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Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology

CT scans of a human brain.
Credit: Dreamstime

Available with a foundation year Available with a industrial/professional experience

Our Biomedical Sciences BSc.

One of the most challenging problems in modern biology is to understand the behaviour of both animals and humans in terms of brain mechanisms and evolutionary principles. Approaches to this problem are diverse, varying from the study of biological systems at the molecular level, to analysis of human performance. By combining studies of major topics in experimental psychology and neuroscience, this course provides a broad background in this exciting field of behavioural science.

The psychology component covers topics such as: how humans and animals think (cognitive processes); how the world is sensed (perception); comparative and developmental studies; and abnormal psychology. The neuroscience component of the course covers topics such as animal behaviour, learning and memory, the action of drugs on the nervous system, and how humans and animals sense and respond to their environment.

Our degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which means as well as providing a solid foundation for a career in the life sciences, it also constitutes your first step towards professional chartered psychologist status.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

First year

Compulsory modules

BIOL10000    Academic Tutorials Year 1
BIOL10401    Introduction to Laboratory Science
BIOL10422    Introduction to Experimental Biology - Human Biology
BIOL10701    Data Handling Skills 1
BIOL10722    Data Handling Skills 2
BIOL10822    Drugs: From Molecules to Man
BIOL10832    Excitable Cells
BIOL12000    Health & Safety online course
BIOL12020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 1)
PSYC10211    Intoduction to Developmental Psychology
PSYC10711    Introduction to Social Psychology
PSYC11212    Brain & Cognition
PSYC11312    Sensation & Perception

Optional modules

BIOL10212    Biochemistry
BIOL10221    Molecular Biology
BIOL10232    From Molecules to Cells
BIOL10521    Genes, Evolution and Development
BIOL10642    Field Course in Animal Behaviour
BIOL10811    Body Systems

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20021    2nd Year Tutorial (Sem 1 - Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology)
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL20922    Neuroscience RSM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)
PSYC21012    Perception and Action
PSYC21021    Topics and Issues in Developmental Psychology
PSYC21022    Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC21042    Individual Differences in Mental Health & Wellbeing
PSYC21051    Topics and Issues in Social Psychology
PSYC21061    Statistics and Data Analysis

Optional modules

BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"
UCOL23002    Figuring Out Society: Data in the News
UCOL25002    The Digital Society
UCOL28002    You Can't Say That!: Learning to think and argue critically

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3

Optional modules

BIOL30030    Projects
BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
PSYC30241    Occupational Psychology
PSYC30520    Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology Project
PSYC31121    Language Acquisition
PSYC31122    Emotion
PSYC31131    Evolution of Communication
PSYC31132    Clinical Cases in Neuroscience
PSYC31142    Time, Sleep & Memory
PSYC31151    Qualitative Research Methods
PSYC31181    Non-Verbal Communication
PSYC31211    Forensic Psychology
PSYC31212    Lifestyle Behaviour Change
PSYC31222     Clinical Psychology
PSYC31232    Communication in Healthcare
SOCY30822    Mind & Society

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

First year

Compulsory modules

BIOL10000    Academic Tutorials Year 1
BIOL10401    Introduction to Laboratory Science
BIOL10422    Introduction to Experimental Biology - Human Biology
BIOL10701    Data Handling Skills 1
BIOL10722    Data Handling Skills 2
BIOL10822    Drugs: From Molecules to Man
BIOL10832    Excitable Cells
BIOL12000    Health & Safety online course
BIOL12020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 1)
PSYC10211    Intoduction to Developmental Psychology
PSYC10711    Introduction to Social Psychology
PSYC11212    Brain & Cognition
PSYC11312    Sensation & Perception

Optional modules

BIOL10212    Biochemistry
BIOL10221    Molecular Biology
BIOL10232    From Molecules to Cells
BIOL10521    Genes, Evolution and Development
BIOL10642    Field Course in Animal Behaviour
BIOL10811    Body Systems

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20021    2nd Year Tutorial (Sem 1 - Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology)
BIOL20701    Data Handling Skills 3
BIOL20922    Neuroscience RSM
BIOL21090    Dissertation
BIOL21321    Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action
BIOL21332    Motor Systems
BIOL21341    Sensory Systems
BIOL21701    Critical Writing Skills
BIOL22020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 2)
PSYC21012    Perception and Action
PSYC21021    Topics and Issues in Developmental Psychology
PSYC21022    Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC21042    Individual Differences in Mental Health & Wellbeing
PSYC21051    Topics and Issues in Social Psychology
PSYC21061    Statistics and Data Analysis

