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MSci (Hons) Natural Sciences specialising in Neuroscience

Investigate the intricacies of the nervous system and the cognitive processes that power our minds.

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time

Typical offer

A*AA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£26,800 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 1 and 2 July.

Discover York

for 'overall satisfaction' for Natural Sciences

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At the intersection of psychology, biology and philosophy, neuroscience is the study of the neurons and neuromechanisms that structure our brains and allow us to sense and respond to the world.

By studying Natural Sciences specialising in Neuroscience at York you'll benefit from two internationally renowned centres of excellence: the Centre for Hyperpolarization of Magnetic Resonance and the York Neuroimaging Centre. These centres offer some of the world's most advanced imaging technology.

You will be taught by researchers who are pushing back the boundaries of what is possible, and will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the structural, chemical, functional and theoretical aspects of the nervous system. By taking a four-year MSci course you'll be able to expand your independent study and explore a more open-ended research project.

All our Natural Sciences MSci degrees have the same course code for your UCAS application. To select the Natural Sciences specialising in Neuroscience pathway, enter the subject option code "Neuro".


The badge indicates accreditation.

All of our Natural Sciences courses are accredited by the Society for Natural Sciences. This means that our courses have achieved the standards set out in the Society’s accreditation framework, and are recognised as offering outstanding quality interdisciplinary science education, providing students with excellent learning opportunities and skills development to prepare them for future careers in research, education, business or industry.

Interdisciplinary programmes

Natural Sciences offers a range of well-structured pathways built upon the natural synergies that exist across scientific disciplines.

Natural Sciences Hour

Our weekly Natural Sciences Hour brings students together to hear from researchers and employers and to build transferable skills.

Fantastic facilities

You'll benefit from access to the extensive facilities from our contributing departments, as well as our popular Natural Sciences Learning Studio, a flexible space for socialising, revising and discussing your work.

Course content

The Neuroscience course covers the fundamentals of neuroscience, with modules totalling 480 credits from the Departments of Biology, Philosophy, and Psychology, as well as interdisciplinary modules such as the Natural Sciences Extended Research Project.

You will study the molecular and cellular bases of neural function, the principles of neurotransmission and low-level sensory transduction. You'll explore the relationship between neuroscience and experimental psychology, especially human neurophysiology, perception and cognition. At the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience you'll delve into the issues surrounding artificial intelligence, reasoning and consciousness.

As a natural scientist, you will develop your critical faculties, assessing experimental and theoretical evidence and learning how to use quantitative statistical methods to evaluate and present data.

All Natural Sciences students complete a final year dissertation, but as an MSci student you'll be able to engage with further independent research, deepening your understanding in this exciting area.

Spend time in industry

You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a work placement which can enable you to develop valuable skills that increase your employability:

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:


There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.

Year 1

Year 1 draws on course material from all four departments, preparing you for more advanced study.

Core modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year you will build on the foundations established in your first year.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study one option module:

Year 3

In your third year you deepen your knowledge taking a range of option modules. The type of research project you undertake in Year 4 will influence what modules you choose to take in Year 3. 

Core modules


Option modules

You will also study four option modules:

Year 4

The main focus of your final year is your independent research project of your choosing. You will also deepen your knowledge with further core modules.

Core Module:

This project brings together your knowledge and skills developed during the previous three years. You will develop and demonstrate the ability to design, plan, carry out and report on an open-ended investigation that generates new knowledge.

Option modules

You will also study two option modules:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Problem solving: Formulate, as well as tackle, complex open-ended problems in neuroscience by calling upon a variety of techniques, methodologies and approaches to reasoning
  • Interdisciplinary: Work effectively in an interdisciplinary team and/or environment, drawing on advanced concepts from biology, psychology and philosophy.
  • Subject knowledge: Explain and illustrate sophisticated concepts in neuroscience and experimental psychology by drawing on in-depth knowledge of human neurophysiology, behaviour, perception and cognition
  • Research project: Plan, execute and report on the results of extended experiments, projects or investigations across the neuroscience discipline, including the use of appropriate data analytical methods and knowledge of the requirements needed for formal ethical approval. When appropriate, incorporate state-of-the-art experimental and analysis techniques into their experimental programme
  • Experiment/simulation: Use findings from empirical studies to generate hypotheses and models; incorporate these as further potential experiments and simulations. Where appropriate, be able to generate numerical simulations or advanced statistical tests using appropriate software packages.
  • Communication: Present complex neuroscience principles in a clear and precise manner, demonstrating a breadth of knowledge of the fundamentals of neuroscience and of the most recent literature. Where appropriate, present results of recent studies at levels suitable for dissemination at scientific conferences to audiences of neuroscience researchers

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £26,800

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

Textbooks and course books are all available in the library or online. We do recommend books you might find useful, but it is not compulsory for you to buy them.​ For Biology you will have access to a course ebook and you will be provided with a lab coat at no additional cost.

