quad
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JP

School of Psychology and Neuroscience website