University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary major offered by the School of Medical Sciences and the School of Psychology. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Study of the brain and nervous system is one of the largest and fastest growing endeavors of the biological sciences. Neuroscience is recognised as a discipline in its own right and a hallmark of the discipline is its acknowledgement of its multidisciplinary history.

The major comprises units of study from the School of Psychology and the School of Medical Sciences (Anatomy and Histology; Physiology and Pharmacology). Neuroscience is identified as one of the research strengths of the University. The neurosciences are both taught and actively researched at multiple locations in the University and this program and major offers a pivot around which students can navigate this particular research strength.

The major is offered in an expanding area of global research activity, and in a subject which is already enjoying translation in a number of areas, for example in the fields of engineering, computation, economics and business.

Requirements for completion

A major in Neuroscience requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 24 credit points of 3000-level core units

A minor in Neuroscience is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Neuroscience are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Neuroscience major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Neuroscience major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1

Core: PSYC1002 Psychology

Semester 1 or 2

Core: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A


Semester 1


Core: PSYC2X10 Brain and Behaviour

Semester 2

Core: ANAT2X10 Concepts in Neuroanatomy

(MEDS2005 only available to students in the medical science stream)


Semester 1

Core: NEUR3X05 Functional Neuroanatomy

Core: NEUR3X06 Neural Information Processing

Semester 2

Core: PCOL3X22 Neuropharmacology

Core: PSYC3X14 Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Neuroscience section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced Coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000 level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Neuroscience: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information

School of Medical Sciences
Anderson Stuart Building F13
University of Sydney NSW 2006

School of Psychology
Griffith Taylor Building (A19)
University of Sydney NSW 2006


T +61 2 9351 2841

Dr Karen Cullen
T +61 2 9351 2696

Honours Contact:
Associate Professor Kevin Keay
T +61 2 9351 4132
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Neuroscience will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a deep understanding the fundamental organization of the brain and nervous system from its gross structure to the intracellular and molecular levels.
  2. Demonstrate a deep understanding the fundamental functional properties of molecular, intracellular, cellular, circuit and systems components of the brain and nervous system.
  3. Relate the structural organization and functional properties of the nervous system to the observable processes of behaviour and cognition.
  4. Search, identify, discuss and evaluate the primary scientific literature in the field of the neurosciences.
  5. Specify hypotheses, design research plans and specify experiments that address and test the hypotheses. Understand the methodology of the neuroscientist in the past, the present, the “state-of-the-art” and to discuss the aspirations of the future
  6. Analyse, illustrate, describe, and present primary research data.
  7. Work autonomously and independently, work in small groups, work in seminar groups, lead discussion and assume responsibility for teaching and learning.
  8. Communicate clearly and effectively. Communicate in written form for specialist, generalist and lay audiences. Communicate in oral form for specialist, generalist and lay audiences. Experience communicating the neurosciences through other forms of multi-media, ie., film, video, photography, 3-D media and printing.
  9. Understand the place of neurosciences in community and society, its medical, educational, social and global importance, its power and potential, its uses and possible abuses.