Costs for going abroad or spending time in industry will vary depending on what sort of placement it is and what sort of financial assistance is available.​


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

The interdisciplinary nature of the Natural Sciences programme means that you will experience a wide variety of approaches to teaching, from formal lectures and practical experiments in the lab, to small group tutorials and close, supportive mentoring, as well as Virtual Learning Environments.

As a neuroscience student you will benefit from specialised neuroscience tutorials and lab work. You will be taught by leading researchers whose passion and first hand knowledge will enthuse and inspire you, stretching and supporting you on your educational journey.

You’ll hear about the latest developments and learn through demonstrations, practicals and projects. You will learn how to carry out your own experiments in our state-of-the-art facilities. Just as importantly, you’ll learn how to evaluate evidence, analyse your results and present your ideas clearly.

Natural Sciences teaching groups

You will share lectures and seminars with students from other departments, but your tutorials and some smaller seminar groups will be with other Natural Sciences students only, and these will help you understand the material in an interdisciplinary context.

Hands-on experimental experience

For the natural scientist, conducting rigorous experiments and understanding the experimental method underpins the very nature of scientific inquiry and discovery.

Experimental work may be done in groups or pairs, or sometimes individually, but always with the support of experienced mentors. Sometimes laboratory work will be interwoven with lectures and tutorials, sometimes it may be a stand-alone module. The importance of experimentation to the learning process is recognised by the fact that projects form the pinnacle of every natural scientist’s time at York: every Natural Sciences programme includes a major project during the final year.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures9-14 hours per week
Seminars1-3 hours per week
Tutorials0-2 hours
Workshops0-3 hours per week
Practicals4-10 hours per week

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.


The University of York is home to world-leading interdisciplinary research centres, such as the York NeuroImaging Centre, where a multidisciplinary team of scientists have been using some of the world’s most sophisticated imaging technologies to probe the inner workings of the brain. Depending on the options you choose, you may have access to these facilities and the academics working in them, for instance, during your final year project.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio on Campus West, but your teaching locations will vary. Teaching locations for this course include the Spring Lane Teaching Building; Departments of Biology; Psychology; Physics and Electronic Engineering; and other locations around campus.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Typically, you will be assessed mostly by written exam in Years 1 and 2, with some coursework and a small amount of practical examination, followed by a roughly even split between written exams and coursework in Year 3. In Year 4 there will be a greater focus on coursework, although you will still sit some written exams.

Assessment of your final year project includes a short viva examination, in which you will talk about your project with a panel of examiners.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams82%84%52%30%
Practical exams3%3%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Students working in the Natural Sciences Learning Studio.
Students in a Chemistry lab.

Careers and skills

A Natural Sciences degree is a versatile course that will provide you with the skills and experience to succeed in a wide range of careers. With the Natural Sciences specialising in Neuroscience course, you will also be equipped with the skills and profile to work in specialised neuroscience careers.

Career opportunities

  • Pharmaceutical and biotech companies
  • Academia and research
  • Venture capital firms
  • Scientific consulting firms
  • Medical and scientific journals
  • Legal firms dealing with intellectual property
  • Science-focused not-for-profit organisations
  • Government agencies

Transferable skills

  • Analysis of technical problems
  • Working as part of a team
  • Communicating across traditional discipline boundaries
  • Working independently
  • Managing time and resources and executing work to set deadlines
  • Problem solving

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

A*AA including Biology plus either Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics

International Baccalaureate 37 points, including 6 in Biology at Higher Level, plus 6 in either Chemistry, Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations) or Physics at Higher Level.
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Scottish Highers - AA

Advanced Highers - AA in Biology plus either Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve A or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Applications from mature students are welcomed.

Next steps

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School of Natural Sciences

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Most weeks, I spend a full day in labs. Here, I’ve been able to use exciting new equipment, learn how to keep a virtual lab notebook, and develop skills to create formal reports based on the science we’re exploring. Our lab work is mostly focused on problem-solving with our lab partner; this helps us develop confidence in our practical understanding of the science we’ve covered in lectures.
Abigail, Natural Sciences student. Read Abigail's blog post.