Optional modules

BIOL20552    Tropical Ecology & Conservation (RSM Field Course)
BIOL20682    Field course in Tropical Biology (RSM)
BIOL20872    Urban Biodiversity & Conservation RSM
BIOL21101    Genome Maintenance & Regulation
BIOL21111    Proteins
BIOL21121    The Dynamic Cell
BIOL21132    Cell Metabolism & Metabolic Control
BIOL21141    Cell Membrane Structure & Function
BIOL21152    'Omic Technologies & Resources
BIOL21162    Chemistry of Biomolecules
BIOL21172    Principles of Developmental Biology
BIOL21181    Prokaryotic Microbiology
BIOL21192    Principles of Infectious Disease
BIOL21202    Plants for the Future
BIOL21211    Ecology & Ecosystems
BIOL21221    Animal Diversity
BIOL21232    Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology
BIOL21242    Immunology
BIOL21252    Parasitology
BIOL21261    Endocrinology
BIOL21272    Gut and Renal Human Physiology
BIOL21281    Animal Physiology
BIOL21291    Human Anatomy & Histology
BIOL21302    Clinical Drug Development
BIOL21312    Drugs & the Brain
BIOL21351    Molecules and Cells in Human Disease
BIOL21361    Haematology
BIOL21371    Organismal Genetics
BIOL21381    Introduction to Virology
BIOL21432    Animal Behaviour
UCOL20021    Leadership in Action
UCOL20022    Leadership in Action
UCOL20031    Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL20032     Leadership in Action (online unit)
UCOL23001    Science & Humanities: Bridging the "Two Cultures"
UCOL23002    Figuring Out Society: Data in the News
UCOL25002    The Digital Society
UCOL28002    You Can't Say That!: Learning to think and argue critically

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30000    Academic Tutorials Year 3

Optional modules

BIOL30030    Projects
BIOL31301    Post-Genome Biology (L)
BIOL31311    Protein Assembly, Dynamics & Function (E)
BIOL31321    Glycobiology: Glycobiology in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31332    Biochemical Basis of Disease (E)
BIOL31341    Macromolecular Recognition in Biological Systems (L)
BIOL31351    Current Topics in Microbiology (E)
BIOL31362    Bacterial Infections of Man (E)
BIOL31371    Advanced Immunology (E)
BIOL31381    Gene Regulation & Disease (E)
BIOL31391    Evolution of Genes, Genomes & Systems (E)
BIOL31402    Human Genetics & Evolution (E)
BIOL31411    Protein Sorting (L)
BIOL31441    Cell Signalling (E)
BIOL31451    Comparative Developmental Biol (L)
BIOL31461    Chemical Communication in Animals (L)
BIOL31471    Advanced Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
BIOL31482    Conservation Biology (E)
BIOL31501    Green Biotechnology (E)
BIOL31511    Biotic Interactions (L)
BIOL31522    Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science & Biomedicine (E)
BIOL31541    Living with Climate Change (L)
BIOL31551    Human Impacts on the Biosphere (E)
BIOL31561    Human Reproductive Biology (E)
BIOL31571    Advanced Endocrinology (L)
BIOL31582    Cardiovascular Systems (E)
BIOL31591    Advanced Ion Transport (E)
BIOL31602    Toxins, Toxicants & Toxicity (E)
BIOL31612    Neuroinflammation in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31622    Ion Transport in Health & Disease (E)
BIOL31631    Imaging in Biomedical Research (E)
BIOL31642    Advanced Developmental Biology (E)
BIOL31651    Advances in Anatomical Sciences (L)
BIOL31671    Neuropharmacology of Human Health (E)
BIOL31681    Clocks, Sleep & the Rhythms of Life (E)
BIOL31692    Learning, Memory & Cognition (E)
BIOL31721    Hormones & Behaviour
BIOL31732    Developmental Neurobiology (E)
BIOL31742    Molecular Biology of Cancer (E)
BIOL31751    Stem Cells (L)
BIOL31771    Cell Adhesion (L)
BIOL31802    Immune Response & Disease (E)
BIOL31812    Chemistry of Biological Processes (E)
PSYC30241    Occupational Psychology
PSYC30520    Cognitive Neuroscience & Psychology Project
PSYC31121    Language Acquisition
PSYC31122    Emotion
PSYC31131    Evolution of Communication
PSYC31132    Clinical Cases in Neuroscience
PSYC31142    Time, Sleep & Memory
PSYC31151    Qualitative Research Methods
PSYC31181    Non-Verbal Communication
PSYC31211    Forensic Psychology
PSYC31212    Lifestyle Behaviour Change
PSYC31222     Clinical Psychology
PSYC31232    Communication in Healthcare
SOCY30822    Mind & Society

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Students say...

Zahra Khatib

“My course allows me the rare opportunity to appreciate abstract scientific concepts on real-life and visible levels. I am looking forward to undertaking research projects in my second and final years, not only for the chance to focus on the areas of Neuroscience and Psychology which have most interested me so far, but also to help in deciding where next to steer my post-graduate education.”

