Neuroscience (MRes) 2022 entry

This course provides advanced training in 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 course work. You will have opportunities to pursue research interest in depth.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Research (MRes)

Course dates

  • Start date: 29 August 2022
  • End date: 30 September 2023

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate degree (typically 2.1 standard or higher) in a science-related subject (for example, 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.

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Tuition fees

Home: £10,395
Overseas: £25,450

Application deadline

There are two deadlines: 19 November 2021 and 18 February 2022. Applications received after 18 February may be accepted if places are still available, but applicants should contact the programme coordinator first for advice.

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
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

Potential supervisors may vary from year to year. MRes neuroscience students are typically supervised by academic staff within the cellular and behaviour neuroscience group. However, academic staff in other research groups may supervise students in certain instances. Questions about suitability of potential supervisors should be directed in the first instance to the programme coordinator, Stefan Pulver (

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

Course information

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


  • 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).

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
  • laboratory practicals
  • guided independent study.

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


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 which is for the 2021–2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

  • Techniques and Skills in Neuroscience Research: examines state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques through critical analysis of primary literature.

Students choose two 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.
  • 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.
  • Evolution and Human Behaviour: introduces and critically evaluate the main evolutionary approaches currently being used, including socio-biology, evolutionary psychology, behavioural ecology and gene-culture co-evolution.
  • 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 some of the 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.
  • Neural Basis of Episodic Memory: examines how the brain enables us to remember information from our personal experience.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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 modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

Conferences and events

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


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MRes

Research degrees

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

PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience


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 on a taught postgraduate course and provides resources specific for neuroscientists, including guidance on career options and opportunities to connect to neuroscience alumni through the University’s social networking programme, Saint Connect.

"This taught programme also provides guidance on improving your research skills and knowledge. The clubs and events are diverse and engaging so you get to know academic staff and students. The best was getting involved in student representation – postgraduate voices are so important!"

- Texas, USA


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

Phone: +44 (0) 1334 462157
Programme Coordinator, Stefan Pulver (
Postgraduate Administrator, Helen Sunderland (

School of Psychology and Neuroscience


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

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.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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