Course Overview

Knowledge derived from neuroscience research in mental health, psychology, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration is revolutionizing how we think about and treat mental disorders. A thorough grounding in neuroscience is fast becoming an essential step for a career in academic and clinical psychology, psychiatry, and careers in neuroscience more broadly.

In response to that need this program is designed for students with backgrounds in psychology, medicine, pharmacology, and other biomedical and neuroscience related disciplines. It will equip students with a set of core skills in the field of clinical neuroscience including in-depth understanding of neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, and neuropsychiatry. Students will have opportunities to learn through practical hands-on experience.

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

The course will be delivered by internationally recognised researchers and clinicians from NUI Galway’s newly established Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics Center (NICOG)and the NCBES Galway Neuroscience Center (GNC), giving students access to rich and diverse expertise in neuroanatomy, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology, pharmacology & human genetics. 

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Second Class Honours NQAI Level 8 degree or equivalent in a discipline relating to neuroscience. Qualifying degrees include, but are not limited to, psychology, medicine, pharmacology and biomedical science.

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year full-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15

Closing Date

 Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90 ECTS

Award

MSc

CAO

Course code

1CNS1

Course Outline

The course will be of a content and format consistent with highest standards for postgraduate courses, consisting of 90 ECTS credits obtained by completion of course modules. Teaching approaches will consist of didactic lectures, Problem based learning, Seminars, Workshops, Journal Clubs, practicals and completion of a research dissertation, as well as subject specific training in a range of areas relevant to clinical neuroscience. Students will also receive valuable training in current research methodologies, being facilitated to study in-depth those methodologies most interesting to them (e.g. systematic review methodologies, wet-bench methodologies, software methodologies, etc). 

Modules include:

  • Introduction to Neuroscience & Neuroanatomy
  • Genomics of Rare and Common Diseases
  • Basic & Applied Pharmacology
  • Clinical & Experimental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical & Experimental Neuroimaging
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Methods: Systematic reviews & Meta-analysis
  • Applied Statistics
  • Clinical & Research Methodologies in Neuroscience.  

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required PS6130: Clinical and Experimental Cognitive Neuroscience


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Cognitive neuroscience is an approach to investigate and test theories about cognitive processes by examining behavioral performance in health and in clinical disorders. This module reviews the ways in which cognitive methodologies have been used to test ideas about the nature of brain processes and systems involved in core cognitive (and related) processes including: perception, memory, and attention. A major focus of the module will be to understand the cognitive basis of mental disorders.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate both knowledge and understanding of the impact of neuropsychological impairment on occupation
  2. Describe and understand the processes involved in memory, attention, perception and language in human beings
  3. Describe and understand the cognitive consequences for the individual of a neurological or neurosurgical condition.
  4. Describe and understand the processes and relevant issues involved in the rehabilitation of an individual who has experienced a neurological or neurosurgical condition.
  5. Describe the roles of the different professional groups represented by the students studying with them on this module at an introductory level.
  6. Demonstrate a logical and systematic approach to problem solving and decision making.
  7. Use resource material effectively in the learning situation and present information relevant to understanding/responding to acquired or developmental brain disorders.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology" by Kolb & Wishaw
    Publisher: Worth Press
  2. "Introduction to Neuropsychology" by Beaumont, G
    Publisher: Guilford Press
  3. "Introducing Neuropsychology" by Elliott R, Stirling J
    Publisher: Psychology Press
The above information outlines module PS6130: "Clinical and Experimental Cognitive Neuroscience" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM209: Applied Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to autonomic pharmacology and drug discovery and development. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the process of adrenergic and cholinergic neurotransmission including receptors and transporters.
  2. Relate drug mechanism of action to autonomic neurotransmission
  3. Describe how new molecular entities are discovered and developed into drug candidates for human clinical trials
  4. Summarize the clinical trial process including adverse effects
  5. Derive dose-response curves for agonists and antagonists in the ANS
  6. Interpret clinical trial data
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A
The above information outlines module PM209: "Applied Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM208: Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to fundamental pharmacological concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.

