MSc
2021 start

Neuroscience

Department of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Science

The course covers molecular, cell and developmental biology of auditory and visual systems. Our department is home to a world-renowned sensory neuroscience research group. Their projects provide the basis for teaching and research training on this MSc.
Biomedical Science postgraduates in lab: Caroline Telfer and Chandresh Jain

Course description

Our department is home to a world-renowned sensory neuroscience research group. Their projects provide the basis for teaching and research training on this MSc.

The course covers molecular, cell and developmental biology of auditory and visual systems. Advanced imaging and behavioural analysis focus on information processing from sensory transduction to the central nervous system and behaviour. You’ll also study animal models of sensory deficits and the development of therapeutic treatments for hearing loss and blindness.

Intercalation

We accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies. Find out more on the Medical School's website.

Apply now

Modules

Core modules:

Literature Review

This unit involves an in-depth survey of the current literature relevant to the student's laboratory research project. It runs before the practical laboratory commences in order to give the student the academic background necessary to complete the laboratory work successfully. Students will carry out an exhaustive search of material relevant to their project using the resources of the University, including appropriate databases and specialist search engines, as well as paper-based resources in the University Library. The unit involves primarily private study by the student under the direction of the project supervisor who will meet the student at regular intervals to ensure satisfactory progress.

30 credits
Research Project

The module aims to provide students with experience of conducting a research project, and develop analytical and organisational skills required for a career in science. Students undertake a research project which reflects the research activities in the Department/Faculty/University. Projects will be supervised by a member of the academic staff, although students may have additional contact with various staff contributing to their training. Students will gain experience of experimental design, and in execution, collation, interpretation and presentation of scientific data.
Assessment of the project will be based on a written dissertation, an evaluation of the research skills developed during the tenure of the project, including keeping a lab book, and delivery of an individual poster presentation.

60 credits
Critical Analysis of Current Science

This module is designed to develop the student's ability to read and understand the scientific literature relating to their own research area and also enable them to integrate their own work into the wider scientific field. The module consists of the following components; a seminar and seminar analysis programme designed to develop student skills in listening, understanding and appraising scientific research presented by external invited speakers; contribution, preparation and presentation of journal clubs reporting on the literature published in the field of biomedical science. In the latter component, students will be expected to demonstrate critical analysis skills, which will be encouraged through questions and discussions in classes. Each component is assessed through formal examination and oral presentation.

15 credits
Ethics and Public Awareness of Science

Those working within public health need to be familiar with secondary data sources that support research, management and practice. This module will consider the main types of secondary data - relating to demography, epidemiology, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Strengths, uses, interpretation and limitations of secondary data sources will be examined, assessing these with regard to completeness, accuracy, relevance and timeliness. Students will explore these issues in connection with a case study for a specific country. Scenario planning, confidentiality and the use of computers are other key topics that are illustrated and explored within the module.The module will begin with an introduction to the areas in which legislation impinges on biomedical research. We will then proceed to analyse the processes by which such legislation is made including, especially, the ethical bases for such legislation. To do this we will introduce the students to the philosophical bases of ethical thought and get them to analyse existing laws to discover the ethics that underlies these laws. The students will then be asked to discuss the ethics of specific topics in the form of a formal debate. In addition, we examine how society perceives science and how the process of science itself works and how this influences scientists’ abilities to present their work to the wider community. 

15 credits
Practical Developmental Genetics

The practical unit aims to provide students with experience of research techniques in developmental biology. Students will perform experiments designed to reveal molecular and cellular principles underpinning developmental mechanisms. Emphasis will be placed on exploiting classical genetic and molecular resources available in model organisms such as zebrafish, Drosophila melanogaster, and chick for studying gene function in development. Students will gain experience of performing experimental work, data collection and interpretation of results.

15 credits
Neuroscience Techniques

The module is based around teaching students a range of modern neuroscience techniques by trying to answer the overall question: Can the MED cells provide a replacement for primary Dorsal Root Ganglia (DRG)?

15 credits

Optional modules - two from:

Sensory Neuroscience

This module covers the adult function and functional development of the auditory system, including sensory transduction and information processing. It will focus primarily on the periphery but will include representation of information in central pathways, with attention to mammalian animal models. The aims will be to show how physiological and developmental mechanisms combine to create the exquisite structural and functional tuning of the auditory system to the external world and how complex sensory information is encoded in the nervous system.

15 credits
Computational Neuroscience 1: Biologically Grounded Models

This module starts with a primer on neuroscience and the role of computational neuroscience. The next part of the module covers abstract neuron models and introduce classic computational principles and learning rules related to neural networks. From there we move to more biologically grounded models and deal with single neuron models including leaky-integrate-and-fire and conductance-based neurons. Finally, we examine higher levels of description, in particular systems in context of reinforcement learning. While the emphasis throughout the module is on methodological issues, how models can be built, tested and validated at each level, we will also draw connections to specific brain regions to motivate and illustrate the models.

15 credits
Neurodevelopment and Behaviour

This course examines the mechanisms that underlie development of the nervous system during embryogenesis. Examples will be described from a variety of model organisms to introduce key steps in the establishment of the CNS and PNS, steps that include neural induction, neural patterning, early segregation of CNS and PNS, the establishment and refinement of connectivity in the nervous system. Recent research from teachers of this course, and from both the classical and current literature is used to analyse and evaluate theories and mechanisms of establishment of the functional nervous system.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

Throughout your degree, you’ll be taught through lectures, practical sessions, lab placements, tutorials and seminars. In small group teaching classes you’ll discuss, debate and present on scientific and ethical topics. The biggest part of the course will be your individual research project, working alongside professional scientists.

Our teaching covers ethics, practical scientific skills and an overview of the current literature. You’ll also develop useful career skills such as presentation, communication and time management.

Assessment

Assessment is by formal examinations, coursework assignments, debates, poster presentations and a dissertation.

Duration

1 year full-time

Entry requirements

A good 2:1 honours degree in a biomedical-related subject.

We also accept medical students who wish to intercalate their studies.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

International pathway programmes

If you're an international student and don’t meet our entry requirements, we offer a Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering programme through the University of Sheffield International College. The programme develops your knowledge of your chosen subject, introduces you to vital study skills and provides additional support to reach the English language level for the course, should you need it.

Once you complete your Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering and achieve the required grades, you can enter your chosen postgraduate degree at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

bmspgadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2319

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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