Module code: BMS2048

Module Overview

This module is designed  to introduce the structure and function of the nervous system in animals and humans - with a focus on providing information across different levels of explanation, including single molecules, cellular, neuronal networks and complex behaviours. The students will develop a more in-depth understanding of some aspects linked to the nervous system and brain function introduced in BMS2038.

Students will develop their skills in understanding, writing and synthesis of scientific data by presenting published neuroscientific results in a poster or essay format.  

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

BARTSCH Ullrich (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 99

Lecture Hours: 15

Tutorial Hours: 15

Guided Learning: 6

Captured Content: 15

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BMS1032 Introduction to Principles of Physiology and Practical Skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Lectures will be interactive and various digital tools (e.g., Kahoot!, Poll everywhere, Surrey Learn) will be used to support student active engagement (e.g., self-testing, further prompting discussion)

  • Topics include:

    • Learn about the basics of the nervous system and how to study it (e.g., structure of the nervous system, monitoring and manipulating the working brain, animal models to study the brain, brain cells and development, neuronal communication)

    • Higher brain functions (memory, motivation, language, sex differences, consciousness)

    • Aging and neurodegeneration

  • Assignments will help develop writing and synthesis skills in poster and/or essay formats to ensure students are familiarised with key communications media used in neuroscience.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their fundamental knowledge and understanding of key neuroscience concepts and the ability to integrate this knowledge across multiple levels of explanation. The module will also provide the students with the ability to discuss and critically reflect on neuroscience research and data.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of one summary of a current neuroscience research topic (40%) and one short essay ( 60%, part of a 36-hour open book exam)

Both assessments address all learning outcomes (1, 2, 3, 4 ,5), with the final examination putting more emphasis on outcome 4.

The Formative assessments will test factual knowledge using MCQs during tutorials and interactive learning (e.g., PollEv, Kahoot!) during lectures. Examples of essay questions will be discussed in tutorials to provide formative experiences and feedback on exam-like content. A particular emphasis will be given on synthesis skills on lectures content covering various aspects of neuroscience.

Feedback will be provided:

  • Directly to students throughout the module, specifically during tutorials in form of quizzes and Q&A sessions

  • On the Coursework (essay/poster) within three weeks of submission and returned to students with detailed comments for feedback that can be used for the final exam and other coursework with similar format

  • During special feedback sessions organised for additional questions and answers at the end of the semester.

Module aims

  • To introduce the structure and function of the nervous system
  • Provide an understanding of fundamental biochemical and biological processes that underlie brain function in health and disease
  • Introduce state-of-the-art techniques employed in current neuroscience research
  • Develop synthesis and presentation skills applied to neuroscientific data, which are fundamental skills for employability in science more generally.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a basic understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system KC
002 Understand concepts of experimental techniques employed in neuroscience research KCPT
003 Show knowledge of neuronal mechanisms underlying complex brain functions in health and disease KC
004 Integrate knowledge across multiple levels of explanation in neuroscience KCPT
005 Develop skills in poster design/scientific writing and critical thinking applied to neuroscientific concepts and data. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop neuroscience-specific knowledge

  • Develop cross-disciplinary knowledge relevant to biochemistry and biological sciences

  • Provide formative feedback, class discussion and summative examinations

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • A balanced blend of Lectures and Tutorials to allows students to revisit and consolidate the knowledge acquired on a weekly basis.

  • Some captured content will provide additional material and information related to lectures. Via weekly discussions, this extra material will be used for guided learning discussed during the weekly tutorials.

  • Independent learning to revise lecture content, write coursework and prepare for examinations

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS2048

Other information

Other Information:

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital

Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is

designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:



Resourcefulness & resilience:

This module supports the development of resourcefulness and resilience through clear communication and active

engagement with students. The module provides clear and extended guidance on coursework and examinations.

The module team encourages early planning and use of different learning techniques in tutorial sessions dedicated to

coursework and examinations.



Global & cultural capabilities:

The Module includes a lecture "Sex and the brain" which highlights genetic and neuronal mechanisms of gender and

neuro-diversity. Follow-up seminars encourage students to critically evaluate scientific evidence and discuss the

findings in the larger group.


Digital capabilities:

The module encourages students to use discussion forums to exchange questions regarding the module content,

The coursework requires students to use crucial software such as Microsoft Office, literature databases and

reference managers to create a scientific publication. Additional content will be delivered via video platforms such as

Youtube and Panopto. The module employs digital tools such as Kahoot and PollEV for quizzes and feedback.

Employability: The module provides several transferrable and practical skills that increase employability. Knowledge of neuroscientific methods is crucial for understanding scientific data acquisition and analysis, which are crucial skills for an academic career in research. The coursework focuses on dissecting and summarising scientific literature which is an essential skill for working in the pharmaceutical industry or science communication. The lecture content links neuroscience to real-life applications of techniques and disease mechanisms which is relevant for clinical and health sciences.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.