Learning Outcomes
  1. describe the main drug targets
  2. interpret dose response curves for agonists, antagonists, inverse agonists
  3. calculate molarities, concentrations, volumes required in making solutions
  4. access and critically analyse and interpret pharmacological data
  5. describe the processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion for specific drugs
  6. explain the effects of different routes of administration on absorption of drugs, and effects of food and drug interactions on drug disposition
  7. derive pharmacokinetic data and use them to predict clinical properties of drugs
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E., et al
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A.
The above information outlines module PM208: "Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS6133: Neuropsychiatry and Mental Health


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module will serve as an introduction to the fields of neuropsychiatry & mental health. Contents will include psychiatric illness features, classification, course and treatment with respect to several of the major psychiatric disorders including mood and anxiety disorders, psychosis and schizophrenia. This module will heavily emphasise a neurobiological understanding of these disorders.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Be familiar with the fundamental illness features, course, diagnosis, and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, psychosis and schizophrenia among other psychiatric illnesses.
  2. Identify and speak about some of the key biological theories and strategies currently used to study psychiatric brain disorders such as the mood and anxiety disorders, psychosis, and schizophrenia.
  3. Discuss and debate key contemporary issues and difficulties faced in translating neuroscience for improving clinical care.
  4. Demonstrate an intellectual command of the fundamentals of translational research in psychiatry
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Textbook of Psychiatry" by B.K. Puri, P.J. Laking, I.H. Treasaden
    ISBN: 978-044307016.
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry" by David Semple, Roger Smyth
    ISBN: 978-019923946.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
  3. "Rutter's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry" by Sir Michael Rutter, Dorothy Bishop, Daniel Pine, Stephen Scott, Jim S. Stevenson, Eric A. Taylor, Anita Thapar
    ISBN: 978-140514549.
    Publisher: Blackwell
  4. "New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry" by Michael Gelder (Editor), Nancy Andreasen (Editor), Juan Lopez-Ibor (Editor), John Geddes (Editor)
    ISBN: 9780199206698.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  5. "Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications" by Stephen M. Stahl
    ISBN: 97811076864.
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The above information outlines module PS6133: "Neuropsychiatry and Mental Health" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS6131: Research Methods in Neuroscience


Semester 2 | Credits: 15

This module will enable participants to develop the knowledge and core skills for conducting an applied piece of research in neuroscience. Students will be attached to a lab based group carrying out molecular or cellular research in a neuroscience area and led by a Galway Neuroscience Center PI.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Employ a range of laboratory techniques relevant to neuroscience.
  2. Prepare laboratory materials and apparatus relevant to cellular or microscopy.
  3. Carry out protocols related to the competent use of the relevant apparatus and materials.
  4. Show understanding of the research questions that can be addressed using the methodologies and techniques being practiced.
  5. Collect, collate and interpret data gathered using the tools and techniques applied.
  6. Write up the results of the experiments undertaken as a report.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PS6131: "Research Methods in Neuroscience" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AN4104: Clinical Neuroimaging & Radiological Anatomy


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This series of lectures and workshops will introduce you to medical imaging modalities, including imaging equipment, techniques/methods of image acquisition, and basic image processing and analysis using matlab. It will explore the applications and integration of medical imaging with anatomical, clinical and in vivo research applications in human anatomical and neuroscience research settings with a focus on biological psychiatry.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Translate and integrate knowledge of gross anatomy and neuroanatomy to modern medical images
  2. Describe and compare the basics regarding the equipment, acquisition method or technique of image acquisition
  3. Recognize and differentiate medial image types used in diagnostic radiology, describe basic image properties in particular the measurements represented and interpret changes or differences presented in a given image
  4. Demonstrate basic abilities in medical image processing and a general understanding of image visualization, processing and analysis methods
  5. Compare and integrate the use of medical imaging and neuroimaging modalities in anatomical, clinical or research neuroscience applications in vivo in humans
  6. Ultimately you should develop the capacity to effectively research any imaging or neuroimaging modality you encounter in the future
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (40%)
  • Department-based Assessment (60%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Netter's Introduction to Imaging: with Student Consult Access" by Larry R. Cochard PhD, Lori A Goodhartz, Carla Harmath
    ISBN: 9781437707595.
    Publisher: Saunders
  2. "Imaging atlas of human anatomy" by n/a
    ISBN: 9780723434573.
    Publisher: Mosby Elsevier
The above information outlines module AN4104: "Clinical Neuroimaging & Radiological Anatomy" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PS6132: Dissertation


