Neuroscience Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the brain and the nervous system. It combines physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, computer science, and mathematical modeling to try and understand the properties of neurons and neural circuits. Neuroscientists also focus on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive function and how people think, which allows for further investigation into what happens to the nervous system when people have neurological, psychiatric, or neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research in this field can improve our understanding of the brain and the body, how they work, and the health issues that affect them. Tools used include MRI scans, computerized 3-D models, and experiments using cell and tissue samples. The findings may lead to the development of new medications and treatments that greatly benefit those with neurological disorders in the future.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Neuroscience courses in the following subject areas:

  • Brain Health – The study of the human brain and strategies and habits to enhance brain health.
  • Issues in Brain and Behaviour – The study of addiction and neural aging with a focus on neurobiological and psychological factors, treatments, and therapies.
  • MSc Clinical Neuroscience – Gain knowledge and skills to take on neuroscience research in mental health, psychology, neurodevelopment, and neurodegeneration.
  • Biological Psychology: Exploring the Brain – Investigate the brain and the nervous system with a focus on human health and behavior.
  • Exploring Cognition: Damaged Brains and Neural Networks – The study of cognitive neuropsychology and connectionist modeling.
  • Diploma in Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training – The study of the connection between language, neurological processes, and behaviors.

Studying Neuroscience in college

Many full-time Neuroscience courses run anywhere from 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover all theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or work shadowing in laboratories or healthcare facilities. Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts.

Career options

After completing a course in Neuroscience you will typically work to understand and develop treatments for a range of neurological issues. These include the brain’s function in mental health challenges such as depression or schizophrenia, the impact of trauma on the brain such as stroke and head injury, or the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as epilepsy, motor neuron disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Most neuroscientists are involved in research, working in a range of settings such as universities, pharmaceutical companies, or government agencies.

Much of the work is lab-based, but you’ll also spend time completing administrative tasks in an office setting. Although neuroscience is a growing field, jobs are not available in high numbers. This means you’ll usually need to be flexible and willing to relocate to find work. 

Neuroscience is a fast-moving, multidisciplinary subject that has advanced rapidly over recent years. It has developed a collaborative approach that combines aspects from a range of disciplines including computer science, chemistry, medicine, engineering, linguistics, and mathematics.

Working hours tend to be standard office hours, from 9 am to 5 pm. You may need to be flexible to suit the availability of participants in research projects, or when attending conferences.

Many research projects run for a specified period, often one to three years, meaning that contracts are usually fixed term to suit the project.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic research
  • Teaching
  • Clinical sciences
  • Biotechnology research
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Regulatory affairs, policy and research administration
  • Academic organization and administration

Further study

After completing a course in Neuroscience you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and medicine.


Are there any particular qualities you need to study in Neuroscience?

One of the most underrated qualities in this field is patience, as research progresses slowly. You should have the ability to work independently, as well as within project teams and across disciplines, and excellent organizational and time-management skills.

An interest in how all aspects of the nervous system work and what goes wrong in disease states. Strong research skills in design, implementation, and analysis, including lab work and the ability to think critically, are very important for this type of career.

Strong communication skills are crucial to interact with research subjects and their families, or with clients in the industry. You should have an understanding of scientific writing skills to contribute to journals, magazines, or manuals and a willingness to develop your computer and programming skills. You should be able to embrace statistical methods and mathematical analysis to work with data and have the motivation to read scientific research to keep your knowledge up to date and inform your work.

Where can I study Neuroscience?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· About 20% of the body’s blood goes to the brain

· Brain surgery doesn’t hurt. This is because the brain doesn’t have specialized pain receptors called nociceptors. The only painful parts of the surgery are when the incision is made through the skin, skull, and meninges (the layers of connective tissue that protect the brain). Depending on several factors the patient may have a general or local anesthetic for this part of the procedure.

· The human brain will triple its size the first year of life

· Dreams are believed to be a combination of imagination, physiological factors, and neurological factors. Dreams are proof that your brain is working even when you are sleeping. The average human has about 4-7 dreams per night.

· Officially called sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia, a brain freeze happens when you eat or drink something too cold. It chills the blood vessels and arteries in the very back of the throat, including the ones that take blood to your brain. These constrict when they’re cold and open back up when they’re warm again, causing pain in your forehead. This is your brain telling you to stop what you are doing to prevent unwanted changes due to temperature.

Mariza Halliday

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