MSc Translational Neuroscience
ECTS: 90 credits
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 1 year full-time
This course is open for applications for 2017 entry. Although this course will remain open until it is filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.
This course is designed to provide high quality training to tomorrow's neuroscientists, who will play a vital role in not only understanding what causes neurological and psychiatric disorders, but also developing better treatments and cures.
About the course
The World Health Organisation recently listed neurological and psychiatric disorders as a global emergency, with the numbers of people affected by such disorders predicted to markedly increase over the next 25 years as life expectancy increases globally. For the vast majority of neurological and psychiatric disorders, there are no effective treatments.
Uniquely, this course will provide theoretical and practical training to students in the various methodologies utilised in translational research for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions.
The programme consists of two sections: a taught component containing six modules, and a research component, with both components carrying equal weighting for your final grade.
The taught component of the course will be delivered by academics/clinicians at the forefront of research and clinical practice, and will equip you with an excellent foundation in neuroscience, particularly in how the different cellular components in the central nervous system physiologically work together to control brain function, and how this malfunctions in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
The research component will allow you to explore a particular neurological or psychiatric disorder in greater depth, and apply cutting-edge research techniques to help determine the causes and assist in the development of novel therapies for such disorders.
This course will consequently provide excellent training for students, whether they wish to pursue an academic or industrial research career, in which they can play a vital role in better understanding the causes of neurological disorders, or developing better treatments or cures.
Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.
This Master's course consists of six taught modules and a 6-month laboratory based research project.
The first four core modules are compulsory and you choose your remaining two taught modules from two optional streams.
Taught component – core modules
There are four 2.5-week core taught modules. The first two weeks consist of lectures, practical classes, group workshops and tutorials, whilst the remainder of the time is set aside for consolidation of what you have learnt during the module and for completion of assignments.
Module 1: Functional Neuroanatomy
You will investigate the basic structure and function of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems; how these systems interact in normal physiological function; and the consequences of their impairment in neurological conditions.
Module 2: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
You will learn which cells make up the nervous system; how they interact during brain and spinal cord development; and the neuronal networks they form in the developed brain. This module also covers mechanisms of neuronal damage and the potential for neuroregeneration.
Module 3: Neurodegenerative disorders
You will build on the knowledge gained in Modules 1 and 2 to then investigate the clinical and pathological features of the principle neurodegenerative disorders and how they are clinically treated. This module will also cover how drugs for CNS use are designed, tested utilising in vitro and in vivo models, and their translation in clinical trials.
Module 4: Neuroinflammation, Stroke and CNS trauma
You will build on the knowledge gained in Modules 1 and 2 to then investigate the clinical, immunological/pathological features and clinical treatment of neurological conditions where neuroinflammation plays a key role e.g. Multiple Sclerosis etc. and in stroke and CNS trauma. This module will also cover how in vitro and in vivo models are used in translational research to develop novel therapies for such disorders, plus how clinical trials are run.
Taught components – Optional Streams
You can choose one of the two optional streams, each of which contains two further taught modules.
Module 5: Brain Imaging
This modules covers the fundamental physical principles underlying various brain imaging techniques, and how to identify brain anatomical structures. You will acquire theoretical and practical experience with common analysis approaches and software packages used for the analysis of MRI and PET images, and also investigate the role of neuroimaging in the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatric diseases, as well as their role as biomarkers in disease progression and in drug development.
Module 6: Computational Neuroscience
You will learn the theory and develop the practical skills to apply a wide variety of computational analytical techniques to complex data sets obtained from a wide variety of sources, such as fMRI, EEG/MEG, cognitive task data, genotypes and endophenotypes.
Module 7: Brain Plasticity and Neuro-regeneration
You will investigate the fundamental molecular, cellular and system biology aspects of the principles of brain plasticity and neuro-regeneration. You will then cover state-of-the-art concepts of regenerative bioengineering and biomaterials, how they can be tested as potential treatments in neuro-regeneration models, and ultimately translated into clinical trials.
Module 8: Addiction and Neuropsychopharmacology in Psychiatry
This modules covers the clinical features of key psychiatric disorders, including addictions, and how such disorders are clinically treated. You will explore the neurobiological and neuropharmacological basis for psychiatric disorders, and gain a good understanding of what experimental approaches are available to characterize such disorders, including neuroimaging (PET, MR), ‘first-into-man’ and clinical trials.
Research component – 6-month laboratory project
You will be able to choose from a wide range of research projects on offer and conduct cutting-edge research in some of the most modern and well equipped research facilities in the UK.
The majority of the projects will be offered within the diverse research portfolio of the Division of Brain Science.
You will be hosted in research facilities run by world-leading academics and clinicians at forefront of medical research in order give you experience of top quality, cutting-edge, competitive research.
The research component will be assessed by a written dissertation of the research project (85%) and an oral presentation on the research project (15%).
Teaching and assessment
- Class tutorials
- Computer-based practical workshops
- Discussion sessions with patients and carers affected by neurological disorders
- Formative assessment via Blackboard
- Group work sessions
- Journal Club
- Laboratory based research project
- Laboratory teaching
- Lectures and keynote lectures
- Peer based teaching
- Seminar series
- Small group tutorials
- Supportive web-based material
- Web-based material e.g. research/review articles, case studies etc.
- Oral presentations
- Poster presentations
- Practical reports/write-ups
- Written design of research projects
- Written exams (short and long answers)
Minimum academic requirements
Minimum of a 2:1 UK Honours degree in an appropriate biological science subject (e.g. biology, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, neuroscience, medicine, dentistry or veterinary science) or equivalent which should ideally have some neuroscience component.
Applicants who do not meet the academic requirements above but who have substantial relevant clinical or relevant professional experience may be admitted following completion of a ‘Special Qualifying Exam’ (SQE).
The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.
We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.
If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.
English language requirements
All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for administration to the College.
For admission to this course, you must achieve the higher College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. Proficiency Test: IELTS (academic) 7.0 overall (minimum 6.5 in all elements).
For further details of the higher grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.
Fees and funding
Home and EU students
Islands and overseas students
The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.
If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.
Funding from Imperial
We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.
For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.
How to apply
All applicants must apply online.
For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.
You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.
Although courses will remain open until they are filled, applicants for this course are strongly encouraged to apply early. Early applications allow us to communicate important information around key dates with applicants directly.
If you need a visa to study in the UK, we advise that you apply by 1 July 2017 to ensure that your visa is processed and approved prior to the start of the course.
You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.
Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.
An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.