Semester 2 | Credits: 30

This module constitutes the written thesis component of the degree. This module will build on the outline proposal developed during the basic and applied modules and will be conducted in collaboration with an assigned supervisor. In this module students will identify a gap in the current literature and the writing of a systematic review
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Have demonstrated literature based research skills.
  2. Have demonstrated academic scientific writing and editing skills to a peer-reviewed academic journals level of quality
  3. Have demonstrated the capacity to apply knowledge gained in prior modules to perform a critical synthesis and evaluation of existing published knowledge in their chosen translational neuroscience review area.
  4. Have begun the process of submitting their review for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal
  5. Identify and distinguish between the main disorders encountered in Neurology
  6. Show familiarity with the neurological damage (e.g. Inflammatory, Vascular) leading to clinical presentation
  7. Compare and contrast neurological versus psychiatric disorders.
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PS6132: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional SI209: Neurophysiology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

The module in Neurophysiology will provide students with a knowledge of the function of the brain and spinal cord. Topics covered will include organisation and function of cell of the central nervous system, motor and somatosensory processing, physiology underlying vision, hearing, sleep, learning, emotion, language, hunger, and thermoregulation. Theoretical learning and understanding of will be aided by laboratory practicals investigating the physiology of vision and hearing.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the principals of somatosensory processing and perception and apply this knowledge to explain acute pain processing
  2. Describe in detail the processes behind spinal reflexes and central control of movement
  3. Describe the physiological processes underlying vision, hearing, sleep, learning, emotion, language, hunger, and thermoregulation
  4. Compare knowledge of the normal CNS function and symptoms associated with pathophysiology
  5. Appreciate of the integrative nature of the CNS
  6. Competence in the practical assessment of aspects of the physiology of vision and hearing
  7. Integrate practical information with theoretical knowledge
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (15%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (85%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SI209: "Neurophysiology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional ST311: Applied Statistics I


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

An introduction to methods and applications in applied statistical inference. This module is offered as an optional module, building on the statistical inferential methods demonstrated in pre-requisite module ST238 or similar modules. Various non-parametric hypothesis tests are demonstrated and a comparison of suitability of applying non-parametric and parametric methods is discussed. The module also builds on regression modelling, where topics covered include model estimation, model checking and inference for simple linear regression and multiple linear regression models, and procedures in variable selection. Models discussed are applicable for a single quantitative response with quantitative and/or qualitative predictors.

Learning Outcomes
  1. demonstrate various non-parametric testing procedures, identify suitability of parametric methods and the their non-parametric alternative test method, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of parametric and non-parametric testing, define the the power of a test and intrepret its meaning in applications, formulate the power function and sketch power curves;
  2. carry out parametric and non-parametric testing procedures with the use of software, Minitab;
  3. calculate and interpret correlations between variables and make inferences about relationships;
  4. formulate a linear regression model, calculate and interpret estimated coefficients and make statistical inferences on the fitted model by carrying out statistical tests using parameter estimates and using the ANOVA table. Regression models discussed include a single quantitative response explained by a single explanatory variable or mutliple explanatory variables which include quantitative and/or categorical explanatory variables and interactions between variables;
  5. obtain fitted values and predictions at new data points, together with associated prediction and confidence intervals;
  6. by calculating regression diagnostics and producing relevant plots check the adequacy of the model specification for the data presented and to check model assumptions, including linearity, normality, constant variance, independence and the presence of outliers and influential points;explore the need for transformations of response and explanatory variables;
  7. interpret and use output from variable selection procedures to choose adequate models, including the best subsets procedure and step-wise;
  8. carry out the regression analysis with the use of software, Minitab;
  9. compile a statistical report, i.e. prepare a typed document which introduces the statistical research question being explored, describes the data collection method applicable to the research, describes relevant features of the sample data obtained, and outlines conclusions from inferential statistical analysis carried out using the sample data, incorporating output and plots from statistical software.
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (70%)
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Applied Linear Regression Models" by Kutner, Nachtsheim & Neter
    Publisher: McGraw Hill
The above information outlines module ST311: "Applied Statistics I" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PS340: Neuropsychology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5


