Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Slawomir Nasuto


Summary module description:

The module will introduce the funadamentals of the nervous system. It is widely believed that the nervous system is responsible for our cognitive and behavioural capacity, helps us understand the world, shape our perceptions and personalities. It is a very complex system wiht different components contributing to different functions and capcitiers. The course will start with fundamental questions about the nature of enquiry about the role of the nervous system and its function. It will then proceed from the level of individual cells, the building blocks of the nervous system, concentrating mostly on the biological constituents of the information processing and describing principles of neuronal communication underpinning it. The course will then proceed to describe the structure and function of different subsystems responsible for main cognitive functions such as perception, motor control or memory.

The module aims to discuss the basic principles underlying the functionality of the human nervous system which has inspired a mode of computation, namely artificial neural networks.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module the student should be able to describe the organisation of the human nervous system and explain how it operates in order to solve complex cognitive tasks.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Nervous systems allow animals to cope with various aspects of the environment, respond to external stimuli, maintain the overall functionality, and regulate interaction with external world including other members of the same species. This part of the module provides a comprehensive overview of these fundamental systems starting with description of single neurons and the way they generate signals and interneuron interactions. The course will systematically cover sensory systems and higher level functions like motor system, sleep-wake cycle and homeostasis and will go on to higher cognitive functions like emotions, memory and language. At each stage, current knowledge about the basic mechanisms used for maintaining particular functionality will be reviewed.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is delivered via weekly lectures and guided self-study.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One 2-hour examination paper in May/June.

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination only.
    One 2-hour examination paper in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 26 September 2017

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