Zahra Khatib

Careers

Some graduates from this degree choose to pursue careers in clinical psychology (our degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society ). This is a very competitive profession that requires further training and professional experience. Alternatively, Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology graduates are well qualified to work as researchers in universities, pharmaceutical and bioscience companies and institutes. Some of our graduates progress into laboratory-based careers in clinical or technical roles which do not involve research. The transferable skills you will develop will also leave you well equipped for a wide range of careers outside the lab. Recent graduates have secured roles as:

  • Research Scientist at a multinational consumer products company
  • Research Assistant at a university
  • Trainee Science Teacher
  • Psychology Assistant at a prison

Please see the Faculty of Life Sciences Careers page  for more information.

Course director

Maria Canal

Maria Canal

Neuroscience is one of the most exciting and fast developing research areas, and there is still a lot to be discovered on how the brain works and develops under healthy conditions, but also on the mechanisms behind and consequences of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and stroke, and behind mental health disorders such as depression and substance abuse. Here at Manchester we pride ourselves on having top researchers in the fields of Neuroscience and Psychology, working on anything from neuronal networks to computational models and disease mechanisms, from experiments that tackle fundamental questions about perception, cognition and emotion to more applied work on psychological health and well-being. These researchers teach on the Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Degree, sharing their knowledge and experience with undergraduate students.

My particular research focuses in understanding how the biological clock in the brain develops during the postnatal period. The biological clock is responsible for the 24-hour changes in our physiology and behaviour, such as our sleep-wake rhythm, intellectual and sports performance, body temperature, etc. We know that the environment an organism is raised in during the critical postnatal developmental period will have long-term consequences on this individual’s behaviour and health later in life. This is important particularly for preterm babies, who may be exposed to abnormal environments in the neonatal intensive care units.

As a shared Degree, I work very closely with Deborah Talmi of the School of Psychology. A cognitive neuroscientist herself, Deborah’s research focuses on the interaction between cognition and emotion. In her research she asks how emotional experiences change the way people learn, remember, and make decisions. Deborah uses a variety of methodologies to answer these questions, including behavioural experiments, psychophysiology and neuroimaging.

Being taught by researchers at the forefront of the field is one of the most exciting things that can happen to you in this program. Also, the flexibility and options available in the Degree of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, especially in the final year, are wide: from lectures and seminars, to field courses, to lab practicals, to research/media/enterprise projects, both in neuroscience- and also psychology-related areas. By building on core scientific knowledge and transferable skills, the Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Degree aims to prepare students for their future professional careers.

Graduate Profiles

Max Drakeley

Max Drakeley

What was the highlight and biggest challenge of your course?

The highlight and biggest challenge of my course was my placement year at the University of Rhode Island, USA. It required me to be very proactive and independent in both organising the placement and conducting research while on it. I loved getting away from the UK making some lifelong friends, whilst also being treated like a postgraduate researcher at the University. The highlight was publishing a paper based on the experiment I conducted whilst living in a beach hut in Puerto Rico! 

What job/course do you do now and what does it involve?

Currently I’m studying for a Masters in Organisational Psychology at the Manchester Business School. As my Cognitive Neuroscience course was accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), I was able to study an accredited masters course related to Occupational Psychology - the study of people in organisations, a topic covered in my final year of my undergraduate which I really enjoyed.  

How did the skills you learnt in your degree (and/or extracurricular activities) help you get onto your course?

My Masters course is demanding but I haven’t felt too out of my depth (yet!) due to the experiences I gained during my undergraduate degree. In particular, being able to critically evaluate scientific papers, picking apart methodologies and understanding complex statistics is hugely beneficial.

A large component of my course is research based and I feel the research modules and in particular, my placement year, have fully prepared me for the critical thinking required as a postgraduate.

There were other factors that contributed to being accepted on my course. I also did plenty of part time work or internships during my degree, which gives you an understanding of the “world of work” which unsurprisingly is beneficial for someone studying people in organisations.

What do you plan to do next?

I would love to complete a PhD combining the Neuroscience of Sleep with shift work. My Masters dissertation looks at sleep deprivation and fatigue in junior doctors, a real hot topic in organisational psychology at the moment. However, I’m also tempted to follow the chartered Psychologist route, potentially taking a research oriented role with a wellbeing consultancy or in-house Psychologist role within the MoD.

Any advice for applicants?

My biggest piece of advice is to do what interests you and study something that you’re passionate about. I am very lucky to have found a course that offered the best of both worlds in two related topics I was very intellectually curious about, there’s no point in doing a degree in something you don’t enjoy.

Join societies, you’ll never have the opportunity to get involved with extracurricular activities like you do at University, and they’ll be as much part of your life as your course will (if not more). Be pro-active in seeking employment while at University, it’s great getting amazing results from your degree but if you’ve never worked a day in your life then your employability as a graduate is lowered greatly. 

Questions? Get in touch...

We are always pleased to talk to prospective students and we have dedicated people to answer any questions you may have - so don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions Office
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester
G.683 Stopford Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PT UK
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5032
Fax: +44 (0)161 275 5456
Email: ug.lifesciences@manchester.ac.uk