(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. TBA
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PS340: "Neuropsychology" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional AN326: Neuroanatomy


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module describes the anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The cells of the nervous system will be described in detail. Students will learn the function of the neuroanatomical components of the central nervous system and understand how they work together, in particular the cerebral cortex, brainstem, cerebellum, spinal cord, limbic system, thalamus, hypothalamus, visual pathway, etc. Students will sit a 2 hour end of semester exam and will be assessed by a practical exam.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the neuroanatomical structures of the nervous system
  2. Explain the function of the neuroanatomical structures of the nervous system
  3. Describe how the neuroanatomical components of the central nervous system work together and impact each other
  4. Describe the structure and function of neurons and glial cells
  5. Understand the structure and function of the somatosensory and motor sytems
  6. Describe cortical organisation, the limbic system, the hypothalamus, vision, hearing and speech and language
  7. Identify neuroanatomical structures on models, prosected specimens, histological images, medical images and gross anatomy specimens.
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (68%)
  • Department-based Assessment (32%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Neuroanatomy: An Illustrated Colour Text" by Crossman & Neary
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone.
The above information outlines module AN326: "Neuroanatomy" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BI5101: Molecular biology for quantitative scientists


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module provides a concise introduction to key principles and mechanism in molecular cell biology. It comprises an overview of cell structure and the cell cycle including mitosis and meiosis, a description of the molecular properties of DNA and chromosomes, and an introduction to the mechanisms of replication, transcription and translation including gene regulation and epigenetics.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Outline the structure of animal cells and the cell cycle, including mitosis and meiosis
  2. Summarise the structure of DNA and chromosomes and how this enables encoding of genetic information
  3. Explain the mechanisms of DNA replication, gene transcription and translation
  4. Describe the biochemical basis of gene regulation and epigenetics
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (40%)
  • Department-based Assessment (60%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Medical genetics at a glance" by Dorian J. Pritchard, Bruce R. Korf.
    ISBN: 9780470656549.
    Publisher: Chichester; John Wiley & Sons
The above information outlines module BI5101: "Molecular biology for quantitative scientists" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional MA5106: Medical Genomics 1


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the role of genetic variation in human health, and how modern high-throughput genomics techniques are used to identify disease-associated variants in both common and rare genetic disorders - this will include learning the computational and statistical techniques required to perform a GWAS analysis. It will also cover pharmacogenomics and describe its key role in the emerging field of precision medicine.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe different approaches to the design of genomics-based studies and critically evaluate their outcomes.
  2. Perform QC and association testing on GWAS data in order to detect disease-associated variants.
  3. Carry our SNP imputation and check for population structure in a GWAS study.
  4. Use functional genomic data to annotate and prioritize disease-associated variants.
  5. Explain the role of pharmacogenomics and personal genetics in precision medicine.
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module MA5106: "Medical Genomics 1" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PS320: Memory & Cognition


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PS320: "Memory & Cognition" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This is a new and exciting program that will provide graduates with a highly marketable and transferrable combination of neuroscience skills, as well as experience of applying these skills in neuroscience research. Graduates of this program are likely to go on to professional training in Clinical Psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience related posts in industry or undertake further academic work at Ph.D. level. 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,815 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€6,591 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€15,500 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Dr David Mothersill
School of Psychology
T: +353 91 493 457
E: david.mothersill@nuigalway.ie